Redknapp rewarded for miraculous escape

In one of the greatest escape acts in top-flight history, Redknapp saved Pompey from the drop after they were nine points from safety in March. Redknapp ‘ named Manager of the Month for May ‘ inspired an incredible upturn in form. Pompey took 20 points from a possible 27 to secure their topflight status in the penultimate game of the season at Wigan. Chairman Milan Mandaric met Redknapp (59) last week to outline the club’s proposal, which has the full backing of the board and co-owner Alexandre Gaydamak. Mandaric said: “We want longevity and continuity, not a short-term fix for the club, and that is why we are discussing terms on a long-term deal with Harry.” Zimbabwe international striker Benjani Mwaruwari also played a crucial role, especially towards the end of the season, to ensure Pompey’s survival in the Premiership. Henry now ’10m target for two clubs Thierry Henry is now a ’10 million target for AC Milan as well as Barcelona. The future of the 28-year-old striker is still unresolved, although he has declared he will make a decision about Arsenal’s contract offer before France begin their World Cup programme. Arsenal’s participation in the Champions League next season will be a critical factor in Henry’s decision. He will be 29 in August and if Arsenal lose to Barcelona in the Champions League final next week, a move to Milan will appear even more attractive. Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti is a confirmed Henry admirer and knows that with just one year left on his current deal, Henry could cost as little as ’10m. McClaren is Becks’ Mr Perfect David Beckham insists Steve McClaren is the perfect choice to replace Sven Goran Eriksson. McClaren will take over from Eriksson after the World Cup and Beckham is confident the Football Association have appointed the best man for the job. England skipper Becks said: “I have always said Steve is the best coach I have ever had. If you ask all of the players who have worked with him, they will say he is one of the best. “I think it is good for the players and good for the team. A lot of people are happy because he is English.” United officials blocked FA doctor Manchester United officials blocked the England team doctor from assessing Wayne Rooney’s injury at Stamford Bridge last week. Dr Leif Sward attended the game and looked on in horror when England’s star player was carried from the field after 82 minutes. After the match Sward made his way to the visitors’ dressing room to enquire about Rooney’s injury. But after he announced himself to the two United security men posted on the dressing room door a message was taken inside asking if the FA’s medical chief could enter. Sward’s request was politely refused. He was told: “We have everything in hand.” Mike Stone, United’s club doctor, attends all their games and was in charge of supervising Rooney’s diagnosis and treatment. Stand up and be counted: Fergie Sir Alex Ferguson has challenged David Beckham to stand up and be counted after urging the nation not to blame Wayne Rooney’s absence if England’s World Cup bid ends in failure. The Manchester United boss felt that too much expectation had been placed on his ’27 million striker. He called for a reality check even before Rooney suffered the broken metatarsal which will surely keep him out of Sven Goran Eriksson’s team. Now he feels it is time for big names like Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole to finally deliver on their promise. Ferguson said: “I had become worried about the pressure being put on Wayne’s shoulders whenever England’s chances of winning the World Cup were mentioned. Hopefully that emphasis will now change.” Ince wants new deal Paul Ince wants to sign a new contract at Wolves now that Glenn Hoddle has confirmed he will be staying as manager. The former England skipper, 39 in October, wants to help the club win a place in the Premiership. Ince said: “As far as I’m concerned Glenn was always the man for the job. I don’t see any better managers in this League. “My priority is to get another contract, because at the moment my body is feeling OK. There haven’t been any tell-tale signs telling me to pack it in just yet.” FA axe Terry Butcher Terry Butcher has been axed from an elite group of ex-England stars who represent the FA at commercial events. The Motherwell manager was told that he had been ditched just days after he had launched a blistering attack on the FA hierarchy. Butcher said: “I believe I’ve been singled out for speaking my mind and because some people at the FA didn’t like what I said. “I received an awkward phone call from Roger Watson (organiser of the Captains’ Club) to inform me that I had been removed from a list of former national captains who work for the FA.” An FA spokesman confirmed Butcher’s contract was not being renewed but insisted: “That decision has nothing to do with comments Terry has made. We are revamping the Captains’ Club and different players will be used.” League turns down Roeder appeal The Premier League has rejected Newcastle United’s attempts to appoint Glenn Roeder as their permanent manager because of his lack of the necessary coaching qualifications. Yet the door has been left open for the 50-year-old to replace Graeme Souness on a full-time basis, provided Newcastle’s fellow Barclays Premiership clubs do not object. Their case would appear a solid one. Roeder applied for the pro licence course, which is now mandatory for Premiership managers, in 2003 but suffered a significant health scare. Newcastle received dispensation from the Premier League to extend the 12-week limit in which Roeder could operate on a caretaker basis because England were simultaneously searching for a replacement for Sven-Goran Eriksson. Owen refutes claims Michael Owen sought to end speculation this week by emphasising his commitment to Newcastle United and saying that he has no intention of walking away from the club in the summer. The England striker has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave St James’ Park at the end of the season should an offer of ’12 million from another club be forthcoming, but Owen insists he is going nowhere. “I joined Newcastle without the club being in Europe,” he said. “I am committed to the cause. It is hard to show that commitment when you are not playing every week. I’ve said it (my future) will be with Newcastle a million times. I’ve never said anything to the contrary. “I have had a great first season apart from getting injured. I love living here, my child is in school here and I don’t know where people get these rumours from.”

May 2006
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