Harry Redknapp recalls getting conned
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Former football boss Harry Redknapp, 73, has reflected on the time he took his wife Sandra, sons Jamie and Mark and six footballers, including Neil Hague and Terry Shanahan, out to Phoenix to play as part of a new deal, before realising the business venture was doomed. The father-of-two said he was swiftly told he had no money from the club in his account when he arrived.
There were bugs and all sorts in the room, it was horrible
The ex footballer began by recalling the moment he got offered a role for a new team in Phoenix with his friend Jimmy Gabriel, by a football club executive.
He added the pair were offered “crazy money” for the job, as well as luxuries such as a luxury car for his wife Sandra.
Sold by the offer, Harry and Jimmy left their jobs in Seattle to make the move.
Harry soon discovered the chief executive of the club had taken all the money.
“We were all a part of the con,” he said on his The Harry Redknapp Show podcast.
He went on to explain: “On the plane all coming over they’re [players] singing, ‘good old Harry’ the six of them, I’ve made their lives, haven’t I?
“I’d dragged them all from weird places. Terry Shanahan was playing for Halifax or someone you know, I took him.
“We get over there and the cheques bounced and we were in a big hotel, a beautiful hotel, next thing we were thrown out of the hotel.
“We ended up in a motel, me Sandra and the boys under this motorway, it was like Psycho [the film].
“I’m waiting for someone to come in… it was scary, it was like 20 dollars a night or something this place and there were bugs and all sorts in the room, it was horrible, it was unbelievable.”
Harry’s son Jamie, who joined him for the latest episode of the show, then joked the team were singing a different version of the song on the way back, complete with swear words.
“That was it, six of them, we’re all out on a limb, we had nowhere to live, we got chased out and they tried to get the team back together again.”
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The ex football captain added his friend Jimmy Gabriel had to go to court with the culprit, who was charged and sent to prison.
“They never found any of the millions, he hid it away,” he alleged.
In August 1981, Leonard Lesser was reportedly found guilty of defrauding investors but acquitted in 10 other criminal violations.
In December, he was sentenced to serve one year in Maricopa County jail and seven years probation plus 300 hours of community service after his release.
Harry began his management career as assistant manager of NASL club Seattle Sounders from 1976 to 1979 under Jimmy.
He has also previously managed AFC Bournemouth, West Ham United, Portsmouth, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers and Birmingham City.
The ex coach retired from his management duties in 2017.
In his personal life, he has been married to long-term wife Sandra since 1967.
The couple have two sons together; Mark and Jamie Redknapp.
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