SAM ALLARDYCE has emerged as the favourite to become Portsmouth’s new manager after Harry Redknapp’s sudden departure on Saturday night.
The former Bolton and Newcastle manager has been out of work since his sacking at St James Park in January but is believed to be the front runner for the vacancy at Fratton Park. Allardyce’s immediate availability is attractive to Portsmouth, who are keen to move quickly to replace Redknapp in order to avoid letting their season drift.
Avram Grant, the former Chelsea manager, is also being considered. The Israeli is a close personal friend of Portsmouth owner Alexandre Gaydamak and Grant’s arrival could smooth the transition of highly-rated coach Tony Adams into the managerial ranks.
Pompey began their post-Redknapp existence with a frustrating draw yesterday, Clint Dempsey pouncing on Younes Kaboul’s error to level in the 87th minute after Peter Crouch had fired Pompey ahead.
But the focus was inevitably on Pompey’s former leader, with chief executive Peter Storrie admitting he and Gaydamak tried “everything in our power” to persuade him to stay.
Storrie, a personal friend of Redknapp for 14 years – they were together at West Ham – also denied they let the manager of their FA Cup-winning team go so Pompey could collect a €6.3million-plus compensation payment to ease a financial crisis at Fratton Park. He said: “I think we should make it abundantly clear that this is something that was forced upon us. It has not come about by Portsmouth FC. It is something we have had to react to and that is the situation.
“Replacing Harry as manager was not something we had thought of at all at this time yesterday, but of course the job of replacing him starts now.
“Harry will certainly be a tough act to follow and I accept that many players who have signed for us have signed because of him — but that is also true at some other clubs.
“After we had Tottenham’s offer we spoke long and hard with Harry and we were still very hopeful right up to the end that he would stay.
“He kept changing his mind but having known Harry so long I always knew he wanted to manage a top club — a club with a big stadium and fantastic history.
“But no way have we done this to get a transfer fee. It was Harry’s choice and Harry’s alone.”
PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): James 6, Pamarot 6, Kaboul 6, Distin 6, Belhadj 6, Diop 7, Diarra 6 (Mvuemba 83, 5), Hughes 6, Armand Traore 6 (Kranjcar 84, 5), Crouch 7, Defoe 6.
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Utaka, Kanu, Djimi Traore.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Schwarzer 6, Pantsil 6 (Nevland 84, 5), Hughes 6, Hangeland 6, Konchesky 6, Davies 6, Murphy 7, Bullard 7, Gera 5 (Dempsey 71, 5), Johnson 6, Zamora 6.
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Ki-Hyeon, Milsom, Kallio, Baird. Goals: Dempsey 87.
REFEREE: Mark Halsey (Lancashire) 6: Sound performance.
MATCH RATING: ** Unsurprisingly, this was a muted occasion for Pompey.
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