Thursday, November 29, 2007

Too close for comfort

The news that Harry Redknapp was arrested today - not for bearing a son who is incapable of understanding the meaning of the word "literally", or for scaring small children with the folds of flesh that hang off his hound-dog face, but on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting as part of the ongoing investigation into alleged transfer irregularities following Lord Stevens's inquiry - is bound to have unnerved some senior figures at Newcastle.

In addition to Redknapp, Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie and their former chairman Milan Mandaric, agent Willie McKay and alleged footballer Amady Faye were also detained. This specific investigation appears to be centring on transfer deals involving Faye, who of course left the south coast for St James's Park in the transfer window of January 2005. In Lord Stevens's report this deal was one of four involving Newcastle described as "uncleared", with there being "inconsistencies in evidence" given by then manager Graeme Souness. For his part, McKay - whose close ties with the club have been longstanding - was ticked off for showing only "a degree of co-operation".

Of course all involved have claimed it's all routine and has nothing to do with Portsmouth, and Newcastle haven't been named, but it's all a bit too close for comfort - and Sam Allardyce, who was first fingered along with Redknapp in the infamous 'Panorama' programme, is presumably preparing himself for a knock at the door and an "'Allo allo'" any day now and may need to call upon a defence of a different kind.


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