FA will be happy 'clean Harry' is free to take reins

He may be impulsive, even reckless, but he's not dishonest – and that will be enough to seal the England job

If the Football Association dares only appoint an England manager with an unblemished record in his personal financial dealings then the governing body will note that Harry Redknapp walked out of Southwark Crown Court yesterday without a black mark to his name.

He has come through the Quest investigation; the City of London police's Operation Apprentice, a civil tax inquiry by HMRC and now a gruelling 13-day court case for tax evasion without the authorities laying a glove on him. He has lived through eight years of investigations, police interviews and one dawn raid on his home – all for a case that it took a jury just five hours to throw out.

In order for Redknapp to be considered for the England job he had to emerge from the case untarnished. The unanimous verdict from the eight men and four women of the jury means that his reputation is beyond reproach. He was accompanied by the League Managers' Association chief executive, Richard Bevan, the new patron saint of football managers, and was deeply appreciative of his support.

When you factor in his Tottenham Hotspur team's current third place in the Premier League, the progress he has made with that side since taking over more than three years ago, and his recent record as the leading English manager in football, it means that Redknapp is the outstanding candidate to succeed Fabio Capello as England manager in July.

As the foreman of the jury read out the verdicts, Redknapp embraced his co-defendant Milan Mandaric who was also cleared. In the public gallery, his son Jamie reached for his phone to call his wife Louise and mother Sandra. But there was no triumphalism or crowing, instead Harry and Jamie put an arm around one another and left the courtroom quickly.

Redknapp's immediate priority will be returning to Tottenham and resuming the duties which the court case has taken him away from over the last three weeks. Redknapp's relationship with the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, is cordial but if the call from the FA comes this summer neither of them will spend too much time looking wistfully over the shoulder as they part.

If anything Redknapp's most significant issue will be that, unlike the appointment of every England manager since Glenn Hoddle, his own succession to the job has come to be regarded as such a foregone conclusion that he will want to guard against the FA getting him cheaply. Some of his public pronouncements in the months before the trial that he was not certain he wanted the England job suggested he wanted to be pursued by the FA as others have been in the past.

Throughout his life he has faced the innuendo and rumour of "Dirty Harry", and the smears that have branded him "dodgy". On the first day of the case the prosecution's lead counsel Mr John Black QC reached for the dirtiest four-letter word of all when he accused Redknapp of taking a "bung", which, along with revelations about the naming of the "Rosie47" account, meant the next day's headlines were explosive.

Redknapp's defence team were so upset about the use of the word "bung" that his counsel Mr John Kelsey-Fry QC went to great lengths to describe to the jury the exact definition of the word and differentiate it from tax evasion, the offence his client was accused of.

For Redknapp, yesterday was the end of an ordeal that could ultimately have ended with him in custody rather than back at Spurs' training ground in Chigwell where he plans to be tomorrow to give his customary Friday morning press conference. In his brief statement on the steps of the court, as office workers in the overlooking buildings crowded by windows to watch, Redknapp described the experience as "a nightmare" and "horrendous".

Those close to Redknapp say that even in the best moments of his recent career, such as securing Tottenham's first ever Champions League place in 2010; beating Internazionale at White Hart Lane and then Milan in San Siro, that the moment of triumph has been marred by the subsequent jolt that this court case loomed on the horizon. "You will see a different man now," one said.

What was this case? It was the very last roll of the dice by the investigating authorities in their campaign against Redknapp and by yesterday it appeared that the City of London police were keen to heap the blame on HMRC for the failure to secure a conviction. There were undoubtedly inconsistencies in Redknapp's evidence but not half as many as there were in that of the Crown.

They claimed the first £93,000 payment was an extra five per cent of the profits on Peter Crouch's 2002 transfer from Portsmouth to Aston Villa but they never got close to explaining why the second £96,000 payment to the "Rosie47" Monaco bank account was paid, if it was, as they alleged, an off-the-record bonus.

As for the police work in the case, the key moments in the investigation were gifts. Redknapp disclosed voluntarily to Quest investigators in November 2006 that he had an offshore bank account when he was under no compunction to do so. As for the key evidence, that was the tape of Rob Beasley's News of the World interview from February 2009 which the City of London police subsequently seized from the reporter.

Eventually the jury believed that Redknapp, for all the scrapes he had got himself into with business and share investments, was not essentially a dishonest man. Forgetful, impulsive, sometimes reckless – but not dishonest. And that should be good enough for the FA.

More on England...

From dentist's chairs to fake sheikhs: England's pre-tournament crises

Fabio Capello: The highs and lows in charge of England

Who's next? The contenders to replace Fabio Capello

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own