On this day: Al Fahim to decide Pompey boss' future

Sulaiman Al Fahim, left, with Peter Storrie
Sulaiman Al Fahim, left, with Peter Storrie
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On this day in 2009, Sulaiman Al Fahim flew into the country to decide the future of manager Paul Hart after Pompey’s new billionaire owner ruled out a move for Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The Blues’ prospective new owner arrived in London the night before and was set to arrive on the south coast for discussions with Hart, executive chairman Peter Storrie and the club’s coaching staff.

Paul Hart

Paul Hart

As Al Fahim set about his transformation of Pompey, the manager’s position was among the first of his decisions, after he denied former England boss Eriksson was among the top targets to take the reins at Fratton Park.

Speaking at a press conference in Abu Dhabi before leaving the UAE for the UK, Al Fahim said: ‘I am going to England, London.

‘On Friday I will be in Portsmouth to talk to them.

‘I am meeting officials in Portsmouth, the manager and the coaches.’

While Al Fahim laughed off suggestions that former Pompey boss Harry Redknapp was lined up for return to the club, he denied Eriksson was a target to become manager.

Al Fahim said: ‘He (Eriksson) is not on the shortlist. But nothing is finalised yet.’

Having steered the club away from relegation in the 2008-09 season, Hart appeared to be favourite to remain in charge of the club.

But the fact Al Fahim had already begun assessing potential new managerial candidates suggested that Hart was unlikely to be handed the job when the takeover would be completed.

He added: ‘We are waiting for final approval (of the takeover) from the Premier League.

‘We are going ahead with the deal. It is a two-phase deal.

‘The first agreement, which has already been signed, gives both parties the right to do due diligence.

‘The second agreement is the final one. Before summer we will close the deal.

‘We are looking at hiring talented English players and I am interested in one UAE national player who is very talented.’