What the Mirror and Sun might have said about Harry if he’d worked for Arsenal

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By Tony Attwood

The Sun newspaper is in a bit of a pickle at the moment.  You see, Harry Redknapp is their columnist and (presumably) paid lots of money to write stuff, which means that when the big news in football is that Harry Redknapp is going to appear in court over fraud charges then they can’t really do the usual Sun shock horror oh my God, no you won’t believe it three-in-a-bed romp investigation.  (Not that Harry has been in a three-in-a-bed romp you understand.  I meant that generically, as a symbolic what-not concerning the way the Sun does things.)

In fact on 14 November 2011 the Sun ran a whole page of Redknapp without a single mention of court cases, fraud or anything like it.  It was a Question and Answer session and these were the questions:

Q: What impressed you most about England’s performance in the 1-0 over world champions Spain?

Q: How do you assess Joleon Lescott’s performance in the centre of England’s defence?

Q: Why was Scott Parker so effective? What impact did he have?Q: Does this shatter the myth that England must play Wayne Rooney?

Q: Frank Lampard scored on his 90th England appearance. Reckon he’ll get 100 caps?

Q: If we played Spain in Euros would we win again?

Q: Should John Terry be brought back against Sweden?
Now you might think that with the Sun making Harry’s little financial problem off limits then the Mirror, its arch rival might have a go.
But no, here’s their latest piece on the case.  I am running quite a bit of it because it uses an interesting meander trick to reduce the importance of one context and up the other.

Harry Redknapp is waiting for the green light from doctors to return to touchline duties at Tottenham.

But the North London club met belated confirmation of his trial date for alleged tax evasion with a ‘business as usual’ stance.

A relaxation of legal restrictions means that Redknapp’s two charges of ‘cheating the public revenue’ over alleged payments of £180,000 when he managed ­Portsmouth can be publicly revealed for the first time.

Redknapp, 64, and former Pompey owner Milan Mandaric, 73, are jointly charged with avoiding paying income tax and national insurance on money paid into accounts in Monaco between 2002 and 2007. They will stand trial at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, January 23.

Mandaric and Redknapp will both plead not guilty, with the case ­scheduled to last a ­fortnight.

But the legal issues are not the reason Spurs boss Redknapp may not be in the dug-out for their next game against Aston Villa at White Hart Lane next Monday.

Tottenham are backing Redknapp all the way in his legal fight, as they have done since the original dawn raid on his home – deemed by the High Court to have been unlawful and for which City of London Police later apologised – in November 2007.

Only Redknapp’s recovery from recent heart surgery to unblock coronary arteries is preventing him from returning to his job.

He missed last week’s win at Fulham and doctors have urged Redknapp to keep his feet up in Sandbanks, Dorset for up to five weeks to ­recuperate.


Of course one has to be careful what one says about a court case yet to happen, and one can’t start shouting that a man is guilty before he has had his day in court (or in Harry’s case, two weeks).  And let’s note clearly and properly that Mr R has vehemently proclaimed his innocence throughout.  He is thus innocent, unless the court says otherwise.

So the Mirror and the Sun leave him alone.  But if they had wished, they could have done their usual stuff – the stuff that you can bet your life they would pound out if this unfortunate set of misunderstandings and administrative errors had occurred at Arsenal.

And since they haven’t it is down to Untold to reveal what they might have said….


Tottenham in shock as Redknapp faces imprisonment and lifetime ban from football.

Tottenham Hotspur has been thrown into chaos with the news that not only is their manager’s recovery from heart surgery going more slowly than expected but in the new year he will be forced to spend two weeks in court defending himself on a serious fraud charge which could lead to his permanent removal from football.

A source at Tottenham told the Mirror, “we are stunned.  Harry is central to the work at Tottenham and to lose him for his surgery was one thing, but another two weeks in court on top of that is impossible.”

Talk of a top four finish has long gone out of the window, with the club now desperately seeking a new manager who can steer the club to a mid-table finish.

Private conversations are continuing with a view not just to ditching Redknapp if he is found guilty, but to remove him “for health reasons” before the case even comes to court.

Such talk shows just how much of a one-man show Tottenham has become, and the thought of being without the boss for much of the rest of the season, and being tainted by having relied so heavily on a man who might be found guilty of serious offences, has alarm bells ringing across north London.

“We’ve bought in some interesting players, and got some good youngsters coming through,” said another source close to the training camp, “but only Harry knows the plan of how they might be integrated.  With him gone we are in a mess.”

One senior official described the club as “headless chicken country” at the moment.


Of course I just made all that up – I don’t know what is going on, and I certainly don’t wish Mr Redknapp any harm in terms of his recovery from his illness.  But if he is guilty of serious fraud, then of course, like all other law abiding citizens I want him to face the same penalty that anyone else would face if found guilty.
The problem is we have not really been sure what is going on – although that comment above from the Mirror about a relaxation of legal restrictions is interesting.   Sadly it has not encouraged the Mirror to say anything new about the case – it looks like the paper is imposing its own restrictions on what is said.
Why is that?
What we do know is that in 2007, Portsmouth CEO Peter Storrie, Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric (who owned Portsmouth and now owns Sheffield Wednesday), along with a couple of others, were all arrested on  suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting.

Eventually Harry was charged with “two counts of cheating the public revenue of an estimated £40,000″.   According to reports on internet sites (and of course I can’t verify these, so I am making no accusation here, but I think this is the clue to what is in documents that previously we could not discuss) $295,000 was paid by Mandaric to Harry via a bank account in Monaco, thus avoiding tax and NIC charges which would have been due had the payment been properly made in the UK.  Peter Storrie was hauled in over concealing a signing on fee.

It is said that the Crown Prosecution Service who organise court cases and bring the charges in the UK got help from the US Department of Justice last year when this money was moved from the American bank account of First Star International to Mr R.’s account in Monaco.
In fact odd payments like these crop up all over the place in stories about this case on the internet (again I must insist I am just re-running stories found elsewhere; I have no evidence on this myself what with me not running a private detective agency or having access to the court files).

Here’s another one: A payment by “Rosie 47″ of $207,433.73 in 2008 to Harry  two months after he was arrested in November 2007.

If you want the full run down the documents are published on The Story web site.

Are those documents real?  Who knows – I guess we will just have to wait until the court case.  It certainly puts the case against Sir Henry Norris (chairman of Arsenal in the 1920s) into perspective.   He was banned for life from football for selling an old team bus that the club no longer wanted for £130 and putting the money in his own pocket.   If Mr R. is guilty (and of course I have no idea if he is or not) I wonder if Tottenham fans will finally drop that story.
I also wonder if Mr R will be banned from life from football?  Will Tottenham disown him, or celebrate what he has done for the club?  It will be worth watching.  Or will they be rather uncomfortable as I have always felt Arsenal were in the George Graham crisis?
But let’s be decent people and wish him well in his recovery from heart surgery first.


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29 Replies to “What the Mirror and Sun might have said about Harry if he’d worked for Arsenal”

  1. We unexpectedly lose Arsene for a few weeks, what then? Are we then not in the same boat as at N17? I feel for the fans. However, their chairman doesn’t make them cringe everytime he talks to the press as we do when our ‘master mouth’ utters some diatribe against yanks, the world and all commers.

  2. There are three things that will always mitigate in Harry’s favour when the media treat his situation:

    1)He is British and therefore morally better than Wenger (this respects the long standing tradition of the English media’s xenophobia),
    2)He has demonstrably performed ¨miracles¨ at Tottenham and is in the good books of the British media, in contrast to the Frenchman’s rapidly declining abilities and powers,as demonstrated by the 6 year thing….,
    3)His press and media friends have been warned off attacking him by their employers, who don’t want to risk drawing attention to their questionable ethics and morals, a la Rupert Murdoch and company.

    Had this been Wenger, as you rightly point out Tony, there would have been an incessant and raucous hew and cry from every British media source, trumpeting Arsene’s nefarious dealings, questionable morals and patently ¨foreign¨ genetic preponderance for all things evil or baguette-like. Sad to say but media courtesy,respect and fair-mindedness seem to end at the Emirate’s doorstep!

  3. @Domhuaille, in reference to your last paragraph..don’t they do that anyway. But ya I agree completely, had it been wenger he would’ve sooner been arraigned by the media than by the court

  4. I found an error in your ‘faux’ article – Arsenal would have been thrown into further chaos, rather than just thrown into chaos.

    That aside, I think part of the protection of ‘Arry is to do with the campaign for him to become England manager, which seems to be media led. Now why that is …

  5. It is interesting that Redknapp is still being trumpeted as the next England manager despite the impending court case. Wenger would have been ruled out immediately if it were him, after all even if not guilty mud sticks doesn’t it. But not I suspect in Harry’s case! It is as if the media are in collective denial. There appeared to be an in depth discussion in progress last night on tele after the England U21 match where the panel were unanimous in saying that everyone wanted Harry as the next manager and there were no other candidates in sight. No mention of the court case and that he could, if things pan out in a certain way, possibly be otherwise engaged and thus not available.

  6. That story would have been followed, if it were Arsenal of course, with below headlines;

    – Spurs stars wants out: Harry trouble too much to handle!

    – Harry hit by double whammy: Court hysteria on top of poor health issues!

    – Total Tottie Failure: Inability to qualify for CL, sidelines by health weakness & held up in court!!!

    – Harry loses magic touch…

  7. Redknapp is one of the boys and no-one in the press ranks wants to turn on one of their own.
    It isn’t a conspiracy of silence, but they really want him to be England manager.
    They have had to suffer the dour press conferences as well as the dreary football of Capello and they have to fill their pages with England stories during the never-ending international breaks. Arry will give them stories, and make their job much easier as well as making it more fun. Capello has been the journos’ biggest nightmare.
    But having said that they do give Redknapp a ridiculously easy ride and they have known about this court case for a long time.
    Simple truth is Arsenal crisis stories sell (as do Chelsea, Liverpool and United), Spurs in crisis won’t shift any papers outside of North London.

  8. If he is found guilty, the FA will not go near him for the England job, whatever his sentence may or may not be….if he was to be found guilty. Nor should they.Ironically, Wenger would be amongst the preferred candidates with the media, think it is a combination of Wenger and Arsenal the Uk media have such a downer on.
    Think Hodgson will get the job if things do go wrong for St Arry.
    I hope he gets well soon healthwise but I for one will be following the courtcase with some interest, and the medias reaction if things are found against him.

  9. I remember clearly those days when Wenger was sentenced by the press for having an affair with a mistress when in fact no single human can pin anything on him.

    Such case as this would have made them hunt him down like a cat hunts down a rat.

    He didn’t win anything in Six years and they want him sacked, what if he stole like Mr. R. They’d rather have him in Golgotha.

  10. At the time of the raid by the Inland Revenue AND police, ‘arry was overseas. THAT is what the apology was about!

    As a resident “reporter” for The Sun, ‘arry got away with his “helping the police in their inquries” line of enquiry! Murdoch henchmen have proved that nothing but nothing will stop The Sun reporting the truth according to Murdoch.

    The “evidence” available from the United States proves conclusively that Redknapp has lied, lied and misled time and again the HMRC. My own thought was that Redknapp was seeking a deal over the criminal charges, but it seems that it was the co-operation of the United States and the evidence therefrom, that is the cause of thew delay and of course the heart surgery now.

  11. Who cares about this sh@t??
    This is an Arsenal website so lets concentrate on that shall we??
    Whose going to be our defence for saturday..is Arshavin leaving..how are our injured players..now thats gooner news.

  12. Of course, we should all wish ‘Arry a speedy and full recovery, and of course, we’re all innocent until proven guilty, but I personally wouldn’t buy a used car from that wheeler-dealer.

  13. Lets hope ‘Arry is fit and well to face his time in court and just in case the worst happens, lets hope he can get Arsenal Online “inside”!

  14. Well the poor reporting of Harry Rednapp is another example of failure in the British media system. It is by and large incapable of asking tough questions and is a system dominated by a powerful minority. Whose main aim is not to inform people, but political influence and to secure financial reward.

    Mainstream media has left such a vacuum that the blogsphere has had to fill it. I salute Tony for standing in the gap and Sammy the Snake for his headlines, which the red tops missed a trick with because I would of shelled out a pound to read their papers if they had had anyone of those.

  15. @Tony:

    GREAT article. I’m impressed enough with the media aspect of this one that I wish I could claim credit for it myself 🙂 I think it was a really good idea to write the hypothetical article to actually demonstrate the different types of spin that can be placed on the same subject, so as to make it more or less negative.

    And I’m also impressed with the journalistic skill you showed in doing it. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mirror and the Sun come calling you any day now with job offers 🙂 But seriously, great article. I really enjoyed this one.

  16. Can someone tell me how this investigation started in the first place? What were the police looking into? Also, why was the raid on Redknapp deemed illegal? If it was illegal, does that mean any evidence found during that raid becomes inadmissable in court?

    As for Redknapp getting a free ride from the media, I think it’s a case of the media having it’s favourites for some reason. On what basis are they chosen? Being British helps, but there are plenty of British managers who are run down in the press. Giving good copy should help too, but while Wenger doesn’t act like a media hound, he does give good copy, while Ferguson doesn’t. Who does the media go easier on? If it were one or two journalists, I could accept that building relationships makes the key difference. But it seems more general a trend than that.

  17. @Shard:

    I’ll leave you with the initials “ML”… She’s quite a tempting seductress, isn’t she? 🙂

  18. Tottenham do seem to get a very easy ride from the media. I think many of them are simpy desperate for another team to challenge Arsenal for domination of London Football that isnt owned by an odious megolomaniac billionaire.

    Another example of that this morning. Spurs just announced financials. They were awful. Operating Loss of 24m (pre-tax 6m) even though they had a whole bunch of Champions League matches included in the period. Now we know exactly why they didnt really buy anyone this summer. It wasnt that nobody ws available. They literally have no money.

    So what was the headline on yahoo.co.uk sports section this morning, and their first paragraph?

    “Premier League – Spurs to de-list to fund stadium Wed, 16 Nov 09:28:00 2011

    Tottenham have reported record annual revenue of almost £120million – and a move to raise more funds for stadium redevelopment.”

    If those were Arsenal’s accounts we all know what the headline would have been:

    “Arsenal in 24m loss shocker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    You can try to make this stuff up, Tony, but the truth is so much better in most cases.

  19. Sorry, folks. Just checked the Spurs website and Yahoo just completely got their article wrong. I mean, completely wrong. All of their numbers are a year out of date. Spurs actually increased revenue to 163m, not 120m as yahoo reported. The 120m was for 2010. But that increase includes 39.7m of Champions League prize money and gate receipts, so you can kiss that money goodbye this financial year. They made a profit before tax of about 700,000. And they made a loss after tax of about 6m. So still not that good considering all that money they had coming in.

    I actually only checked Spurs website because I wanted to see what cash holdings they have as a club – 35m. (We have 160m). If not for that I would not realised that yahoo.co.uk made such a mistake. Another case of not believing stuff you read in newspapers until you have their sources confirmed.

  20. I would not be too hard on Yahoo, getting to the bottom of Spurs finances is not the easiest job in the world

  21. That is true. They dont even report player wages in their financials, which strikes me as suspicious straight away. Makes you think the owners may be handing a few envelopes stuffed with fivers to offset otherwise low salaries and keep players happy.

    But to just report 2010’s figures as if they were 2011’s is just careless on the part of Yahoo.

  22. Just to let you all know – should I get cdalled up for jury service I will be insisting on the death penalty.

  23. Sorry, not about the media. Sepp Blatter has been giving press releases again, and all racism problems in football can be solved by a handshake.

    The “bladder” probably knows a lot about bribery, and I am sure that at the end of any successful “transaction” the parties shake hands.

    It’s therefore natural for the “bladder” to think a handshake solves everything.

    The “bladder” is part of the problem, not the solution.

  24. @ Gord, I am glad to hear that ol’Septic has given the Russian 2018 WC some thought then.

  25. This is the worst and most embarrassing article I have seen on an Arsenal blog. Are we now a small team? Essentially you are looking over with envy at how a spurs manager is getting favour over the media than an Arsenal one.

    Let it go, you loser.

    The media like Harry. Always have and always will. Simply because he’s an affable character who is always good for a story. He looks after them, they look after him. E.G Harry goes out of his way during transfer windows to speak to them and give them updates.

    He’s worked the media to his benefit, Wenger prefers to keep his business in house and media resent him for it. Nothing whatsoever to do with him being French or who he manages.

  26. Alan 1029 – it’s hardly envy. It’s merely observational analysis and hypothesising based on past history and what amounts to irrefutably favourable treatment from the press. The disparity in how the media treat person x as opposed to person y cannot be based on one being an affable cockney chancer and the other putting their noses out of joint for having the temerity to challenge them when they accused him of peadophelia. That’s not acceptable. As fans, do you expect us to roll over and take it when they launch into yet another Arsenal in crisis story? Yet then go easy on affable ‘arry when we know damn well if it was us we’d be being crucified? In much the same way that Liverpool’s trophy drought NEVER gets a mention (since 2006) yet our does REPEATEDLY. I do wonder whose side you are on.

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