Harry Redknapp has had a tough few months. After having a heart operation before Christmas, he might have thought he was due for a rest. Instead, the Tottenham boss is currently pleading innocent in court against allegations that he accepted a £187,000 ‘bung’ from his former club Portsmouth’s chairman Milan Mandaric. Whilst at The Journal we wish ‘Arry all the best, we decided to take a look at some of the biggest footballing scandals from days gone by.
With a story quite similar to that being played out by Redknapp, one former Arsenal manager was found guilty of receiving a bung in the mid-90s. George Graham was the Gunners manager for nine years when an FA inquiry in 1995 found he had accepted over £400,000 from Norwegian agent Rune Hauge. Graham in return signed two of Hauge’s clients, Pal Lydersen and John Jensen. Initially sacked by Arsenal, he was found guilty of misconduct by the FA five months later and received a one-year ban. He went on to manage Leeds United and Spurs.
Whilst many were shocked by Graham’s behaviour, then Luton Town manager Mike Newell said in 2006: "If George Graham is the only one guilty of taking a bung in the last 10 years, I would be absolutely amazed."
The ‘Calciopoli’ scandal is one of the biggest in footballing history, and over the years has involved nearly every club in Italy. Primarily concerning Italian giants Juventus, the case revolved around transcripts of phone taps which allegedly showed referees being put under pressure to favour Juventus in matches. One of the most damning tapes concerned then Juventus managing director Luciano Moggi rebuking referee Gianluca Paparesta for not favouring Juventus in 2004. Moggi was sentenced to five years and four months in prison in November last year, though whether he will spend any time inside remains to be seen due to complicated points of Italian law (which are too extensive to explain here!)
Back on English soil, and to the one(s) who got away. Aston Villa and Wimbledon striker John Fashanu was accused in 1995 of match-fixing. The News of the World accused Fashanu, his former Wimbledon teammate Hans Segers and Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar of taking cash for fixing games. Although cleared of all charges in 1997, the three players were forced to pay their own legal fees. Fashanu described the allegations as “ludicrous” and “ridiculous”.
It remains to be seen whether ‘Arry’s fate will fall closer to that of Fashanu, or that of George Graham.