Utaka: Redknapp departure started Portsmouth decline

The former Pompey forward cites the former Tottenham manager's departure as the main reason for the club's slump and refutes speculation over his weekly wage at the time
By Ashish Sharma

Former Portsmouth forward John Utaka has spoken out about events at the club, claiming their demise started with the departure of manager Harry Redknapp.

Redknapp left the club in October 2008 to join Tottenham after winning the FA Cup the previous season, but fortunes were about to turn for the South Coast side.

As the club slid further into financial troubles, they were relegated soon after and have since dropped down to League One, entering administration twice in the last three years.

Utaka told Goal.com: "We started seeing signs that things were not as they used to be.

"There were talks, then Harry [Redknapp] left the club we changed manager maybe four times in a season. There was no more stability, when you change coaches things are not stable anymore.

"As players we kept on playing as that is what we love to do. But then they were talking about deducting points and it wasn't easy."

Utaka, now plying his trade with Montpellier, also denied reports suggestion he was earning £80,000 per week with the financially-stricken club.

"I knew that what they were saying was wrong," he insisted. "But I didn't want to confront anyone as that is not what I do, I want to play football.

"They said I was on 80,000 but that was never the case. If I earned £80,000 a week why would I hide it, I'd be bold and come out and say I earned it."

The Nigerian forward continued by describing the situation as "difficult" once the club’s best players made their inevitable departures.

He added: "I felt bad as the majority of the players left, [Lassana] Diarra left then [Milan] Baros left then [Sulley] Muntari left.

"Six or seven players went so the team that won the FA Cup wasn't the same anymore. The players that came in needed to adapt quickly but winning games became difficult.

"It was unfortunate what happened as it was a good club. It wasn't fair but that's football."