BBC Sport
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
| Help

Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 16:06 GMT
For whom the chimes toll

By Mandeep Sanghera

Harry Redknapp's denials that a rift between him and chairman Milan Mandaric resulted in his exit from Portsmouth could not have been more emphatic.

But, despite Redknapp insisting he needed a break and his silence had not been bought, there was a heavy air of disbelief around Fratton Park over his explanation.

There are too many coincidences in the row over a director of football and the tears he shed after announcing his departure on Wednesday, along with the success he had at the club, makes it difficult to digest.

It is hard to believe anything but the row over the management structure at Portsmouth resulted in the split with the first signs of a conflict being sparked at the end of last season.

He's 10 years younger than me - what does he need a break for?
Jim Smith

Tempers appeared to start boiling over when assistant manager Jim Smith's future was put in doubt and the idea of a director of football at the south-coast outfit was mooted.

There were fears Redknapp would leave if his "close friend" went but showdown talks looked to have resolved the issue.

Smith stayed and no director of football was appointed - but the truce has proved to be an uneasy peace.

Mandaric appointed a director of football earlier this month and Redknapp's exit has not taken long to follow.

Ironically, Redknapp arrived as director of football in March 2002 before taking over as manager from Graham Rix.

Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric (left) Harry Redknapp (centre) and Jim Smith
The strained relationship between Mandaric, Redknapp and Smith has finally cracked

He led the side to the First Division title and promotion into the Premiership in 2003 and, against most people's predictions, kept the club in the top flight last season.

Pompey finished 13th in their first campaign in the Premiership and were lying 12th this term with one of their four wins coming against Manchester United.

Smith also left the club and his words said more than any when asked if Redknapp needed a break. His response: "He's 10 years younger than me - what does he need a break for?"

The tears spilled by Redknapp also spoke volumes and blotted the veneer of an amicable split.

The club's fans were caught in the middle of the row with a loyalty to both Mandaric for funding their rise and Redknapp for providing them with heady days among the elite of English football.

They will be hoping the managerial change does not signal a downturn in fortunes. That's where Mandaric will have to justify his vision for the club and find a man capable of replacing Redknapp.

Carry on Harry
25 Nov 04 |  Fun and Games

E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport