Saturday 17 March 2018

Standing room only as Harry Rednapp takes his place in Court 6

HARRY Redknapp is familiar with all-ticket sell-outs. But not like this.

The first journalists began queuing for a spot inside Court 6 at London's Southwark Crown Court at 7.30am.

More than 50 members of the media were jostling for a place by the time staff began issuing seat vouchers.

With only 20 spaces initially available, many were forced to miss kick-off as Redknapp swapped the dugout for the dock.

There was standing room only as family members - including Redknapp's son Jamie - took their seats as he faced charges alongside co-defendant Milan Mandaric.

Redknapp, wearing a dark blue suit with matching tie, put on a pair of square-rimmed black glasses to watch the jury being told to "leave prejudice or favour behind".

The judge was pointing the jurors to Redknapp's significant impact on the sport.

He is widely tipped as a favourite to become England's next manger, having become one of few homegrown coaches to enjoy success in the modern game.

Tottenham Hotspur, his current club, are third in the Premier League. When he took over in 2008, they were languishing near the foot of the table.

Redknapp, a married grandfather, has had several health scares while juggling his busy schedule of managerial duties and media punditry commitments.

He was left fighting for life following a road crash in 1990 and in more recent years has suffered heart complaints.

He successfully underwent a procedure to unblock coronary arteries last year.

Career highlights include holding aloft the FA Cup with Portsmouth and steering various clubs to record finishes in the Premier League.

Last year Spurs reached the latter stages of the Champions League.

Having grown up watching Arsenal from the Highbury terraces in the 1950s, sport became Redknapp's lifeblood.

Born in Poplar, east London, in 1947, he became a professional footballer as a winger with West Ham United in 1964.

Both Redknapp and Mandaric deny charges of tax evasion.

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