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Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Struggling Portsmouth part company with boss Paul Hart

Paul Hart
Hart leaves after a tumultuous spell at Fratton Park

Portsmouth manager Paul Hart has left the Premier League's basement club with immediate effect.

The club said the decision to relieve him of his duties had been "made reluctantly based on results that leave Pompey at the bottom of the league".

Hart, 56, was offered a role as technical director responsible for players aged 18-21, but declined it.

Coaches Paul Groves and Ian Woan take temporary charge, with director of football Avram Grant tipped to be boss.

Former Chelsea boss Grant, 54, returned to Pompey in October, but the Israeli is currently awaiting a work permit and has yet to formally take up his duties.

Pompey expect the permit to be processed within the next few days.

Grant worked in a similar role previously at Fratton Park before joining the Stamford Bridge club in the same capacity.

He then succeeded Jose Mourinho and guided Chelsea to the Champions League final where they lost on penalties to Manchester United.

Darren Ferguson, who recently left his post as Peterborough manager, was installed as 2/1 favourite to succeed Hart late on Tuesday with Grant at 5/2 second favourite.

Chief executive Peter Storrie admitted Hart had "worked under very difficult circumstances with the financial restrictions the club has faced since he took over.

"However, the board feels that the team should have accrued more points to date and that we need a new man in charge to ensure Premier League survival.

"The board would like to thank Paul for his work not only in keeping the club in the Premier League last season but also for his time in charge of youth development.

"Paul is a man of great dignity and we hoped he would stay and help us develop younger players on the fringes of the first team.

"We are genuinely sad to see him leave. Everyone at the club wishes him well for the future."

Hart stepped up from his position as director of youth operations to become caretaker manager following the sacking of Tony Adams in February 2009.

He kept Portsmouth in the top flight last season and was appointed on a permanent basis in July.


But Portsmouth lost several high-profile players over the summer, and the team made a poor start to the current campaign.

However, Hart was working under severe financial restraints due to uncertainty over the club's ownership which left it on the verge of going into administration.

Arab businessman Sulaiman Al Fahim purchased Portsmouth in August but failed to deliver fresh investment, with the players' wages not paid on time in September.

He then sold his majority shareholding to Saudi tycoon Ali Al Faraj in October, but Hart's hopes for stability were then hit by the Premier League placing a transfer embargo on Pompey over debts owed to other clubs.

Portsmouth have three consecutive home matches ahead, with Manchester United's visit on Saturday followed by a Carling Cup clash with Aston Villa on Tuesday and a league tussle with Burnley four days later.

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see also
Hart not worried by transfer ban
29 Oct 09 |  Portsmouth
Hart not consulted on Grant role
15 Oct 09 |  Portsmouth
Grant seals return to Portsmouth
07 Oct 09 |  Portsmouth
Saudi completes Pompey takeover
06 Oct 09 |  Portsmouth
Hart gives players salary pledge
03 Oct 09 |  Portsmouth
Portsmouth owner 'to inject 50m'
25 Sep 09 |  Portsmouth
Pompey 'just avoided going under'
02 Sep 09 |  Portsmouth
Pompey begin new manager search
10 Feb 09 |  Portsmouth

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