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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 16, 2006

Tap-up claims branded 'pathetic' by angry Redknapp

Harry Redknapp has got his retaliation in first by describing as 'pathetic' claims he expects to be made against him in the BBC's Panorama investigation into illegal payments in football.

The Portsmouth boss insists he is 'one million per cent innocent' of any wrong-doing and is unconcerned about the content of the programme, to be screened on BBC1 on Tuesday evening.

'I think they're trying to say they've caught me tapping up a player - but it's pathetic,' he has told the News of the World.

Redknapp suspects Panorama will focus on a recording of him speaking to agent Peter Harrison about Blackburn defender Andy Todd. But he insists the conversation was entirely innocent.

'What really happened is that Todd's agent, Peter Harrison, asked me what I thought about the player,' he recalls.

'I said: `I like Toddy. I'd have him in my team.' And that was it.

'It was just a quick conversation, not of my making, and the sort of chat managers, directors and agents have all the time.

'If that's seen to be tapping up it's ridiculous, unreal.'

Redknapp also claims the BBC's undercover investigators sought his input, and that of his former assistant Kevin Bond, into a proposal involving Harrison and American investment into his business. Bond is now on the Newcastle coaching staff and was allowed to go on leave this week to deal with personal business.

'I always try to help people if I can - so even though I was busy, I said I could spare him a few minutes,' said Redknapp.

'Now I wish I hadn't bothered.'

Redknapp has consistently denied he was ever offered or received a bribe and insists a 'bung culture' in English football does not exist.

'I have never taken a bung in my life and never will. It can't happen these days,' he added.

'How can you take a payment like that, especially from a player's agent? These agents are so close to their players they tell them everything.

'How could you give a player a rollicking in training or during a match when he's got that on you?'

Redknapp also shot down any suggestion he rose to the bait of an expenses-paid trip to the World Cup.

'... after all this nonsense that's been leaked out we will finally see what they've actually got,' he said.

'I promise you everyone will see they have nothing on me.'

Portsmouth went to the top of the Barclays Premiership with a 1-0 win at Charlton yesterday - preserving their record of not having conceded a goal in five matches.

After substitute Lomana LuaLua's 73rd-minute goal earned the points, Redknapp said: 'It has been a fantastic start for us and not soured at all by all this other business.'

The Panorama programme will be screened just a few weeks before Lord Stevens publishes his report on 362 transfers involving Premiership clubs over the last two years.