Disgruntled Pompey fans left to fume as their 'god' becomes a Saint

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The Independent Online

Portsmouth fans were in shock yesterday as news came through of Harry Redknapp's move to their bitter rivals, Southampton.

Portsmouth fans were in shock yesterday as news came through of Harry Redknapp's move to their bitter rivals, Southampton.

While earlier in the week supporters were ready to accept Redknapp's departure, yesterday the mood had changed to disbelief. Many concurred with the Portsmouth director Terry Brady, who said before the switch that it would be "the higest betrayal possible".

"He had the team playing the best football I have ever seen at Fratton Park. I don't think he knows what he's done," the chairman of the official Portsmouth supporters' club, Nigel Tresidder, said. "Harry Redknapp was a god to us. He had done so well. But I think he will lose a lot of support, more than he may think."

The speed of the move has left Portsmouth fans staggered, especially after Redknapp had claimed he needed a break from management.

"I wouldn't say two or three weeks is a break," Tresidder said. "He said he left of his own accord - then why is he getting into football again so quickly? There are other things to be asked, I think."

Yesterday's developments at St Mary's also strengthened support for Milan Mandaric. John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood, a supporter legendary around Fratton Park for his name change, said: "The only person that comes out of this with any credit is Milan Mandaric, who genuinely cares about us. [Redknapp] managed the club with the most passionate fans in the country and to go down this road is disgusting - he's left us in the lurch."

Southampton fans have already started to revel in their South Coast rivals' evident discomfort. "There is a bit of smugness," Nick Illingsworth, the chairman of the Southampton Independent Supporters' Association, admitted. "Most Southampton fans would relish the thought of Harry keeping Southampton in the Premiership, while Portsmouth are relegated. But we're all football fans and if Gordon Strachan had gone to Portsmouth, I would have felt sick, so I do sympathise with them a little bit."

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