Pompey feared Adams departure

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Portsmouth have admitted they had to give sorcerer Harry Redknapp's old job to his apprentice Tony Adams to prevent the former Arsenal star walking out and being snapped up elsewhere.

Adams who was in his third season under Redknapp, having signed a succession of one-year deals while keeping an eye on other likely management positions up and down the league, has been handed a two-and-a-half year deal.

He said: "Harry will be a tough act to follow - but I'm convinced my time is now. I would have been gutted if they hadn't given it to me."

Peter Storrie, who announced his own promotion to become Pompey's chief executive to executive chairman by Franco-Russian owner Alexandre "Sacha" Gaydamak, admitted: "We intended to take our time replacing Harry because his leaving was such a shock.

"But after we spoke and then slept on it we had a reflection on the situation and Sacha said he thought that really we should act quickly if we wanted to appoint Tony and let the club move on.

"He's a very popular choice, the fans were chanting his name when he and Joe Jordan (first-team coach) were in charge against Fulham on Saturday just after Harry left - and we knew he really wanted it.

"If we hadn't given it to him he would probably have upped and left and he's too good for us to let that happen. I think we are all very pleased he's taken it."

After 22 years' distinguished service as a player with Arsenal, his only club, former England captain Adams had an ill-fated spell as Wycombe Wanderers manager in League Two four years ago.

He won only 12 games of 53 at a club where he believed his main job was to save it from financial meltdown by cutting the wages and expenses and he eventually left to take a degree in sports science at university and part-time coaching roles in Holland - one at Rotterdam giants Feyenoord.

But he was persuaded by Redknapp to come into the Premier League after Kevin Bond left the Pompey coaching team for Newcastle and said: "I feel I've been here long enough now to know my next step is back into management and I'm ready for the opportunity. It is fantastic to be named manager of Portsmouth. I'm very excited and can't wait to get going - although I feel I already have."

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Tony Adams

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