Tony Adams' reign as Portsmouth manager was coming to an end last night as the club pondered a shortlist of potential replacements with former Chelsea manager Avram Grant the favourite. The former England captain endured his eighth league game without a win on Saturday that leaves Portsmouth in 15th place and looking vulnerable to relegation.
Adams fate appeared to be sealed yesterday when the club's chief executive, Peter Storrie, called senior players yesterday to gauge the feeling of the squad. Adams resigned after the defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday but was talked into withdrawing his resignation. He still has some support from Storrie who was the prime mover behind giving him a two and a half year contract in October when Harry Redknapp left. However, the support from owner Alexandre Gaydamak is not thought to be quite so enthusiastic.
David James and Sol Campbell are understood to have serious reservations about Adams' suitability as manager. Adams did himself few favours in the aftermath of the defeat at Fulham – Portsmouth have not won in the league since November – when he admitted that he had argued with his own players in the dressing room after the match. Portsmouth play Liverpool next weekend just one point above the relegation zone.
Decisions such as playing new loan signing Jermaine Pennant in a central role, instead of his favoured right wing position, as well as pairing Kanu with Peter Crouch, have caused Adams' judgement to be questioned. Apart from those notable exceptions, the players are broadly supportive of Adams.
Of those being considered to take over the club, Grant, the former Chelsea manager, is the favourite. He worked at Fratton Park with Harry Redknapp when he was controversially parked there in a nominal director of football role before being given the Chelsea job. Despite having talks over a number of jobs, including the Bulgaria national team and Red Star Belgrade, he is still out of work.
As well as Grant, Peter Reid and Graeme Souness have also been considered. Reid is now the Thailand coach but has been angling for a return to England. Graeme Souness has also been out of work since being sacked by Newcastle in 2006. The agent Pini Zahavi is expected to play a crucial role in the appointment of the new Portsmouth manager.
Zahavi has been helping Gaydamak look for potential buyers for the club which has been for sale since the autumn – the Russian businessman said in December that he was interested in selling. The club are still expected to press ahead with the £7m signing of Giovani dos Santos, the Mexican 19-year-old who has failed to make any impact at Tottenham. This month Adams has signed Hayden Mullins from West Ham and Pele – full name Vitor Hugo Gomes Passos – a 21-year-old from Porto.
The Bayer Leverkusen striker Theofanis Gekas last night signed for Portsmouth on loan until the end of the season, with the club confident that they can get a work permit for the Greek international. The 28-year-old will sign on permanent deal if he impresses. Adams said: "His goalscoring record is fantastic and he's always looking to score goals. He plays for the Greek national team and recently came on against Italy and scored.
“A couple of years ago he was the highest scorer in the Bundesliga. The Bundesliga is a fantastic league, so that's not an easy feat. He's a player that I think can come in and do really well straight away. He's certainly hungry to do well and hopefully he can hit the ground running."Reuse content