Video: Redknapp cleared for England job as Capello walks away over Terry
Published 09/02/2012 | 05:00
Fabio Capello last night sensationally resigned as England manager, capping an extraordinary day that saw Harry Redknapp acquitted of tax evasion charges, clearing the way for him to succeed the Italian at Wembley.
Capello's resignation came after an hour-long meeting with English FA chairman David Bernstein in which it became clear that the manager felt the decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy had rendered his position untenable.
Capello was furious at what he felt was the undermining of his position, and a restriction on his ability to shape the team as he saw fit.
Bernstein had deliberately excluded the manager from deliberations over Terry's role, placing the FA's wider role as regulator above the short-term interests of the coach. Last night it left the association without a manager and a captain four months before the start of Euro 2012.
The FA are expected to ask U-21 coach Stuart Pearce to take caretaker charge for the friendly against Holland on February 28, before beginning a more considered search for a replacement.
Capello's position had been in jeopardy since Sunday evening, when he gave an interview to Italian state television protesting at Bernstein's decision to remove Terry from his post.
The interview posed a direct challenge to the FA chairman's authority, which had been bolstered by his move against Terry following the adjournment of the Chelsea captain's trial on charges of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand until after Euro 2012.
Having taken that decision, and with the full support of the board to deal with Capello as he saw fit, Bernstein was not minded to back down, leaving a parting of the ways inevitable.
The meeting ended at around 4.0, with Capello leaving Wembley for the last time around 90 minutes later having said his farewells.
The FA declined to discuss any financial details of the contract termination.
Even by the melodramatic standards of English football, developments at Southwark Crown Court and Wembley were remarkable, particularly for Redknapp.
He began the day facing the prospect of a custodial sentence in the event of guilty verdicts in his tax evasion trial, and ended it as the leading candidate for the most senior managerial post in the English game.
While the bandwagon to appoint Tottenham manager Redknapp will gather speed in the coming days, Bernstein is likely to take his time before making a decision.
He will take advice from the Club England board of Football Association general secretary Alex Horne, Trevor Brooking and managing director Adrian Bevington, which will then make a recommendation to the main board.
As chairman of both, however, Bernstein will be the prime mover in the most important decision taken on his watch, the appointment of the new manager.
While the primary barrier to Redknapp's appointment has been cleared by the emphatic not guilty verdicts delivered at 11.30am yesterday, there are still those with reservations over his appointment on the FA board.
FA sources said the organisation would want to "reflect" on the events of the last two weeks before making any final decision. As an English manager overseeing a club challenging for the title, Redknapp is the outstanding candidate on several counts.
The developments at Wembley came at the end of a dramatic day that saw Redknapp and his former Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric walk from court free men at the end of a five-year police investigation into their financial affairs.
Speaking on the steps of the court Redknapp described the case as a "nightmare" and said it should never have come to court.
"My family have really been put through it these last five years, and I am looking forward to getting home and getting away from all this, it really has been a nightmare," he said.
"This is a case that should never have come to court, it is unbelievable really. It was a unanimous decision, absolutely unanimous, there was no case to answer."
Mandaric, who will be permitted to continue his ownership of Sheffield Wednesday, following his acquittal, said the charges were unfounded: "I am delighted I have been cleared of the totally unfounded allegations of tax evasion. It is clear that they should never have been brought to court.
"I have never doubted that truth would prevail, nor the fact the British justice system would come to the right conclusion. To suggest I would cheat the taxman is highly offensive to me, my family, my associates and friends. I have got to go somewhere to try and pinch myself and wake me up from this horrible dream that I had in the past."
The verdict came after the jury had spent five-and-a-half hours considering their verdicts following a 13-day trial that veered from the comic to the deeply personal for the Tottenham manager.
Details of his personal life, including his inability to write and his contractual arrangements with Portsmouth and Tottenham, were revealed during evidence in a trial that has been bruising and exhausting.
As the foreman, one of four women on the jury, read out the not guilty verdicts, Redknapp and Mandaric shared an embrace in the dock and there were sighs of relief from his son Jamie Redknapp, who has attended every day of the trial, and the Tottenham contingent in court. Father and son embraced as Redknapp left the dock for the last time.
Revenue officials defended the failed prosecution.
"We have no regrets about pursuing this case because it was vitally important that the facts were put before a jury for their consideration," said Chris Martin, assistant director of criminal investigations.
For Spurs, Redknapp's acquittal came as a huge relief, but Capello's resignation raises fresh questions.
Redknapp has a year left on his contract at Tottenham, and club chairman Daniel Levy could offer him a new one, strengthening his bargaining position should the FA make an offer.
Levy's reputation as a hard-nosed negotiator means that any approach for Redknapp is unlikely to be cheap, but he will be equally concerned about the identity of a successor, should he need one.
It would be a crucial appointment for the club. The highly talented squad make it a hugely attractive post, but leading players including Gareth Bale and Luka Modric will be vulnerable to offers from elsewhere should a new manager fail to match their expectations.
Jose Mourinho is bound to be linked with the club should a vacancy arise, with David Moyes among leading British candidates.
After a deeply stressful fortnight in court, however, Redknapp may decide that the heightened profile of the England job might be best avoided. (© Daily Telegraph, London)