So it finally came to the light of day that Harry Redknapp faces trial for tax evasion on the 23rd of January. Previously, rumours had only been doing the rounds on the Interweb as the Fleet Street Elite were banned from commenting on the story in hand. But, as of 2.30pm on Saturday, it was ruled that the injunction surrounding Redknapp’s, APPARENT, tax problems would finally come to fruition.
Naturally, the charges don’t relate to his time at Tottenham, but rather his stints at Portsmouth when under the employment of Milan Manderic. But, could it be enough to see Redknapp out of his current role at Spurs? Not as gossip-worthy as the whole Ryan Giggs affair, the news has still gripped fans of the North London side by the grip of the neck. Many suspected the entire saga had blown over following the summer and a lack of action being taken by the customs peeps. Nonetheless, like the icy grip of death, it has snuck back up on the Spurs boss and with it coming during his heart problems, many are wondering what lies in store for the former Portsmouth, Southampton, West Ham and Bournemouth manager.
If found guilty, he faces a lengthy prison sentence and with it, the possibility of finding himself out of work. It is highly unlikely Daniel Levy would keep him on board at White Hart Lane and he could find himself sacked without compensation due to gross misconduct. Furthermore, the FA wouldn’t want to hire a manager if convicted of tax evasion. Terry Venables was fired from the England role under similar circumstances over 10 years ago and it would particularly hypocritical of the governing body to bring in Redknapp, should he be proven guilty.
The trial itself comes at a rather inconvenient time for Spurs as well. Currently on a superb run of form, the news would have likely come as a bombshell to the players and staff alike, made all the worse considering the trial date is in the tail-end of the January transfer window and around the same time Spurs tend to begin finalising their movements for the month.
With that in mind, it could determine whether or not Spurs secure a potential target before February or not. Granted, Redknapp was always going to face a jury, what he allegedly did was illegal. But, for the sake of the team, this could have waited until the off-season in order to rectify the matter, not half-way through the current campaign. Nonetheless, chances are Redknapp will receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a suspended prison sentence, or even a minimal amount of time in the slammer.
The rest all depends of Levy, to be honest. If he chooses to keep Redknapp on as his manager through all of this, then kudos to the man sticking by him. But, he could receive no compensation package should the chairman opt to relieve the manager of his duties prior to the expiration of his contract in 2013. Worryingly for Redknapp, the FA may choose to distance themselves from him for the duration of the trial which means jeopardising his chance of replacing Fabio Capello at the helm of the England national team, a role that even the Spurs admits he wouldn’t be able to turn down.
It will be interesting to see how Spurs will perform without Redknapp in charge of first team duties. It has faired them well so far with the 67-year-old in the dugout, despite a 1-0 loss to Rubin Kazan. Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond will, naturally, continue to act as the managing duo in his absence which brings to my next point; what if Redknapp is relieved of his duties as Spurs manager?
Still instilled as favourite to replace Capello after Euro 2012, Levy knows he may have to bring in a new man to succeed Redknapp next summer, regardless of the England job or not. David Moyes, Martin O’Neill and Carlo Ancelotti have all been mooted as possible replacements for him and it is hardly surprising that Levy is drawing up a list of potential targets for when the inevitable happens. Until then, however, it is up to Redknapp to recover properly from his recent surgery before returning to his managerial hot-seat. What follows after that remains to be seen but fans may have to prepare themselves for an extended period of time without Redknapp on the bench.