You might have considered it the least surprising news of the lot; at 9pm tonight, it was reported across social media that former West Ham, Tottenham and QPR manager Harry Redknapp would be the latest figure from English football to be implicated in the Telegraph's ongoing #Football4Sale investigation.
You would also have been incorrect. In a shock twist, Redknapp is indeed the implicator, and has inadvertently dropped some fascinating revelations pertaining to widespread gambling in football - using his own former players as an example.
As has been the case with Sam Allardyce, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and others, Redknapp was filmed by undercover reporters, and spoke of a match for which “the lads” had “all had a spread bet” on the final score. His players allegedly bet on themselves to win the match, and one of them is said to have told a football agent to “remortgage your house” because the odds were so favourable. The players and team in question have been #redacted from the video.
The agent later claimed that the opposition's squad had also bet on the match; bookies had given long odds on Redknapp’s team winning, believing he would field a weakened team due to the fact that they apparently had nothing left to play for that season. Instead, according to the reporters and Redknapp himself, the latter fielded a full who went on to comfortably win the game.
Obviously, players betting on their own fixtures is prohibited by the FA, and Redknapp - by right - should have reported it to the FA accordingly. He'll likely be investigated by the organisation as a result, but there are no suggestions of any criminality on his part, or indeed that he would have known his players had bet on the fixture either prior or during the game in question.
The Telegraph also write that Redknapp was contacted and had the allegation put to him. He admitted becoming aware of his players betting on the match, but said: “Who gives a s--- about that?”
When told by The Telegraph reporter in question that it would have been against FA rules, he replied: “Oh would it? Oh, OK. But not at that time I don’t think it was, was it? They weren’t betting on the other team, they were having a bet on their own team.”
Harry, you grass!
Intriguingly, Redknapp wrote a lengthy article on Sam Allardyce's sacking in his Evening Standard column just last night.
I can’t say I agree with entrapping people.
You can trap almost anyone in any walk of life if you really want to but that said, Sam made a mistake — he knows he did — and has paid a high price.
Footballers sign deals with third parties a lot — they endorse boots, clothing, you name it. Roy Hodgson had a contract with Hublot to wear a fantastic watch. A lot of managers have that and I’ve seen some fold their arms a lot on television to show them off for the cameras.
There are spin-offs to being a player or manager of anyone. These businessmen claimed they wanted to give him £400,000 but Sam insisted he wanted to clear it with the FA. He made a mistake being there in the first place and obviously it didn’t look great that he was talking as he did about player transfers. He dived into the trap and got caught.
Once it came out, the FA didn’t have a choice. There is a history of managers getting sacked for off-field issues and the saddest thing is that Sam has now joined that list before really having the chance to make his mark on the squad.
The video also showed Redknapp to be interested in aiding the fake Middle Eastern firm break into the English market which, given his non-involvement in English footballl within a professional capacity at the moment, is hardly worthy of any raised eyebrows.