Grant: the real story

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport - EXCLUSIVE BY SI­MON GRIVER

AVRAM Grant was ap­pointed Di­rec­tor of Foot­ball at Portsmouth de­spite op­po­si­tion from the club’s CEO Peter Stor­rie, the JC un­der­stands.

Re­ports in Is­rael have con­tra­dicted Stor­rie’s claim that man­ager Paul Hart will be solely re­spon­si­ble for team se­lec­tion. Grant will se­lect the side to­gether with Hart and is ex­pected to join him on the touch­line al­though it re­mains un­clear whether the Is­raeli will be in­volved in to­mor­row’s game at Frat­ton Park against Spurs. Grant’s sec­ond spell at the club has been de­layed by work-per­mit red tape.

Be­fore con­firm­ing his re­turn to the Premier League, Grant was linked with a move to the Amer­i­can MLS where he was in ne­go­ti­a­tions to man­age the New York Red Bulls. But the lure of a £950,000-a-year con­tract and the chance of be­ing Hart’s long-term suc­ces­sor was too much to re­sist.

Ac­cord­ing to sources close to Grant, he has re­turned to the top flight not for fi­nan­cial rea­sons but to prove him­self as a world-class man­ager. He has tar­geted Portsmouth, where he was di­rec­tor of foot­ball in 2007, as the club most likely to ap­point him man­ager. Un­til last week Stor­rie had suc­cess­fully blocked his re­turn.

Failed at­tempts to bring in Sven Go­ran Eriks­son and Alan Cur­bish­ley, rather than reap­point Grant, saw Stor­rie even­tu­ally per­suade for­mer owner Alexan­dre Gay­damak first to pro­mote Tony Adams and then Hart.

Su­per-agent Pini Za­havi, who en­gi­neered the lat­est takeover of Portsmouth by Ali Al Faraj, per­suaded the Saudi Ara­bian that Grant is the man to lead the club. They had wanted to in­stall Grant im­me­di­ately but Stor­rie was op­posed and used Portsmouth’s win at Wolves, af­ter seven league de­feats, to buy more time for Hart.

Stor­rie, who had been CEO at West Ham when Harry Red­knapp was man­ager and who brought Red­knapp with him to Portsmouth, has re­mained at the club since Red­knapp left, and is pop­u­lar with the fans. But as the Al Faraj ad­min­is­tra­tion takes con­trol,

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