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Harry Redknapp tells court: I’m no businessman, just a fantastic manager

Despite swapping the dugout at White Hart Lane for the witness box at Southwark crown court, Harry Redknapp turned in a characteristically plain-spoken performance , entertaining his tax evasion trial with cracks about Peter Crouch’s height, attempting to turn the tables on the prosecutor, and shouting at a policeman to stop eyeballing him in court.

The 64-year-old Tottenham Hotspur manager began his evidence by telling the jury that he has always paid his tax – and would rather pay too much to the Inland Revenue than too little – but proceedings became increasingly heated as he was asked about the offshore bank account at the centre of the case.

The prosecution claims Redknapp opened the account in Monaco in 2002 so he could receive $145,000 (£93,100) from his then boss at Portsmouth, Milan Mandaric, to make up for money he was not paid when the club sold Crouch to Aston Villa.

Although Redknapp felt he was owed 10% of the profits from the sale, the club paid him only 5%, arguing he was not contractually entitled to the larger sum.

The prosecution says Mandaric paid two sums into the account, which was named after Redknapp’s bulldog, Rosie. The first payment of $145,000, it claims, was intended to make up for the £115,473 that Redknapp missed out on from the Crouch sale. The second payment of $150,000 (£96,500), the prosecution says, was a reward for Redknapp’s stewardship of the club and for getting it into the Premier League. As the payments were “undoubtedly referable to Mr Redknapp’s employment”, the prosecution says that tax should have been paid.

Redknapp told the jury it had not been easy to get Mandaric to sign Crouch in the first place, as the Portsmouth boss had dismissed him as “a basketball player”.

He added: “Crouchy at 6ft 7 was not exactly his cup of tea. He said, ‘You’ll owe me 10% instead of me owing you.’”

Redknapp’s observation that Crouch would prove a good buy – “he’s young, he’s developing, he’s getting taller” – also raised a laugh in court.

Earlier, Mandaric had brushed off the prosecution’s suggestions that he had needed to make extra payments to keep Redknapp happy, saying his then manager was well paid with a contract valued at “millions of pounds”. Mandaric said he had paid the “seed” money into his friend’s Monaco account for no other reason than to help him establish a portfolio. “This money had nothing to do with anything else than the friendship that developed beyond football,” he told the court.

John Black QC, prosecuting, disputed Mandaric’s assertion, saying that the payment was in fact made to compensate Redknapp for receiving 5% on the sale of Crouch rather than the 10% he felt he was due. “This money, Mr Mandaric, was money given to your friend Harry Redknapp offshore, particularly as a bonus for the Crouch sale, wasn’t it?” Mandaric denied the money had been intended as a bonus – as did Redknapp when he later stepped into the witness box.

The Spurs manager accused Black of getting tangled up in his repeated references to bonuses. Were the alleged bonuses for the Crouch sale, for doing well, or to keep him at the club, he asked the prosecutor.



Rafael van der Vaart ‘to make £8m Spurs transfer’, says Harry Redknapp

Speaking outside the club’s training ground shortly after the 6pm deadline had passed, Redknapp confirmed he and chairman Daniel Levy had been in talks over the Dutch international midfielder.

And although the talks had only begun two hours before the window was due to close, Redknapp remains hopeful of confirming Van der Vaart as a Tottenham player in time to announce him in his 25-man Premier League squad on Wednesday.

“We’re just waiting for some clearance,” he said.

“I was told he was going to Bayern Munich yesterday for around £18million and then suddenly Daniel called me at around four o’clock and asked if I wanted to do something.

“The price was around £8million and for that sort of money we thought it was worth seeing what we could do.”
Van der Vaart’s future at the Bernabeu has been in doubt for some weeks, especially since Jose Mourinho signed Werder Bremen and Germany star Mesut Ozil, who is likely to be the club’s main creative spark this season.

Redknapp already has playmaker Luca Modric at his disposal and could find it difficult to fit both him and the Dutchman – as well as other creative talents like Aaron Lennon, David Bentley, and Niko Krancjaer – into his first-team squad.

But the Spurs boss continued: “He [Van der Vaart] definitely improves us.

“I couldn’t say yet if it’s definitely happened or not – we need to wait to see if everything’s gone through in time. I’m hopeful.”


Spurs boss Harry Redknapp linked with swoop for Germany defender Serdar Tasci

Left: Serdar Tasci has plenty of attention

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has been linked with a move for Stuttgart defender Serdar Tasci.
AC Milan and Juventus have been tracking the 23-year-old centre-half but, according to reports in Germany, the Italian giants face competition from Spurs.

Redknapp has just signed former Arsenal captain William Gallas to strengthen his defence but the White Hart Lane chief is reported to be interested in Tasci due to ongoing concerns over the long-term fitness of Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate.

Tasci, a first-team regular for the Bundesliga outfit who can play in the middle of defence or on the right, has 13 Germany caps and was part of Joachim Loew’s World Cup squad in South Africa.


Champions League press conference

The manager and his centre-half were put up to the media prior to our training session at the Stade De Suisse on the eve of our Play-Off with BSC Young Boys.

When asked about Tuesday night’s clash, Harry told the press gathering: “Young Boys are dangerous opposition. They beat Fenerbahce and deserverdly so.

“They could have won very easily in the first leg and then to go to Turkey and win shows they have an awful lot to offer.

“It’s great to be here. I think the pitch will suit us, the way we pass the ball, I don’t see a problem with that. We are here to play, we are playing a good team but we are a good team as well.

“If we play at our best, we’ve got a great chance. It will be a difficult game, but we’re a good team and I’ve got great belief in the team.”

Highlights from Monday evening’s Champions League press conference with Harry Redknapp and Michael Dawson are now available on Spurs TV Online.


Harry Redknapp: Manchester City will not win the Premier League this season

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp believes that Manchester City “have a long way to go” before they will be able to win the Premier League title.

City boss Roberto Mancini thinks that his side will be contenders to become the league champions, but Redknapp, whose side outplayed City in a goalless season opener on Saturday, is more inclined to tip Chelsea and Manchester United for the Premier League title, saying that the Eastlands club might struggle to make the top four this term.

“I wouldn’t tip City from what I’ve seen,” Redknapp told The Mirror.

“I wouldn’t say they’ll win the championship. They have a long way to go.

“Chelsea are a team, Man United are a team. They are fantastic teams with people who have been there, done it all and won everything, Champions League winners.

“So I wouldn’t see City finishing above them.

“They’ll find it more difficult to win games if they set up as defensively as they did against us. I was more concerned when Adebayor came on late in the game. If they spend enough they’ll get there in the end but certainly this year, I wouldn’t see them being champions.

“They have a chance of finishing in the top four but Arsenal will be close to the title this year and Liverpool are going to be strong.”

Spurs were able to edge out City for the last Champions League spot last term, winning a close battle for fourth place that went right down to the wire.