England

Fred Dinenage: Harry Redknapp trial 'waste of money'

Harry Redknapp (left) with Milan Mandaric during their time at Portsmouth Football Club
Image caption During the trial Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric were described as 'The Odd Couple'

TV presenter Fred Dinenage has said the case against Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric should never have been brought.

Mr Dinenage, who was on the board at Portsmouth during Mr Mandaric's ownership of the club from 1998 to 2006, said he was "delighted" at the result and branded the trial "a waste of time and money".

Mr Redknapp and Mr Mandaric were earlier cleared of tax evasion charges at Southwark Crown Court.

Mr Dinenage said: "I'm delighted for Harry.

"This case should never have been brought - it's yet another waste of time and money.

"Contrary to the image of him portrayed in the court, Harry Redknapp is an extremely astute businessman who would never have jeopardised his career and family over a relatively small amount of money.

"Good luck to him with Spurs - and England, we hope."

Portsmouth supporters have said the outcome of the trial was irrelevant as it highlighted the "amazing" amount of money that chief executives, managers and agents were earning from clubs.

In January, Portsmouth was served with a winding-up petition after failing to meet two tax payments of £800,000 to HM Revenue and Customs.

Image caption Fred Dinenage was on the board at Portsmouth FC during Mr Mandaric's tenure

The club announced it had also failed to pay players' wages and had its bank accounts frozen as a result of the petition.

Scott McLachlan, of the Pompey Supporters Trust, which has been fighting to save the club, said: "Personally I do not understand why the case was brought.

"To the layman, the evidence did not seem strong enough but the result is irrelevant - the case has highlighted how much money sloshes around football to the detriment of clubs.

"It's quite clear it's the chief executives, the managers, the agents who benefit from all this money.

"I don't think fans are concerned about the verdict.

"Harry Redknapp being paid £3m in the Championship, we really did not know all of this was going on.

"It's an amazing situation.

Image caption John Westwood said the fans are the ones putting the money into the club

"From a Portsmouth fan's point of view - the verdict - it's irrelevant, because the club is dying in a few days.

"It just highlights everything that is wrong in the game."

Portsmouth superfan John Westwood said: "Milan Mandaric, I feel, was a genuine man. He did a lot for the club. He was let down by Harry Redknapp when he went to Southampton.

"Mandaric was a good man, so in that respect I'm glad he's been cleared."

When asked what affect the trial had on the club, Mr Westwood said: "We've got to look at it from a positive point of view - at least the club hasn't been tarnished.

"With all the things that have gone on a Portsmouth Football Club, we are tarnished enough as it is."

"There's so much money swilling about. It's [just] frustrating that the man in the street who follows the game has got no money at all.

"We love the game, we love the club, we love our football. We are the ones putting the money in and giving it everything.

"I hope beyond hope that someone out there can buy the club."

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