at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Sir Trevor Brooking has hit back at suggestions he was behind the Football Association's decision not to offer Harry Redknapp the England manager's job.
Redknapp was the favourite to replace Fabio Capello as England's new coach, but the Spurs boss was handed a shock snub as the FA instead opted to appoint West Bromwich Albion manager Roy Hodgson earlier this week.
FA chairman David Bernstein claimed the four-man Club England panel, which included Brooking in his role as director of football development, had chosen Hodgson a month before making their move.
Yet Bernstein offered no explanation why Redknapp, who unlike Hodgson has won a major trophy in England and secured Champions League qualification with Tottenham, was overlooked.
That fuelled reports that the stumbling block for Redknapp was an alleged row with Brooking in 1994, which centred around how Billy Bonds ended up being replaced as West Ham manager.
It has been suggested that Brooking believed Redknapp stabbed Bonds in the back in order to get the West Ham job and had never forgiven him.
However, Brooking, a former West Ham teammate of Bonds and Redknapp, insists that was not the case.
“I've heard the whispers and I've seen one or two things which have been written, and it's just outrageous,” Brooking told the Mail on Sunday.
“That business has got to be, what, nearly 20 years ago, hasn't it? Sure, I wasn't happy at the time, but I made my points then. To suggest I could be so petty is just absurd.
“I've met Harry many times since then and it doesn't even cross my mind. I never give it a thought.
“Listen, if you can bear a grudge for nearly 20 years, then it's time to take a look at yourself. There were a number of candidates discussed and I had no problems with any of them. It wasn't an issue.” – Sapa-AFP