Tax charges could destroy Redknapp England dream

Front-runner to replace Capello will stand trial alongside Mandaric in January.

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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp, the favourite to succeed Fabio Capello as England manager next year, will face trial in January on charges of tax evasion. Proceedings at Southwark Crown Court in London are expected to last for two weeks and will come during a potentially pivotal part of his club Tottenham's campaign to reclaim a place in the Champions' League next season.

Redknapp will be tried alongside Milan Mandaric on two charges of cheating the public revenue when the pair were at Portsmouth as manager and chairman respectively. The trial opens on 23 January – the day after Spurs face a daunting trip to current Premier League leaders Manchester City. If the trial lasts for the expected duration it would span Premier League fixtures against Wigan at White Hart Lane – a midweek match but court proceedings finish in the late afternoon so it would not prevent Redknapp from being in the dugout – and a potential FA Cup fourth round tie on the middle Saturday. It is the beginning of a critical run of fixtures for Tottenham, who have made an encouraging start to the season, which will see them go on to play Liverpool at Anfield, Newcastle at home, Arsenal away and Manchester United at home. Redknapp has a strong coaching team at White Hart Lane with Joe Jordan likely to deputise for the manager during training.

In the new year the Football Association will begin the search for a new England manager with Capello to step down after next summer's European Championship finals. Redknapp is considered the front-runner – especially given the desire to have an Englishman in charge – to replace the Italian.

Redknapp and Mandaric, now the chairman of Sheffield Wednesday, both deny the charges.

Redknapp was manager of Portsmouth in two different spells, either side of a brief time in charge of their bitter rivals Southampton. His first term ran from 2002 to 2004 before he resigned following a reported disagreement with Mandaric. He returned to the club in December 2005 and stayed until 2008, the year that he steered them to a memorable triumph in the FA Cup final. He was recruited to White Hart Lane the following season and his success there, and the style which has achieved it, has underlined his standing as the leading English manager in the game. Redknapp is currently recuperating at his home in Sandbanks, Dorset following a heart operation 11 days ago. The 64-year-old had two stents inserted to unblockcoronary arteries after suffering breathing difficulties at home. He missed the Europa League games against Rubin Kazan and the League game at Fulham but is expected to return after the international break. Tottenham are not in League action until 21 November when they host Aston Villa. They currently lie fifth in the Premier League, having recovered from a difficult start.

It has been a difficult period for Spurs off the field. Last week the club was accused of spying during the battle with West Ham to take over the Olympic Stadium. Tottenham have denied the allegations made by Baroness Ford, chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, who said that all 14 of the OPLC's board members had been put under surveillance by private investigators hired by the club.

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