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By Tony Attwood
If you have a long memory, and take note of the occasional ramblings of mine on this site you might recall that I’ve written a few things about the Redknapp trial in the run up to the event.
Unfortunately, for reasons that I will explain below, I was not able to say all I wanted to say about the trial prior to its starting – although I did try and give a few hints.
I’m returning to the case now because I have only just got back to the UK, and it wasn’t practical to write anything while I was away.
In fact leaving the UK, where I live, and going to Australia for 3 weeks in the middle of the football season, is not something I normally do. But one of my daughters lives in Oz, and although I could have gone during the off-season, that would have taken me to Australia in the southern winter, which seemed a bit of a waste. So I went just as the cold set in, and had a lovely time in the Australian summer.
It also meant that I missed the Redknapp Trial – or at least the version of it published in the English press.
But as I lazed in the Australian sunshine (and occasional monsoon) I wondered if there was more to all this than meets the eye. Prior to the trial I received a few emails from Untold readers outside the UK telling me one simple thing: that Peter Storrie had already been tried, had been found innocent, and that there was now a super injunction which made it illegal to comment on the Storrie trial. No one could print a word.
Not particularly wanting to miss my trip to Australia and spend the period in prison in the UK I did not reprint the info that I got, particularly from the US, but did go a-searching for information on the Storrie trial. I rather think Untold was just about the only publication that carried this story at all – you might just remember that I reprinted the information that was on the public record, which was taken from the Crown Prosecution Service website. In fact I believe that this information should have been removed from the internet, but was left up by mistake.
On their site the CPS said that there had been a meeting of some significance in the case, and that Mr Storrie was going to plead, and that directions would be given as to how, when and where the case was to be heard. And after that nothing.
There was little I could do with this information so I made a few silly jokes about Mr Storrie disappearing and being lost on Planet Zog etc and pleaded for anyone who saw Mr S on some distant planet to get in touch. If I had said anything more Untold would have been closed.
But the fact is that Peter Storrie was charged and had his trial, and the whole trial has been kept secret. As my correspondents from the US said, he was found innocent. What they also said was that it was a dead cert that Redknapp would now also be found not guilty – and so it turned out.
And this is where it gets interesting.
The case also involved Mr Mandaric and took place last November and since then the press have on occasion mentioned the case – but what they have not done is explored what on earth was going on with different cases being held at different times. All these cases, all involving fraud, all with the senior football men being found not guilty. What was going on? Were the CPS idiots? Were the police idiots? Or was there something deeper behind all this? Had I stumbled in fact upon… “The Coincidence Coincidence”.
Storrie was alleged to have disguised a payment to the player as one to his agent, to avoid tax and national insurance. Similar to the Redknapp situation. Conspiracy? No, they were all not guilty. So, just a coincidence.
The police started investigating in 2007, Storrie was arrested and charge with defrauding the public purse in relation to the Amdy Faye transfer, then with a payment to Eyal Berkovic – and all this before the case of Redknapp paying money to his pet dog. Conspiracy to defraud? No – they were all innocent. Just coincidence then.
I don’t have a transcript of the earlier trial, so I don’t really know what on earth was going on there, nor how it relates to the Redknapp trial, nor why my correspondents were so sure in advance that Redknapp would be found innocent. But I think they too were realising that when dealing with Mr Redknapp and his chums, coincidence is the name of the game.
Of course I have no reason to suggest that Mr Redknapp’s involvement in a series of clubs who have had financial and legal difficulties (West Ham had its Icelandic problems, its problems with players who were owned by agents etc, Southampton had administration, Portsmouth likewise had administration, Bournemouth went into administration), is anything other than coincidence. Self-evidently he wasn’t there when these clubs fell apart, and indeed his dismissal from WHU has never been explained so we can draw no conclusions. It is just a coincidence that some time later things went wrong for the club.
But what we can conclude is that strange events do sometimes follow Mr Redknapp. In no way does that make him guilty, and I do not at all in any way whatsoever suggest he is guilty of any wrong-doing. Coincidences are just that – coincidences, and it may be that in Tottenham H Mr Redknapp has found a club that he can manage which will not subsequently go into administration and the coincidence chain will be broken. But being found not guilty in his court case just a day or so before the England manager departed was also a coincidence – there is no suggestion that it was anything else. Maybe the coincidences that follow Mr Redknapp are still there.
As I mused all this from the beaches, cafes and rainforests of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, I wondered… is there some secret galactic force that does link Mr Redknapp inexorably to coincidences. Wouldn’t it be funny if it were the case that some people are always coincidence prone! It is the sort of idea that comes to one when spending many a long hour travelling across the globe, unsure of the time, or even the day of the week.
I quite like the idea of The Coincidence Man – maybe it could become a novel a story about a football manager. A man now at Tottenham H, and soon to be manager of England.
This could be fun.