Harry Redknapp in court: Saw red over Peter Crouch cut

Harry 'saw red over his Crouch cut' as Spurs boss faces court for second day

In the dock: Harry Redknapp

In the dock: Harry Redknapp

Harry Redknapp demanded a 10 per cent cut of the profit Portsmouth made on the sale of Peter Crouch because he had proved to Milan Mandaric that the towering striker was not ‘useless’, a court heard on Tuesday.

Prosecutor John Black QC read an interview Tottenham’s manager gave to City of London police in June 2009, when Redknapp revealed the doubts his then chairman at Fratton Park had about a player who has since made 42 appearances for England.

When Redknapp signed Crouch from QPR for 1.25million in July 2001, Redknapp’s contract as director of football entitled him to 10 per cent of the net gain on any sell-on fee.

But when Crouch moved to Aston Villa the following March for 4.5m, Redknapp had just become manager with a contract that stated he was only entitled to five per cent of such deals.

From statements Mandaric made to police, Redknapp was said to have been ‘complaining’. He was ‘unhappy’ he had been paid only five per cent of the net gain on Crouch — 115,473 —by the club. In that interview, read to the jury at Southwark Crown Court by the prosecutor, Redknapp said: ‘When I signed Crouch, Milan kept saying, “He’s useless; you’ll have to pay me 10 per cent”. But I sold him for 5m.

‘I told Peter Storrie (then the chief executive) I was due 10 per cent. Milan had kept telling me I owed him 10 per cent but Peter said the contract said five per cent.’

As Mr Black explained to the court, Redknapp’s salary was increased from 300,000 to 500,000 when he became Portsmouth manager in March 2002.

But the court also heard how Mandaric had told police that Redknapp could earn a further 700,000 from bonuses, for instance if he guided the club to promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

In the dugout: Harry Redknapp is now in charge of Tottenham Hotspur

In the dugout: Harry Redknapp is now in charge of Tottenham Hotspur

That was something he achieved the
following season and something Mandaric said could justify that
reduction from 10 to five per cent.

Both men are standing trial for tax evasion with regard to two payments — totalling $295,000 — that were made by Mandaric to a Monaco-based bank account belonging to Redknapp. Mr Black spent the second day of the trial focusing on the respective interviews given by Redknapp and Mandaric, in particular the different explanations the two men have given for why those payments were made, and he spoke of a ‘dispute’ over the payment.

The court heard how Mandaric has consistently described the first payment of $145,000 as a ‘loan’ that would provide Redknapp with an ‘investment’ opportunity, as well as something he did for his ‘friend’.

Transfer: Peter Crouch at Portsmouth

Transfer: Peter Crouch at Portsmouth

From an interview with the sports reporter Rob Beasley, then at the News of the World and now at The Sun, Mandaric was quoted by Mr Black saying it was not a bonus for a transfer but a gesture of goodwill. ‘I did something for my friend; away from England, away from football,’ he was quoted as saying.

In that interview with police in 2009 Redknapp was quoted saying: ‘Milan said the only way (he could make up what Redknapp regarded as the shortfall) was to get an account in Monaco and invest the money and give me the profit on that investment.

‘I told Quest (the team of investigators who conducted the Stevens Inquiry into football finance) it was the Peter Crouch bonus. I didn’t agree with Milan that it wasn’t a bonus. I think of it as the Peter Crouch bonus. I said to him, “I pushed for Crouch; you owe me 10 per cent”. It was one million per cent linked to Crouch. No chance of anything else at all.’

The court heard how Redknapp had insisted to police he had ‘never fiddled anything’. In the interview with Beasley, he also denied it was ‘a bung’. He said: ‘It is not a bung. Bung is a f****** sick word. How can a payment from the chairman be a bung’

Both Redknapp and Mandaric deny the charges and the trial continues.