Redknapp: Nugent was Pompey owner’s choice

Pompey fans sung well past the final whistle in the previous trip to Stevanage in March 2017. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey owner Sacha Gaydamak insisted on the signing of David Nugent – despite Harry Redknapp’s strong misgivings.

Redknapp has revealed the machinations behind the £6m transfer which brought the Preston man to Fratton Park in July 2007.

David Nugent celebrates his goal at Ipswich in the FA Cup. Picture: Steve Reid

David Nugent celebrates his goal at Ipswich in the FA Cup. Picture: Steve Reid

Pompey’s boss remained unconvinced and within a month attempted to offload Nugent to Derby – ironically the club the striker would join nine-and-a-half years later.

Yet the England international stayed with the Blues considerably longer than Redknapp, registering 20 goals in 93 appearances before leaving upon the expiry of his contract in July 2011.

Along the way there was the winner in the FA Cup third-round clash at Ipswich in January 2008, having been introduced off the bench at half-time for Pedro Mendes.

Pompey would capture the FA Cup that season, with Nugent appearing for 21 minutes as a substitute in the Wembley final win over Cardiff 10 years ago on Thursday.

Once I make up my mind about people maybe I don’t change, I just didn’t fancy him that much when he arrived

Harry Redknapp

But Redknapp admits he never wanted to recruit the striker.

He said: ‘Gaydamak really wanted him because he was English – he really wanted an English striker.

‘So I went and met Nugent, I had a meeting with him. I wasn’t convinced but he decided he wanted to come.

‘He’s had a good career and done very well, a good player, but for me I wasn’t sure.

‘Once I make up my mind about people maybe I don’t change, I just didn’t fancy him that much when he arrived.

‘When we won at Ipswich, Nugent came off the bench to score, while Jamo made some great saves.

‘But I wasn’t crazy on Nugent, he would not have been on the top of my list.

‘Sacha didn’t really get me to sign players, it was just that one. Ian Broomfield (chief scout) fancied him as well and had been speaking to him.

‘They said “Go and meet him and have a chat with him”, so I did. Sunderland also wanted him – and then he came back and said he wanted to join Portsmouth.’

By Redknapp’s own admission, his opinion on Nugent’s ability was set, never to be persuaded otherwise. But there was one Pompey player who did manage to change his mind.

He added: ‘I watched Linvoy Primus the year before when Pompey finished fifth from bottom as usual and thought he wasn’t for me.

‘Then he was incredible. He was amazing.’

Our interview with Harry Redknapp is part of our build-up to the 10th anniversary of Pompey’s FA Cup triumph.

Keep checking portsmouth.co.uk throughout the week to read more stories, while there will be a 16-page supplement in Thursday’s News.