“Let’s have it right!” as our Cockney friends like to put it when attempting to get to the nub of an issue without all the flannel and spin. Harry’s phalanx of sycophants and apologists may well say that their hero was only doing what most businessmen do week in, week out, trying to avoid paying his fair share of tax by making secret, possibly illegal payments into foreign tax haven bank accounts.
Yeah but football isn’t just a business like any other and football managers aren’t just hired hands. Fans expect their team’s manager to do their best for the club in all respects, on and off the field and any hint that they are profiteering on the transfer of players smacks of disloyalty. Let’s remember these men are paid fortunes in salaries and top managers like Redknapp can earn massive amounts in media punditry work and sponsorship deals.
‘Brand Redknapp’ as Harry, Jamie and Louise pompously and self-regardingly term themselves have made the most of the media’s fascination with their Sandhills lifestyle. Harry himself may well be a talented manager but his disloyalty to fans of Portsmouth, Southampton and West Ham has always marked him out as the kind of flash Cockney head worker who, no matter, how much shit is laid at his door, always comes up smelling of roses. Like his pal El Tel Venables before him, the media love him for his accessibility and fondness for a cheeky turn of phrase so tout him as ‘the future England manager’ despite his obvious limitations and dodgy financial dealings.
Ofcourse Harry could do no worse than Keegan, Sven or Fabio and may well prove to be a fine international manager but then so could anyone. Being the England manager or indeed any international team manager is possibly the easiest job in football and should only be part-time in any case. What the fuck does Capello do inbetween tournaments, apart from laughing his cock off when depositing all those millions in his own Swiss bank accounts?
This issue shouldn’t be confined to Redknapp however. Ever since Brian ‘Man of The People’ Clough’s own profiteering on transfers was referred to as ‘bungs’ and ‘Gorgeous’ George Graham was brought down by his own Bung-Gate scandal, British football has persistantly dodged the issue and now that agents’ fees of both players and managers have become inter-connected, the whole revolting, greedy merry-go-round suits everyone except the fans.
Let’s not forget that so-called socialist and knight of the realm, Sir Alex Ferguson was accused of similar behaviour by his former pals Magnier and Mcmanus of Coolmore mafia infamy. Using his own son as an agent for player transfers is obviously a potential conflict of interest and smacks of nepotism and insider trading.
Whether or not it’s illegal, it’s certainly immoral and the FA and premiership bosses should have clamped down on this culture a decade ago. With multi-million pound transfers now the bread and butter of all premiership and even Championship teams, with sell-on cuts and loans now an accepted part of modern football, with agents and consortia ownership all the rage and global gangsters, tax fraudsters, cheats, crooks, torturers and murderers now in charge in our top clubs perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the Redknapp case will be no doubt be settled with a juicy cheque to HMRC and Harry will be free to transform England into a ‘world cup winning team’ in 2014.