South coast pantomime

The consequences of the sacking of Alain Perrin at Portsmouth are threatening to assume farcical proportions. As soon as number one target Neil Warnock received permission to talk to the Premiership strugglers, the Sheffield United boss decided to stay at Bramall Lane. Incredibly Pompey chairman Milan Mandaric then turned to Harry Redknapp; yes, the Harry Redknapp who walked out of Fratton Park in November 2004 after almost three years in charge, having found the appointment of Velimir Zajec as director of football over his head, as indigestible.

Zajec, like Perrin, is history, as are eight previous managers at Portsmouth over the past eight years – Alan Ball, Tony Pullin, Steve Claridge and Graham Rix to name but a few. Redknapp is currently working for rivals Southampton just down the coast – a fact that does not seem to affect the situation. Saints supremo Rupert Lowe initially blocked the approach, but made the same mistake as Mandaric in placing Clive Woodward in front of Redknapp’s nose – Lowe has now demanded 450,000 euro compensation should his manager walk, and has Dennis Wise in reserve to step up into the player-manager role.

At the same time Mandaric is covering his bases by bringing Ranger’s Alex McLeish, Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez and ex-Republic boss Brian Kerr into the equation – can the prospect of taking over a sinking ship ever have been less enticing, even at 1.5 million euros a year? Graeme Souness might think so, as may David O’Leary: this past weekend’s clash between crisis-hit clubs Newcastle and Aston Villa could well have seen either man clutching his P45! While these two fought out a stalemate, “Harry” walked out at Southampton shortly before Saturday’s game against Burnley, claiming Pompey was his ‘spiritual home’. The saga continues…