Avram Grant has agreed a deal ‘in principle’ to become the new manager of West Ham United, after resigning as Portsmouth boss yesterday.
Whilst negotiations are still ongoing between the two parties, it is being reported that Grant could be installed as Gianfranco Zola‘s successor by as early as this evening.
The former Chelsea man has won wide-spread acclaim for the way he led Pompey last season, managing to reach the FA Cup final despite being forced to operate under very stringent restrictions.
Grant has explained his decision to leave to the Portsmouth fans by way of an emotionally charged open letter on the club’s official website;
“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.