Football: Redknapp threatens to resign: New West Ham manager doubts his ability to cope with the atmosphere after departure of Bonds

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The Independent Online
FUSES rather than bubbles were being blown at Upton Park yesterday when Harry Redknapp threatened to resign as manager of West Ham as soon as his appointment was confirmed.

As support mounted for Redknapp's predecessor and close friend, Billy Bonds, who resigned rather than be fobbed off with a paid place on the board, the eighth manager in the club's history was clearly distraught at the invidious position in which he now finds himself.

'I have never felt so bad about anything in my life,' Redknapp said. 'The way I feel at the moment I am going to pack it in. The truth is I pleaded with Bill to stay. I wanted things to continue as they were. But Bill had had enough. He would not be budged. I can't go on in this job knowing that people might think I have stitched Billy up. How am I going to look the players in the eye?'

The West Ham board decided to take action after Bournemouth had offered Redknapp a financial stake in the club he managed for nine years in addition to inviting him to resume his former position at Dean Court. 'I want the truth to be told because I have never felt so bad in my life,' he added. 'My friendship with Bill is worth more than anything to me.'

West Ham were adamant that Bonds' decision was based on his disenchantment with developments at the club, whereupon Bonds contradicted this, insisting that he had been left with no option but to step down.

One Upton Park alumnus, Trevor Brooking, reinforced this view, saying: 'You have to be very disappointed at the way things have been handled. Bill has been successful as a manager. I don't believe the club when they say that if Harry had gone then Bill would have followed. The only reason Bill has gone is because of the reshuffle the board planned.'

AEK Athens may face Uefa sanctions in the wake of their supporters' behaviour prior to and during Wednesday night's European Cup preliminary round first- leg victory over Rangers. Greek fans threw missiles at the Rangers team bus upon its arrival at the Nikos Goumas stadium, and two Uefa observers were in attendance as rocket-type flares were fired in the direction of the 1,000-odd Rangers followers. Rangers said they would not be reporting their hosts for the two bottles thrown at players as they entered the stadium.

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