Furious Redknapp challenges Mandaric to trial by television

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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp said last night that he wants to use a televised lunchtime meeting with Portsmouth's chairman, Milan Mandaric, to "put to bed" the reasons for his departure from the club last week.

Harry Redknapp said last night that he wants to use a televised lunchtime meeting with Portsmouth's chairman, Milan Mandaric, to "put to bed" the reasons for his departure from the club last week.

Redknapp called for the showdown after remarks by Mandaric, reported over the weekend, intimated the chairman was unhappy with the levels of agents' fees paid out by Portsmouth during Redknapp's reign. Mandaric has since said he had no intention of besmirching Redknapp's reputation, something he will have the chance to reiterate if he actually shows up today.

Redknapp said the meeting, which has all the potential to be the most fiery action at Fratton Park this season, is due to start at 1pm today. Curiously, a Portsmouth spokesman said yesterday that he had no knowledge of any press conference. Mandaric was due back in England last night after a business trip to Dubai and is due to be at Watford this evening for Pompey's Carling Cup quarter-final.

Redknapp seemed certain last night that the clear-the-air head-to-head would happen, and will welcome the chance to put his side of the story in full. After resigning last week he cited a desire for a break from the game.

He said his departure was nothing to do with the appointment of an executive director, Velimir Zajec, above his head, although Jim Smith, Redknapp's deputy of Fratton Park, later said that was real reason.

"I want everything out in the open," Redknapp said yesterday. "He [Mandaric] came out in the papers at the weekend [saying Portsmouth had spent £3m on agents' fees under Redknapp] and then rang me and said he had been stitched up.

"Let's give him a chance to answer that. I want to see what Milan has got to say tomorrow. Let's bring it all out in the open and we can then put it to bed and get on with the rest of our lives. There is no hiding place for anyone or anybody.

"I've done nothing but good for the club. Let the cameras be there and we'll see what Milan has to say. He can say exactly what he thinks of the job I've done. It's one million per cent not a problem for me.

"I want every transfer since I've been at the club brought into the open so everything can be there and there's no hiding place for anybody."

Redknapp disputes the £3m figure and evidently resents any implication of impropriety, though none was specifically made. "I'm annoyed," he said. "I don't get involved in transfers in any shape of form. All I do is find the players. I think you'll find the figures don't come anywhere near that but if they did, I don't know why or where.

"The chairman and [chief executive] Peter Storrie do all that. And I don't think the figures are anywhere near that.

"But I'm not going to have a slagging match with anyone. I just want Milan to put his side of the story. He feels he has been set up [by being misrepresented in an interview] but if there is anything to show, let's show it all."

Redknapp left Portsmouth after two-and-a-half years in charge. He led them to promotion to the Premiership and then kept them there last season. The 57-year-old was named as the top-flight's manager of the month for October after an unbeaten run that included a 2-0 win over Manchester United and an ascent into the top half of the table.

He has admitted to being frustrated by the manner in which Zajec was brought in.

"I pick up a newspaper and see I had just got manager of the month, then suddenly I am down the pan," he said.

"But that was not the reason [I left] at all. It was something which had been coming. I just felt it would be nice to walk away from the football club while it is in great shape on the field.

"I want to go on and do other things in my life."

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