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Redknapp blames his Cockney accent for 'bung slurs'

FOOTBALL boss Harry Redknapp said he was "sick and tired" of bung slurs and claimed he was victimised because of his Cockney accent, a court was told yesterday.

The Tottenham Hotspur manager also told football corruption investigators: "If there is any mud to be thrown, I seem to get on the end of it for whatever reason."

Mr Redknapp said there was "nothing on me in this world" as he voluntarily revealed details about his Monaco bank account during the Quest Premier League bung inquiry in 2006, jurors were told.

He told accountant Nigel Layton: "I don't care who looks", as Portsmouth's finances were examined by the investigation led by former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens in 2006.

Mr Redknapp, originally from Poplar, east London, said: "A friend said to me, he said: 'Harry, I can't believe it's always you, I have dealt with you enough times. Your problem is your name, Harry, and you have got a Cockney accent.'

"People don't know me and I am sick and tired of it. There ain't nobody who is more of a fan... My son has been a top footballer."

The conversation took place between Mr Layton -- managing director of Quest -- and Mr Redknapp in November 2006.

Mr Redknapp added: "I don't care who looks, your people can look. Nobody will ever find anything on me. I don't care who looks or how hard because there is nothing on me in this world."

The extracts were read out in court after prosecutors said excuses offered by Mr Redknapp and co-defendant Milan Mandaric for the £189,000 "bung" were "contradictory, inconsistent and lack credibility".

Jurors also listened to a tape recording of a phone call between Mr Redknapp and Mr Mandaric as the manager attempted to convince a 'News of the World' reporter listening on the other line that everything was "above board".

Rob Beasley, the paper's former chief sports writer, told jurors he used "flattery, friendship... and a little bit of kidology" with Mr Redknapp and Mr Mandaric as he investigated the case in 2009. Mr Beasley said he paid £1,000 to a source who was "absolutely not" a member of City of London Police or HM Revenue and Customs.

John Black, prosecuting, completed his opening speech by pointing out how Mr Redknapp's story differed from Mr Mandaric's.

"Those explanations, the Crown say, are contradictory, inconsistent and lack credibility," Mr Black said.

Both Mr Redknapp (64), of Poole, Dorset; and Mr Mandaric, from Oadby, Leicestershire; deny two counts of cheating the public revenue.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent