Print and go back ESPNsoccernet: England Soccernet Print

Thursday, January 10, 2008
Pompey determined to keep Redknapp

Portsmouth tonight signalled their intention to hang on to manager Harry Redknapp amid speculation that he is top of Newcastle's list to replace Sam Allardyce.

Pompey moved as Redknapp and Blackburn's Mark Hughes found themselves thrust to the head of the field in the race for the St James' Park hot-seat despite the former West Ham boss insisting that he is happy where he is.

The Magpies have given little indication as to whom they are targeting 24 hours after Allardyce's departure, other than that they are looking for a proven track record, but the South Coast club launched a pre-emptive strike.

In a statement, they said: 'We take it as a compliment that our players and personnel are often linked with some of the top football clubs in this country and indeed abroad. It is a testimony to the quality of their work.

'However, we do feel it necessary to correct some inaccuracies in reports that have surfaced.

'The club has received no approaches for the services of our valued manager Harry Redknapp. He remains as committed as ever to this football club.

'He recently signed a new improved four-year contract with Portsmouth.

'The club has made significant investments over the last two years in both players and infrastructure and the results that are now being enjoyed are the fruits of those investments.

'Last season, the club finished in its highest position for 52 years and this season we are on course to better that. We have recently won nine out of 10 away games, a club record.

'We are in the middle of the busiest time of the season because of a heavy fixture list and the month-long transfer window and as such this speculation is unhelpful.'

Redknapp had earlier insisted there had be no contact from the Tyneside hierarchy and that he was content with his lot at Fratton Park, although that does not necessarily mean the call will not come eventually.

He told the Portsmouth News: 'I really do not know anything about this. I have not spoken to anyone from Newcastle.

'When I saw Sam had left, my immediate thoughts were that Alan Shearer was a certainty to take over.

'There's nothing in my being linked with the job. I had an offer not so long ago to take over at what I consider a massive club but I didn't go.

'I am happy down on the south coast.'

Redknapp's remarks came as Magpies owner Mike Ashley launched his mission to bring the excitement back to St James'.

It is understood Allardyce's fledgling reign came to an end amid concerns at boardroom level not only over the results the 53-year-old had managed during his 24 games in charge, but also the style of football he advocated.

With chairman Chris Mort currently trying to strengthen the current squad in the difficult January transfer market, there were worries too that potential signings could be put off by the manager's approach to the game and the unrest it had caused within the dressing room.

It was amid that climate that Allardyce's turbulent tenure drew to a close last night to spark a frenzy of speculation over his replacement.

But it is clear that whoever becomes the eighth manager to walk through the doors in the space of just 11 years, he will be expected to provide the kind of football served up under the Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson eras.

Having succeeded former Magpie Alan Shearer as a red-hot favourite, Redknapp moved swiftly to the head of the bookmakers' list, and was soon joined by Hughes, while big money was also wagered on Everton's David Moyes.

However, with the Shearer camp playing down the chances of his ascension to the throne and the man himself silent as he enjoyed a winter holiday in Barbados, the field - or at least the pack heading it - was gradually reduced.

Newcastle, of course, turned to Ewood Park in September 2004 after dispensing with Robson's services to recruit Graeme Souness, whose short-lived reign was less than spectacular.

The link with Moyes is intriguing with the Scot also doing an excellent job at Everton, although chairman Bill Kenwright this afternoon insisted he had been assured by Ashley that there would be no approach.

On Tyneside's streets, fans have been quick to voice their support for a Shearer-Kevin Keegan dream team, but there has also been backing for the likes of Martin Jol and Terry Venables with former England boss Steve McClaren being quoted as a long shot.

But sources on Tyneside have hinted that the time is not right for Shearer, and that the club is looking for an experienced manager - and not necessarily a British one - who is currently in work.

An appointment is not thought to be imminent, although Mort is working feverishly behind the scenes both to find a new manager and conduct transfer business - the club has expressed an interest in both Manchester United defender Wes Brown and Arsenal midfielder Lassana Diarra in recent days.

On the field, the focus is Saturday evening's Barclays Premier League clash with United at Old Trafford, for which coach Nigel Pearson will be in charge.

ESPNsoccernet: Help | Media Kit | Contact Us | Site Map | Tools | Jobs at ESPN | Supplier Information | Copyright ©2014 ESPN Internet Ventures.
Terms of Use (Updated 5/6/08), and Privacy Policy and Safety Information/Your California Privacy Rights are applicable to you. All rights reserved.