Grant pays emotional Pompey tribute

02 May 2010 09:44
Avram Grant paid an emotional on-pitch tribute to Portsmouth's fans after Saturday's game at Fratton Park ended with a 3-1 victory over Wolves.

Despite Pompey plunging into administration with debts of around £120million and suffering relegation to the Championship following a nine-point deduction, the Israeli has led his threadbare and injury-affected squad into the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

Grant - who admits he has offers elsewhere - led the Portsmouth players and staff back out onto the pitch after the final whistle to show their appreciation to the fans before addressing the crowd.

"Please Stay Avram" read the banners and, while not giving an indication of his future plans, the Israeli thanked the beleaguered fans for their unwavering support.

"If anyone in the world wants a lesson about passion and commitment, then Fratton Park is the place," he declared.

"They can take points from us, put an embargo on us, but they cannot destroy our spirit - never!

"On May 15, each one of us, players, staff and fans can be very proud to come to Wembley with a sign 'we did it, we did it'."

Aruna Dindane - whose French parent club Lens have agreed to let him play in the FA Cup final without triggering an appearance-related clause - fired the home side ahead on 20 minutes, before Kevin Doyle bundled home an equaliser.

However, Pompey went into half-time ahead following John Utaka's 20-yard effort and a well-crafted third from Michael Brown after 67 minutes sealed victory.

Grant maintained off-field matters must be resolved before he will be able to decide whether to remain in charge next season.

"I love this club, and it will always stay in my heart, but we need to know first what the future of the club will be. My own future is not so important," he said.

"But nobody knows, the administrator is trying to do his job and we will have to wait and see if we can be in a position to build the club again from the beginning.

"I have had offers, but did not sign for anybody. I am waiting first to see what happens with this club.

"This club needs a new direction and stability.

"Hopefully in two weeks, we will know what is going to happen."

Grant paid tribute to his players.

"It was very important in our last game to show what we have all season - that if it was only football, there would be no doubt we could stay in the league," he said.

"We did not get an equal chance, but have showed the true spirit of football."

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy accepted his side had not produced the level of performance of recent weeks, which was understandable given they had already secured their top-flight status.

"It was a performance below what we have been producing," he said.

"While I did not want to come here and lose, I think I can forgive the players a bit of a dip in performance as they have been as tight as piano wire for 36 games, being really solid and committed.

"You only have to be a couple of per cent down on the things you do, and that is what we were today.

"Saying that, we could have won 7-5, because we missed some outrageous chances, but that has been our downfall all season, not scoring enough goals.

"The lads, though, have been terrific and while we have slipped up here, maybe we can now get back on form next week, because we want to finish on a high at home against Sunderland."

Source: Team_Talk