By Chris Wright
After resigning as Portsmouth manager yesterday, it would seem that Avram Grant is all but set to named as the new West Ham manager.
Negotiations are said to be ongoing between the two parties, with final contract details still to be agreed upon, but many sources are speculating that Grant could be installed as Gianfranco Zola’s successor as early as this evening.
The 55-year-old Israeli coach has won wide-spread plaudits for the way he led Pompey last season, reaching the FA Cup final despite having to operate under heavy restrictions brought on by the club’s well-documented financial woes.
In an emotional open letter to the Portsmouth fans placed on the club’s official website, Grant explained his reasons for leaving the south coast club;
“I have been inundated with letters and emails from fans. Many have brought tears to my eyes and take it from me; it takes a lot to do that. I will never forget you, the loyal fans of Pompey who, without a doubt, helped me protect the team under such complex circumstances.
There are very few teams in the world that have fans as passionate and devoted as you are. Seeing you all so proud with your heads held up high is the best reward I can receive.
It has been a great experience to be part of one of the most wonderful occurrences that has happened in the history of British football and also shows that even in the most desperate times, loyalty, devotion, professionalism and passion can be demonstrated. I wish you all the possible success which you genuinely deserve.
Portsmouth has given me a feeling of home away from home. I might be leaving Portsmouth physically, but you cannot take Portsmouth away from me and my heart.
I have informed Andrew [Andronikou] the administrator that if and when the need arises, I will be at his disposal to assist in any way I possibly can.
At this point I would like to mention the good job the administrator is doing, under very difficult circumstances after he received the club from Mr Chernoi and Mr Levy which they had saved from liquidation. Thank you for that.
I can never fully repay the faith and backing I got from the fans, players and staff who gave 100%. I truly thank you all for granting me the opportunity and the privilege to be part of your special city and unique club.”
The West Ham co-owners, David Gold and David Sullivan, had reportedly drawn up a four-man shortlist of names they wanted to take over at the vacant Upton Park helm, including Sam Allardyce (of Blackburn Rovers), Ian Holloway (of Blackpool) and Dave Jones (of Cardiff), but 55-year-old Grant was understood to be their first choice appointment, and it now seems the duo have got their man.