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Redknapp starts Pompey rescue mission

Former Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp has announced he will speak with Nwankwo Kanu in a bid to help save the club.

The Fratton Park outfit could face extinction with administrator Trevor Birch setting a deadline of August 10 for the club to solve their chronic financial problems.

Kanu is claiming he is owed 3 million pounds in unpaid wages but Redknapp, who brought the Nigerian striker to the club in 2006, will attempt to persuade him to compromise on a settlement.

Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim is in a similar situation and claims he is owed 2.5 million pounds from the club.

“I will be ringing Kanu today to see if there is anything I can do,” Redknapp told ESPN. “I signed him for Portsmouth on a one-year contract and Tony Adams told me: ‘You must be mad, he is finished’. Six years later, he is still there.

“In the case of Tal Ben Haim, if players have a contract and are owed money, you can see why they think they should get it. But if the club closes down they won’t get a penny. They need to think hard about that.”

The out-of-work coach also spoke of his desire to see an injection of cash into Portsmouth, the club he led to FA Cup success in 2008.

“Portsmouth has got to be saved,” he said. “It’s a great club with great traditions. It would be a disaster if this club went out of business.

“It has great fans to the extent that, if you live in Portsmouth, you are a Portsmouth supporter. If you walk around in that town, you don’t see people wearing Manchester United or Arsenal shirts.

“It is soul-destroying to see them in this predicament, and there must be a group of people out there or someone who could take over the club so cheaply and save them.

“I would love to see someone do that. Surely it cannot happen that Portsmouth go out of business. If someone did come in, the club could be resurrected quickly. It wouldn’t take a lot to get it going again.”

Redknapp also reminisced of Milan Mandaric’s reign as the club’s owner, claiming Portsmouth have ‘spiralled out of control’ since his exit in 2006.

“I remember when Milan came in and bought the club all those years ago, they were looking to lock the gates then and go into administration – but he turned it all around and made it work,” he said.

“When he sold the club, it spiralled out of control. Balram Chainrai put a lot of money in, but he must think it is the worst investment he ever made in his life.

“But now it just needs some people who understand football and who can work with the players.”

Wed 25 July, 2012
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