Redknapp quits at Pompey

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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp has resigned as manager of Portsmouth after days of speculation about his future, maintaining it was his decision to quit.

Harry Redknapp has resigned as manager of Portsmouth after days of speculation about his future, maintaining it was his decision to quit.

Under his two-and-a-half year tenure, the south coast club were transformed from First Division also-rans into an established side in the Barclays Premiership.

However, Redknapp's position - and that of his assistant Jim Smith - became increasingly uncomfortable over recent months, beginning with a highly public spat with owner Milan Mandaric towards the end of last season.

The pair claimed to have settled their differences, and Redknapp was named manager of the month for October following an unbeaten run which saw them defeat Manchester United 2-0 at Fratton Park as Pompey moved into the top half of the Premiership.

However, they clashed again following a dip in form and Mandaric's decision to bring in Panathinaikos' director of football Velimir Zajec left Redknapp voicing concerns over his own future.

The former West Ham boss, though, insists there were no external pressure for him to leave his job.

"It was my decision and something I have been thinking about for some time," reflected Redknapp in a statement.

"I made it without any pressure from the chairman or the board.

"I feel very proud of both my own and the club's achievements over the last two-and-a-half years, leaving them in an excellent position.

"I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to the chairman and his board for their support, to the players who have performed outstandingly and all the supporters who have been absolutely fantastic to me and the club during my time at Portsmouth.

"I will now spend a short period of time to rest, recharge my batteries before contemplating my future."

Zajec, the club's executive director, will now oversee first-team affairs for the match at Bolton on Saturday as the search for a new manager begins.

Mandaric is currently out of the country, but issued a statement paying tribute to Redknapp and the legacy he leaves the south coast club.

Redknapp was first brought to Portsmouth as director of football, before replacing Graham Rix as manager in March 2002.

"Harry and I remain great friends," declared Mandaric, who helped bankroll Pompey's rise into the top flight after an absence of 15 years (1988-2003).

"I have tremendous admiration and respect for where he has taken this club. A feat several managers before him could not get near to.

"We have held talks in the past, not about this situation specifically, but were aware for some time of Harry's views.

"He spoke about maybe wanting to recharge his batteries after an exhausting period where he has helped transform this club from First Division strugglers to Premier League survivors."

Mandaric, though, also insisted there was no pressure from the boardroom for the manager to step down.

"People will obviously make their own minds up and say that Harry has stepped down for the reasons that have intensely been speculated over in the media. That could not be further from the truth, but then the speculations were pretty wide of the mark also," he said.

"The truth is that Harry sees this as a perfect opportunity to bow out.

"In a way this has highlighted the importance of having something in place because this club can't rely on individuals, however successful, to carry the club forward. Individuals come and go whilst the club is here forever.

"You sometimes think that things will go on forever the same, but it was when Harry started talking about future plans that we were then confronted with future plans for the club.

"I won't be here forever, Harry certainly had no plans to be and the question is what you do when the inevitable departures of individuals happen.

"That is what we are now building this club for.

"A self sufficient one. One that can withstand the arrival and departures of highly popular and not so popular figures, but continue to function regardless."