Date:Monday September 18 2006
With the preliminary findings of the Premier League "bung" enquiry into football corruption due to be revealed on October 2nd, with BBC this week to show a Panorama investigation it has been reported that former Blackburn Rovers Manager Graeme Souness may be revealed as one of the biggest names facing further investigation?
The bung enquiry would be opened following former Rovers striker Mike Newell's claims that agents are killing the game and managers are, and have been for many years accepting payments as part of transfer dealings. The Luton Town Manager would say:
"Have I been offered the chance to take money? Yes, of course I have. And I wouldn't even entertain the idea. Not at all. Never."
"I wouldn't say it is a rarity either. If I was open to it or interested in it, then it would be a regular occurrence, because all I would have to say is 'What's in it for me?"
"Would I know which agents to ring? Well, they ring you. I would be very surprised if any agent wasn't open to that. Absolutely any agent."
These comments would lead to the Football Association contacting Newell to ask him to explain his comments, which he would more than happily do:
"I have no problem with that and have nothing to fear so I'll speak to anybody who wants to speak to me about it."
Despite receiving backing from many fellow managers Newell would obviously receive less support from agents, with one, Jon Smith saying this:
"Mike Newell now needs to put up or shut up. Come out with it all and name names to the relevant authorities."
"Newell can't turn his back now. He needs to say who he has been approached by and what he was offered."
These claims would lead to the opening of the Premier League enquiry, looking into irregular payments in transfer dealings since 1st January 2004. This enquiry would be conducted by an independent bung enquiry headed by former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens.
In the wake of Panorama's investigation into the alleged corruption in football, due to be screened on BBC One on Tuesday evening at 9pm, one such manager, Portsmouth Manager Harry Redknapp would vigorously deny claims of any such wrongdoings, saying:
"My missus might watch it and might even tape it for me, but it doesn't worry me because I know I am absolutely a million percent innocent party in the whole thing."
"I know exactly what has gone on and if I had anything to worry about I wouldn't be sitting here now."
Redknapp would be making reference to a conversation he is alleged to have had with Andy Todd's agent Peter Harrison (also agent to Lucas Neill) about his client Todd, but denies that this was in any way meant as a "tapping up" incident, also adding:
"What really happened is that Todd's agent, Peter Harrison, asked me what I thought about the player."
"I said: 'I like Toddy. I'd have him in my team.` And that was it."
"It was just a quick conversation, not of my making, and the sort of chat managers, directors and agents have all the time."
With Panorama working in a series of undercover sting operations looking to catch out Managers and agents it has been reported that Harrison, caught discussing a number of alleged bung surrounding deals, Sam Allardyce, his agent son Craig and another agent Athole Still, agent to former England Coach Sven Goran Eriksson, are all said to have been caught out.
It has also now been reported (by website soccervoice) that former Rovers boss Graeme Souness could in fact be the biggest name facing further investigation once Stevens' report is presented to the Premier League.
A deal during his time at Ewood involving David Dunn's transfer to Birmingham City in the summer of 2003 is reportedly being looked at in more detail. Also allegedly being looked into is the move that Souness made to bring French International Defender Jean Alain Boumsong to Newcastle United from Glasgow Rangers.
Whilst Manager of Newcastle United the legendary former Liverpool and Scotland International midfielder would say:
"The transfer business is something that the chairman and the chief executive deal with."
"I've never been anywhere near a bung, not even an agent has bought me a cup of tea!"
Please take note that this article in no way highlights my personal views or opinions or that of Vital Football on the subject matter or persons mentioned therein.
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Date:Monday September 18 2006
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