Redknapp walks free

Tottenham manager relieved 'nightmare' is over after he is found not guilty of tax evasion following five-year inquiry

Harry Redknapp was dramatically cleared of tax evasion charges yesterday by a unanimous jury verdict, opening the way for the Tottenham Hotspur manager to be appointed as Fabio Capello's successor with England.

The 64-year-old was cleared at Southwark Crown Court after five hours of deliberations by the jury, which returned its verdict to a packed courtroom with reporters and members of the public sitting on the floor because of the premium on space. Redknapp embraced his co-defendant, Milan Mandaric, his former Portsmouth chairman, who also faced two charges of cheating the public revenue.

Keeping his emotions in check to deliver a statement on the steps of the court 30 minutes later, Redknapp said that the 13-day case had been a "nightmare". The prosecution had painted him as a "greedy" man who had accepted payments totalling £189,000 from Mandaric into an offshore Monaco bank account in order to avoid tax.

The Spurs manager's defence counsel John Kelsey-Fry QC pointed out on Monday that, had his client been trying to evade tax then Redknapp stood to make just £30,717 more than he would have done had the first so-called off-the-record bonus in 2002 been paid through the books of Portsmouth.

Redknapp paid tribute to his legal team of Kelsey-Fry and solicitor Jane Glass, of BCL Burton Copeland, both of whom he described as "fantastic". He was supported throughout the case by Spurs, in particular, the club's director Donna Cullen, football administrator Darren Eales and press officer Simon Felstein, who were in court most days.

Redknapp said: "The support I've had from everybody at Tottenham and the support from [chairman] Daniel Levy who, if he ever felt there was a problem when he gave me this job – this was going on over three years ago – would never have employed me. He knew this case should never have come to court and I have to thank the fans at Tottenham.

"The other night, at the Wigan game, was the most moving I've ever felt. For me, personally, to have them singing my name throughout the game, while all this was going on, will always be special to me and I'll never forget that. The most important thing, obviously, is my family, who have been pulled through it the last five years it's been hanging over us.

"I'm looking forward to getting home and seeing my wife, Sandra, and getting away from all of this. It really has been a nightmare, I've got to be honest, it's been five years and this case should never have come to court. It was horrendous.

"It was a unanimous decision, the jury were absolutely unanimous there was no case to answer and I'm pleased we can go home and get on with my life."

It can now be reported that the former Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie and Mandaric were both cleared of tax evasion charges related to the former Newcastle player Amdy Faye in a trial last year. That case could not be reported until the completion of the Redknapp case. The Storrie and Mandaric case further delayed the start of the second case involving Redknapp.

The lead investigating officer, detective inspector David Manley of City of London police, was also in court for the verdict yesterday. It was Manley whom Redknapp accused of "staring" at him while he was giving evidence. Redknapp left the courtroom swiftly with his son Jamie after the verdict. Judge Anthony Leonard had earlier warned against any noise in reaction to the verdicts being delivered

The former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson said that he believed Redknapp would get the job in charge of the national team in July. He said: "I think Redknapp will be a very, very good choice. He's English; he knows his football. He is doing a great job with Tottenham and has done a great job with every team he's had in the past, so I guess it will be him.

"You need to be an experienced manager used to dealing with the big names and some knowledge about international football would help. I think Harry has all these things."

'Now to win the league': Reaction on Twitter and beyond

Former Portsmouth board member Fred Dinenage

"I'm delighted for Harry. This case should never have been brought – it's yet another waste of time and money. Harry is an extremely astute businessman who would never have jeopardised his career and family over a relatively small amount of money."

Michael Vaughan

"Will Harry and Milan get compensation for the turmoil they have gone through over the last few years?"

Stan Collymore

"Delighted for Harry & Family. Name cleared. Now manage your country already. #England."

Gary Lineker

"Harry found not guilty. Great news for him, his family, Spurs and quite probably England."

Former England manager Graham Taylor

"Harry Redknapp has been proved innocent. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and now he can get on with his life. If the FA have any intent when Fabio Capello comes to the end of his reign, there is now no longer any embarrass-ment."

Tottenham Hotspur club statement

"Everyone at the club is delighted for Harry and his family. This has been hanging over him for over four years and the last two weeks have been particularly difficult. We are pleased to see this resolved and we all look forward to the rest of the season."

Rio Ferdinand

"Multi-million pound investigation of Redknapp spanning 5yrs.... who foots that bill?? You/me + all the other tax payers! Great to see Harry cleared of any wrong doing. Glad for him and the Redknapp family."

Lord Sugar

"Harry R expressing thanks to Daniel Levy for standing by him for 3 years, surely no way he will show disloyalty and leave Spurs for England. Now will have a clear head to win the league."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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
and  

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'