The Tottenham Hotspur manager, Harry Redknapp, admitted that he had such a "problem" with handwriting that he could not even "fill in a team sheet" and required an accountant to "run his life", a court heard yesterday in a dramatic fourth day of his trial for tax evasion.
In an interview with City of London police in June 2009, which was played to Southwark Crown Court, Redknapp said that he had never written a letter in his life and that even his wage slips were sent direct to his accountants. The court heard the Tottenham manager admit that he could not spell and that, in his own words, he "wrote like a two-year-old".
Redknapp said: "I have a big problem, I can't write, so I don't keep anything. I'm the most disorganised person in the world. I can't work a computer, I don't know what an email is, and I've never sent a text message."
It was under questioning about a bank account in Monaco that is central to the two charges of tax evasion against Redknapp while he was manager of Portsmouth that the 64-year-old admitted he had left his financial affairs in the hands of his accountant, Malcolm Webber. "My accountant runs my life," Redknapp said. "I don't have wage slips, I have not seen a wage slip in 10 years. I don't even have them."
Later he said: "I am ashamed to say it. You can talk to anybody at [Portsmouth] football club about it. I couldn't fill a team sheet in. I have never written a letter in my life. He [Webber] is the straightest accountant in the world."
Earlier in the day, the defence counsel, John Kelsey-Fry QC, had attacked the prosecution's assertion that Redknapp was a "hard-headed businessman". Instead, Kelsey-Fry described some of his client's investments as "disastrous". The defence counsel said: "I don't want to be rude unnecessarily, but to describe Mr Redknapp as a hard-headed businessman is probably putting it rather high."
Redknapp and Milan Mandaric, the former chairman of Portsmouth, who have sat alongside each other in the dock this week, face two charges of cheating the public purse. The case centres on two payments from Mandaric into a Monaco account opened by Redknapp, then Portsmouth manager, which the prosecution alleges were made in order to evade British taxes.
Both Redknapp and Mandaric deny the charges. The case continues.