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Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Portsmouth appoint Avram Grant as new manager

New Portsmouth manager Avram Grant
Grant was already at Fratton Park as director of football

Former Chelsea boss Avram Grant has been appointed Portsmouth manager after Paul Hart was relieved of the role.

The 54-year-old Israeli was already at the club in his second spell working as director of football.

He will take charge of Saturday's home game with Manchester United in that role as his work permit needs to be changed before he can become manager.

"He knows the club, players and set-up so it was logical to make him manager," said chief executive Peter Storrie.

Grant first came to Fratton Park as technical director in June 2007 but was soon snapped up by Chelsea and within months became coach at Stamford Bridge after Jose Mourinho left the Blues.


In the 2007/2008 season, Grant guided Chelsea to second place in the Premier League and also to the Champions League final, where the Blues lost on penalties to Manchester United and which turned out to be his last game in charge.

Portsmouth are currently bottom of the Premier League, with only seven points from their 13 games so far.

"Avram is a very experienced and respected manager who has managed at the highest level," added Storrie.

"The board believes he is the man to help steer the club out of the relegation zone.

"He will take charge of training on Friday alongside first-team coaches Paul Groves and Ian Woan."

Pompey executive director Mark Jacob said: "The decision's been made by the board and we're moving forward now.

"Everyone's very positive about us staving off relegation. He (Avram) knows the club intimately."

Hart was offered the chance to return to his old post of working in youth development, but he declined.

"I would like at this time to thank all of the supporters and players for the backing they have given during my time at Portsmouth Football Club," Hart said in a statement.

"The speed of recent events, though, has been somewhat surprising and I am naturally disappointed not to be able to continue in the role (of manager) at Portsmouth Football Club.

"Unfortunately I do not believe that having been the manager of Portsmouth Football Club I will be able to return to the youth-team role that has been offered to me by the club and it is with deep regret that my time with Portsmouth Football Club has now come to an end.

"However, I look forward to a return to management in the near future."

Hart, who was director of youth operations before replacing the sacked Tony Adams as manager in February 2009, was in charge during a particularly turbulent part of Portsmouth's history.

He kept them up last season but lost several high-profile players such as Peter Crouch and Glen Johnson over the summer, and this season the club's ownership has been in doubt.

Arab businessman Sulaiman Al Fahim bought the club from Alexander Gaydamak in August, but failed to come up with fresh investment, leading to a situation where players' wages were not paid on time in September.

In October Al Fahim sold his majority shareholding in the club to Saudi tycoon Ali Al Faraj, but any hopes Hart may have had of this making his job easier were hit when the Premier League imposed a transfer embargo on the club over debts owed to other clubs.

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see also
Portsmouth part company with Hart
24 Nov 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
Portsmouth owner 'to inject 50m'
25 Sep 09 |  Portsmouth
Pompey 'just avoided going under'
02 Sep 09 |  Portsmouth

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