Israel's Avram Grant Named Portsmouth Soccer Director

Grant returns to British soccer league after 2-year break following his let-go as Chelsea soccer coach in 2008.

Israeli soccer coach Avram Grant was appointed on Wednesday the position of soccer director for the British soccer team Portsmouth, with the task of helping manager Paul Hart save the club from relegation.

The former Chelsea manager served as the technical manager of the club alongside Harry Redknapp in 2006 before moving on to Stamford Bridge the next year.

"This is a very happy day for me," Grant told the Israeli sports channel. "My goal was to stay in the British soccer league and that is what I've done. It's now time for more work and less talk."

Grant will return to the British soccer league after a two year break following the termination of his position as Chelsea soccer coach in 2008, after losing to Manchester United in the Euro Leagues.

Portsmouth, which was taken over by Saudi Arabian property magnate Ali Al-Faraj on Monday, is last in the Premier League after losing its first seven Premier League games. The team beat Wolves 1-0 Saturday.

England goalkeeper David James welcomed the appointment of Grant.

"I love Avram, he's a great guy," the Portsmouth keeper said at an England news conference ahead of Saturday's World Cup qualifying game in Ukraine. "When I first joined the club he was there and he was very active in preparation for matches. He's a very wise man. His football knowledge is immense. It's a very good move."

Portsmouth already has one Israeli team player, center-back Tal Ben Haim. Ben Haim played with Grant in Chelsea, but apparently didn't get along with the Israeli coach as he was kept on the bench for most of the season.

Portsmouth is currently last in the British League, and scored its first win last weekend after seven straight losses.

The soccer team was recently bought by the Saudi tycoon Ali Al-Faraj for 60 million pounds, which covered the struggling team's debts.