Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp was quick to praise his players following their promotion to the Premier league with a 1-0 win over Burnley at Fratton Park last night. The home fans invaded the pitch at the final whistle before Portsmouth's team embarked on a lap of honour having ensured it was mathematically impossible for them to finish outside the top two.
"What a year. In one year we've turned the football club upside down," saidRedknapp. "It's just been incredible. It has been unbelievable. To take over a club that has been in the bottom six for the last six years and get promoted in our first season is a credit to everybody.
"The players have been magnificent," he continued. "They are the best group of lads you have ever met in your life."
Portsmouth had the chance to win their place in the top division last Saturday but blew it as they lost 2-1 at home to bottom of the table Sheffield Wednesday. Nerves were again in evidence on the south coast last night as Pompey contrived to spurn a series of glorious opportunities and it seemed as if they would once again have to put their promotion party on hold.
But Bulgarian striker Svetoslav Todorov was on hand to score the crucial goal 17 minutes from time and send the 19,221 crowd delirious with delight. Midfielder Nigel Quashie was the creator as he crossed from the left for Todorov to side-foot goalwards from 10 yards.
Redknapp added: "The last six minutes were the longest of my life but the players deserve it and the fans deserve it. They are both fantastic and what we've achieved over the last 12 months is just unbelievable. I'm stunned by what has happened and you can see just what it means to the people of Portsmouth by their reactions at the final whistle. It's just fantastic."
Filed by Johnny Proby