We tried to keep Harry - Pompey

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Portsmouth have insisted they did everything in their power to keep Harry Redknapp as manager at Fratton Park and that there was no question of them snatching a £5million compensation offer from Tottenham in order to ease an alleged poor financial position at the south coast club.

In a statement published on the club's official website,, chief executive Peter Storrie said: "It became abundantly clear after Spurs made an official approach for Harry that he wanted to talk to them.

"Harry is a great manager and we, of course, did not want him to leave."

The statement continued: "We tried everything we could to keep him at Portsmouth, but he made it clear that despite the great success he has had here at Fratton Spark, apparently Spurs is one of the only clubs he would consider leaving for.

"We subsequently agreed a substantial compensation package with Spurs although our overwhelming desire would have been to retain the manager."

Storrie pointed to Redknapp's success in his second spell at Fratton Park as the main reason for the club wanting to retain his services.

"When Harry returned to the club (in December 2005 after an ill-fated spell with neighbouring Southampton) he performed a near miracle to keep us in the top flight.

"Since then we have gone on to become an established top-10 Premier League side and last season we won the FA Cup for the first time in nearly 70 years and qualified for Europe for the first time.

"Everyone at the club enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Harry and he has been a very good friend to me personally. The last thing I wanted was to see Harry leave but the lure of Spurs proved too much for him to turn down."

Pompey's owner Alexandre Gaydamak, who last month denied reports that he is looking to sell Pompey because of escalating debts - or at least offload some star players in January - said: "I am personally very disappointed that Harry has left. We did all we could do to keep him. Right up until late on Saturday I was convinced he would still be staying as Portsmouth manager."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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