Owls chief ‘part of odd couple’

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Spurs boss Harry Redknapp and former Sheffield Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric were like ‘The Odd Couple’ at Portsmouth FC, a court heard.

Closing the case for Mandaric’s defence, a barrister compared the pair to Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau’s characters in the US comedy.

He also claimed prosecution accusations over payments from Mandaric to Redknapp were ‘paper thin’.

Redknapp, 64, and Mandaric, 73, deny cheating the public revenue over cash paid into a Monaco bank account.

Delivering his closing speech for Mandaric at Southwark Crown Court, Lord Macdonald said the prosecution was ‘really flailing’.

He said it was ‘desperate stuff’ to suggest Mandaric might have intended the payments as a reward for Portsmouth beating Manchester United.

It also ‘simply doesn’t make sense’ that the first payment was a bonus for the £3m profit made over the sale of Peter Crouch from Portsmouth to Aston Villa, Lord Macdonald added.

“We say the evidence against him is hopelessly weak.”

“In Milan Mandaric’s mind this was not money for Crouch, this was Milan Mandaric coming through on money he had promised months before - for a portfolio.”

The allegations relate to when Mr Redknapp, now manager at Tottenham Hotspur, was in charge at Portsmouth.

The first charge of cheating the public revenue alleges that between April 1, 2002 and November 28, 2007 Mr Mandaric paid £93,100 into the Monaco account.

The second charge for the same offence relates to a sum of £96,300 allegedly paid between May 1, 2004 and November 28, 2007.

Judge Anthony Leonard will sum up the evidence today before sending the jury out to consider its verdict.