Redknapp mugged on Madrid scouting trip

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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp joked that the contract Newcastle offered him to succeed Sam Allardyce in 2008 was so lucrative that owner Mike Ashley would never be able to afford to sack him.

But the Tottenham manager's wallet was well and truly emptied in the run-up to today's meeting at St James' Park when pickpockets targeted him before Thursday's Madrid derby.

Redknapp and assistant manager Kevin Bond were in Spain for the Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg and witnessed Atletico Madrid and transfer target Diego Forlan beaten on the night by a Cristiano Ronaldo goal to give Real a 4-1 aggregate victory.

A team of conmen were already celebrating by then however, having mugged Redknapp outside the stadium. "They took everything – all my money and credit cards," he said. "We were walking round the outside of the stadium, me and Kevin, and it was so packed. The next thing there's two guys on their knees in front of me and I felt someone pull my overcoat. I didn't take any notice but then they've got my trousers and they kept pulling them.

"I didn't know whether to knee them in the gob because I was thinking, 'Are they blind or disabled or what? What are they doing, these two blokes?' I'm going, 'Let go of my trousers', pushing them away and while I'm doing that the others are rifling my pockets.

"There were about six of them. I put my hand in my pockets and realised what they'd done. We had no money for a taxi as Kevin didn't have any money on him. He said, 'I saw them doing it' – I hope he wasn't part of the gang."

Redknapp's mood will no doubt improve should his side move ahead of Chelsea into fourth place with a victory today. Newcastle are in the top 10 but are just as close to the relegation pack as they are to the Champions League contenders.

Ashley has appointed five managers since Redknapp turned him down, initially to remain at Portsmouth but soon to take over from Juande Ramos at White Hart Lane, with Alan Pardew the current incumbent.

"If I'd have gone they wouldn't have needed any other managers," Redknapp said. "They wouldn't have been able to afford to get rid of me. He made me a great offer, Mike Ashley."

At the time Redknapp didn't fancy moving north but that might not apply to some of the fringe players in his Spurs squad, with Robbie Keane, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Niko Kranjcar all available at the right price.

Redknapp insisted he was not close to bringing anyone else in, having just recruited South Africa midfielder Steven Pienaar from Everton. But England defender Ledley King runs the risk of being omitted from the 25-man squad at the end of the month as his persistent groin problem keeps him on the sidelines.

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