Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp will hold talks with his chairman Milan Mandaric today after a row over the future of assistant manager Jim Smith, left the former West Ham boss on the brink of walking out on the club.
Redknapp says Mandaric wanted Smith to leave while the chairman insists it was the the manager himself who said he did not need his assistant.
Redknapp told the BBC on Friday: “It’s a dirty trick. I’ve come out and supported Jim, and now it looks like I’ll lose a job I’ve loved over it.”
“It’s the last game of the season against Middlesbrough on Saturday and the fans have been disappointed with the possibility of Jim leaving.
Milan’s probably realised support’s against him, and when he is backed into a corner he’s come out with this.”
The former West Ham United and Bournemouth manager said he would not walk out, though, on the south coast club he has come to love after taking charge in March 2002 following a spell as director of football.
Meanwhile, Mandaric responded: “I’d like to make it clear that the thought of bringing in a new coach to replace Jim Smith was Harry’s idea. Harry told me he didn’t want to use Jim’s services as they weren’t helpful.”
He told BBC Radio 4: “I tried to protect Harry and not go public but he said this in an official meeting in the boardroom in front of others, including the chief executive.
“Harry said he could do without Jim and really didn’t need him. He said he would like to keep him for the rest of the season because he was doing this favour for Jim.
“That is not a good reason to keep somebody. He told me he could do without him and even said he was useless.”
But Mandaric’s comments infuriated Redknapp.
“I might look stupid, but I’m not that silly,” Redknapp told Sky Sports.
“If it was my idea why would I have come out and had a fight with the chairman for five days over it?
“You can throw any kind of dirt you want at me but to come out and say it was my idea to get rid of Jim, I just find incredible,”
“I’m very angry today with what’s come out. I find it disgusting and so does Jim.”