Redknapp says Cockney accent to blame for his ‘victimisation’

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Harry Redknapp said he was “sick and tired” of bung slurs and claimed he was victimised because of his Cockney accent, a court heard yesterday.

The Tottenham Hotspur manager also told football corruption investigators: “If there is any mud to be thrown, I seem to get on the end of it for whatever reason.”

Redknapp said there was “nothing on me in this world” as he voluntarily revealed details about his Monaco bank account during the Quest Premier League bung inquiry in 2006, jurors were told.

He told accountant Nigel Layton “I don’t care who looks”, as his then club Portsmouth’s finances were examined by the investigation led by former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens in 2006.

Redknapp, originally from Poplar, east London, said: “A friend said to me, he said: ‘Harry, I can’t believe it’s always you, I have dealt with you enough times. Your problem is your name, Harry, and you have got a Cockney accent’.

“People don’t know me and I am sick and tired of it. There ain’t nobody who is more of a fan... My son has been a top footballer.”

The conversation took place between Mr Layton – managing director of Quest – and Redknapp in November 2006.

The extracts were read out in court after prosecutors said excuses offered by Redknapp and his co-defendant, former Ports- mouth chairman and current Sheffield Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric, for the £189,000 “bung” were “contradictory, inconsistent and lack credibility”.

Jurors were asked earlier to consider how the Tottenham Hotspur manager “simply laughed” when questioned about the Monaco “bung”.

Prosecutor John Black QC completed his opening speech by pointing out how Redknapp’s story differed from the one given by Mandaric.

Jurors were asked to consider, “is it credible that Mr Redknapp remained blissfully unaware” of the deposits in the account named after his pet dog, Rosie.

Referring to police interviews with Mandaric, Mr Black asked “is there any credibility, you might like to consider” that the payments “constituted a loan”.

Mr Black said: “Why, in that case, was Mr Redknapp under such misapprehension?”

Both Redknapp, 64, of Poole, Dorset, and Mandaric, from Oadby, Leicestershire, deny two counts of cheating the public revenue when Redknapp was manager of Portsmouth.

The trial was adjourned until today when two accountants will give evidence at Southwark Crown Court.