Harry Redknapp To Help Portsmouth FC
Harry Redknapp has revealed that he will attempt to help save his former club Portsmouth from being shut down.
The npower League One outfit have been set a deadline of August 10 by administrator Trevor Birch to have their finances in order or face going out of business.
And ex-Pompey manager Redknapp plans to speak to Nwankwo Kanu, who has lodged a claim for £3million in pay, to see if he can persuade the former Arsenal and Portsmouth striker to compromise with the club.
He told ESPN: ''I will be ringing Kanu today to see if there is anything I can do. 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.''
Defender Tal Ben Haim is also owed a similar amount in wages and Redknapp added:
''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.''
Redknapp spent five seasons at Fratton Park between 2002 and 2008, guiding the club to a momentous FA Cup win in 2008.
''Portsmouth has got to be saved. It's a great club with great traditions,'' the 65-year-old continued, ''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.
''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.
''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.''
Eight senior players were understood to be in disagreement over unpaid salaries, although Luke Varney has since joined Leeds.
Supporters group SOS Pompey handed over an open letter to the players at the club's training ground earlier this week in a bid to persuade them to compromise on their wages and Birch has said former owner Balram Chainrai could pull out of a proposed deal to buy the club if more players are not moved on.
And Birch told ESPN Soccernet: "Everybody, including the players, have been served notice that the club will close down on August 10."
Defender Tal Ben Haim and striker Kanu are among the players owed significant wages, with both players reportedly claiming around £3million in unpaid salary.
Birch said. "The only way the club can be saved is if the players accept compromise deals.
"The Football League are in constant touch and know the situation, the PFA are also aware of it and are doing all they can to help.
"If the new owner does not take over the liabilities and guarantee £10million to football creditors then the Football League will not transfer its share and the club will go under.
"To save the club we are frantically trying to negotiate with players such as Kanu and Tal (Ben) Haim. We have offered Tal (Ben) Haim a substantial compromise which he has turned down, so it is difficult to negotiate.
"Perhaps he is playing a game of bluff. Perhaps he thinks we are bluffing that the new owner will save the club and still pay him or accept his liabilities going forward.
"We are now reaching a critical time, time is running out. I can only hope by serving notice that the club will shut down on August 10, that this will concentrate people's minds."
Pompey are due to face Plymouth in the Capital One Cup on August 14 before starting their npower League One campaign - for which they will face a 10-point deduction - against south coast rivals Bournemouth four days later at Fratton Park.