Al Faraj promises Portsmouth stability

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The Independent Online

New Portsmouth owner Ali Al Faraj has vowed to bring stability to the Barclays Premier League club following the appointment of Avram Grant as director of football.

Former Chelsea manager Grant yesterday signed a two-year deal with the south-coast club following the Saudi businessman's takeover at Fratton Park.

Chief executive Peter Storrie revealed yesterday that Al Faraj handpicked Grant for the position he formerly occupied during Harry Redknapp's managerial tenure.

"Our aim is to put a stable foundation in place in all aspects of the business, beginning with the financial restructuring of the club," Al Faraj told www.pompeyfc.co.uk.

"Once this is in place we can assess our approach to building a much-needed new training ground and redeveloping Fratton Park.

"In order to do this we need to full co-operation and understanding of various parties while we come to terms with the ongoing issues of the club's business and financial commitments.

"We are appointing a professional team to review all aspects of the club, working alongside chief executive officer Peter Storrie. There will also be a restructuring of the board.

"It is well-documented that we initially wanted to take over the running of the club two months ago. This would have enabled us to capitalised on the summer transfer window and help provide finance to strengthen the squad. Unfortunately we were unable to do so and that was a wasted opportunity.

"However, the players brought in at the 11th hour, along with those already at the club, have been tremendous and shown a great spirit and unity. And that is great credit to them and Paul Hart and his coaching team."

Pompey keeper David James has backed the appointment of Grant.

"I love Avram, he's a great guy," said James at a press conference ahead of England's World Cup qualifier in Ukraine on Saturday.

"When I first joined the club he was there and he was very active in preparation for matches. He's a very wise man; his football knowledge is immense.

"It's a very good move."

James is hopeful Grant's arrival and the takeover by Al Faraj will bring some much-needed stability to the club.

"The non-pay issue was not good," he added. "The people who needed to get paid got paid but it was more the bigger picture. Now we've got our first win and our first clean sheet, it's a much happier place."

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