Grant calls on his old club to find the spirit of 2010

Avram Grant
Avram Grant

Avram Grant told Michael Appleton: I know what you’re going through.

The unexpected backing from the former Pompey boss comes as Appleton prepares his troops for battle with Southampton on Saturday.

Grant, who steered the club to a famous 4-1 FA Cup win the last time the two sides met at St Mary’s, became a cult figure during his time at Fratton Park – amid similar financial turmoil.

The ex-Blues boss refused to walk away from the club as it went through administration and relegation from the Premier League, while taking them to the FA Cup final that term against the odds.

But just two years on from the club’s previous brush with oblivion and the popular Israeli is saddened the club faces many of the same difficulties all over again.

But Grant, who is now at the helm of Partizan Belgrade, believes Appleton’s new generation have a similar spirit to his class of 2010.

And he is confident they can emulate his side’s heroics and win at their fiercest rivals.

Grant said: ‘Firstly, my heart is with him (Appleton) because I know this situation he is in.

‘He doesn’t need any advice from me but I would just say to him to concentrate on the football as much as he can and I hope he can do his best to keep this great club up.

‘There are a lot of other things going on and it’s hard not to pay attention to them.

‘When we were in this situation, we decided to show everyone we could surprise people.

‘Hopefully, the same thing can happen this weekend. That game is one of my favourite memories from the whole of my career in football.

‘We didn’t just win. It was 4-1 – in their home. I will never forget this.

‘For me it was the most amazing year of my career and that game was so special.’

Grant tapped into the mentality of the Blues supporters and was accepted into the fold for standing by the club in its hour of need.

Appleton has responded in similar fashion after he found himself in the same situation just weeks after succeeding Steve Cotterill.

Grant said: ‘Portsmouth is a very unique club.

‘The supporters are amazing, the whole city is behind the team and it is not fair what has happened to this club. It is not fair at all.

‘Other people have made mistakes and the rules allow it.

‘Now the team and supporters are suffering again.

‘Nobody in the team, the manager or the supporters did anything wrong.

‘It’s always the wrong people who are punished.

‘For me, this club represents the spirit and the nature of football. I love this club and the city very much and I feel so sorry for what has happened.’

Southampton are favourites to win on Saturday but Grant knows upsets can happen.

He said: ‘It is about heart and soul – the money comes next.

‘You can do a lot with heart, soul and spirit. That’s the beauty of football.’