x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Grant returns to Portsmouth

Avram Grant has returned to Premier League club Portsmouth as technical director of the struggling south coast side.

LONDON // Avram Grant has returned to Premier League club Portsmouth as the technical director of the struggling south coast side. The 54 year old, who replaced Jose Mourinho as Chelsea manager in September 2007 before being sacked the following May, was the technical director at Portsmouth from June 2006 to July 2007. "I am happy to return to the best league in the world, the English league," Grant told Israeli media, adding he had a signed a three-year contract.

Grant is the club's new owner, Saudi Arabian Ali al Faraj's, who bought Dubai-based businessman Sulaiman al Fahim's 90 per cent stake in the club, first major appointment at the club. The Portsmouth and England goalkeeper David James welcomed the news. "I love Avram, he's a great guy," James said at an England news conference ahead of Saturday's World Cup qualifying game in Ukraine. "When I first joined the club he was there and he was very active in preparation for matches. He's a very wise man. His football knowledge is immense. It's a very good move." James said the arrival of al Faraj as the new owner would bring financial stability to the cash-strapped club, which was unable to pay the players' wages on time last week. "The non-pay issue was not good," he added. "The people who needed to get paid got paid but it was more the bigger picture. Now we've got our first win and our first clean sheet, it's a much happier place." The team are bottom of the league having lost their opening seven matches although they collected their first points at the weekend with a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

* With Agencies