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Oct 28, 2008

Adams unveiled as new Pompey boss

Portsmouth have confirmed Tony Adams as their new manager following Harry Redknapp's departure for Tottenham Hotspur.

Adams, who had been Redknapp's assistant for the last two years, has been given a two-year contract at the south coast club. The former Arsenal and England skipper was in temporary charge alongside Joe Jordan for Sunday's 1-1 draw with Fulham.

At his unveiling at Fratton Park Adams said: "It's fantastic. I'm very honoured, it's a great opportunity and one I would be mad to turn down.

"I am going to take this opportunity and risk, because Harry's done a fantastic job for this club and is a hard act to follow. But I think it is my time, I think I am ready.

"It's the best job in the world. I'm scared to bits, of course, but another bit of me is really excited. I couldn't sleep last night."

The 42-year-old former centre-back revealed he spoke to Arsene Wenger, his old boss at Arsenal, for advice before accepting the position at Fratton Park.

He said: "I spoke to Arsene last night for advice and he said 'welcome to hell'. I said 'are you scared? Because I'm coming for you!'''

Adams' only previously managerial experience came with Wycombe Wanderers between 2003/04. The Chairboys were relegated after he took over in November 2003, though they were already marooned at the foot of the table when he arrived. Despite a good start to the 2004/05 League Two season their form dipped and he resigned after just 12 months in charge.

Before joining Pompey as Redknapp's assistant, Adams spent time in Dutch football. Firstly he was at Feyenoord as youth coach for six months before spending two weeks at FC Utrecht. And Adams' believes he has learned a lot since his torrid time at Wanderers.

"At Wycombe my job was to save the club - they were losing £6,000 a week at the time but this is a different ball game," he said.

"It was the right time to move on from there, I went to Feyenoord and that was a great learning curve. As it was in my playing days under Arsene Wenger, Bobby Robson, Terry Venables and all the great managers I've played under."

"This is the next step for me, so here I am,'' the new Portsmouth manager said.

Rumours of financial worries at Portsmouth has led to much speculation about a player exodus in the January transfer window - and Adams insisted he only wants players who are commited to the club.

He said: "I've never been the players' mate since I started work here two and a half years ago with Harry. I'm Billy No-Mates actually but I speak to the players and it is not a question of them wanting to go anywhere.

"None of them have come to me but if they want to go I will let them go.

"I want people who want to play for Portsmouth. Absolutely. It would be the case wherever. The manager at Arsenal would be no different. If you said to him you didn't want to play for Arsenal he would let you go.

"You've got to have players who are happy and want to play for the football club 100%. That's got to be crystal clear. It's no good having players who don't want to play for you. It does you no good in the end. That's my experience."

Adams does not expect the Portsmouth hierarchy to order the sale of key players to fend off the effects of the credit crunch.

He said: "If they were going to get rid of all my players I would have to go and get another job. They would cut my throat if they do that, if they sold the best players. I haven't got a chance then, have I."

Executive chairman Peter Storrie was reluctant to talk about the financial side of things at Fratton Park, adding: "I said all I'm going to say about finances the other day, it's a boring, boring subject.

"The club is fine, we're moving on, the owner (Alexandre Gaydamak) is here and he continues to put money into the club.

"If Tony wants to sell then we'll sell and reinvest that money - and the fans are all aware of the situation.

Former Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce and former Chelsea chief Avram Grant - who went to Stamford Bridge from the job of technical director at Fratton Park - were also among the candidates to take over from Redknapp.

However, Redknapp himself backed Adams to take charge of the club and Storrie revealed that the fans positive reaction on Sunday also influenced the board's decison to appoint Adams.

Storrie said: "I know we said we'd take our time a little bit but we had a think about it, had a chat with Tony and we feel he's done a tremendous job here and thoroughly deserves this opportunity to manage the club.

"He's not only popular among the board and people working at the club, but as was shown on Sunday, it's a popular decision for the supporters."

Adams, who is believed to have made it known to close friends that he would walk out of Portsmouth if he was not given the the top job, would not dismiss rumours that former Arsenal colleague Martin Keown would be brought in as his assistant but also insisted he is desperate to keep first team coach Jordan at the club.

"I'll be doing everything I can to keep Joe at this club, he's a fantastic man,'' Adams said.

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