Harry dismisses FA charge as 'absolute rubbish'

January 21, 2006

Harry Redknapp has welcomed the Premier League inquiry into his move from Southampton to Portsmouth, dismissing the charge of an illegal approach as 'absolute nonsense'.

Pompey could face punishment after being charged for breaching rules in their approach to bring manager Redknapp back to Fratton Park after a year at St Mary's.

While at Southampton, Redknapp was initially refused permission to speak to Pompey about filling their managerial vacancy but then left St Mary's after feeling his position was untenable.

Pompey chairman Milan Mandaric also revealed his managerial targets on television, although Redknapp claims it was not unsettling when he was named among the candidates.

'I was unsettled anyway, so it wasn't as if Milan's comments unsettled me at all,' Redknapp said.

'I never felt settled in all my time there unfortunately.'

The Premier League received a complaint from Southampton and will now decide if Pompey's approach to Redknapp was within the boundaries of their rules, with a commission set up to deal with the matter.

'It's absolute nonsense,' Redknapp said of suggestions he was illegally approached.

'There was nothing illegal about it. We welcome the inquiry and it's up to them if they can prove otherwise, good luck to them.

'There was nothing untoward that happened in me moving to Portsmouth, so we haven't got a problem with that.'

The strained relationship between Mandaric and his Southampton counterpart Rupert Lowe could deteriorate further, with the pair set for a potentially tense meeting.

Lowe immediately questioned Portsmouth's conduct after Redknapp's departure, with Mandaric denying any wrongdoing and also sending his counterpart a duck as a Christmas present.

Mandaric was annoyed when Lowe apparently spent a day duck shooting when the Pompey chairman was desperate to conclude negotiations over the compensation package for Redknapp's services.

A club statement following the Premier League announcement read: 'Portsmouth Football Club is disappointed at the lack of support for a fellow member of the Premiership given by certain officials of the League and looks forward to clearing the club's name.

'It appears this is entirely led by a man called Lowe and Milan Mandaric looks forward to seeing him at the hearing when he can ask him how he found the duck stuffing.'

The statement added: 'Portsmouth Football Club and Southampton Football Club agreed a compensation amount for Harry Redknapp and furthermore Harry Redknapp and Southampton Football Club signed a formal compromise agreement, therefore the club is surprised that the approach can now be considered illegal.'

Pompey also expressed their disappointment at not being told of the charge before the Premier League made an announcement, although it is understood they were informed verbally.