Portsmouth cans manager Adams

Tony Adams became the latest England captain to flop as a top-flight club manager when he was fired Monday by Portsmouth after four months in charge.

Tony Adams became the latest England captain to flop as a top-flight club manager when he was fired Monday by Portsmouth after four months in charge.

The 42-year-old former Arsenal defender, who took over after Harry Redknapp moved to Tottenham, joins a long line of England stars who failed to succeed as managers.

Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson and, more recently, Blackburn's Paul Ince were among those who struggled as managers. Ince was fired in December, and Adams became the seventh Premier League manager to leave this season.

Assistant Johnny Metgod was also fired.

Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant, who had a spell as technical director at Portsmouth, is reportedly a leading contender to succeed Adams at Fratton Park, but the bookmakers made former Charlton and West Ham manager Alan Curbishley the favourite.

The club's director of youth operations, former Nottingham Forest boss Paul Hart, will serve as caretaker manager until a replacement is found.

Portsmouth 16th in standings

Adams guided Pompey — Portsmouth's nickname — to only two points from a possible 27 in its last nine Premier League games. The club has also been knocked out of all cup competitions, including the UEFA Cup.

''The owner and the board feel they have been as supportive as they can during a period where results have been poor,'' the club said in a statement on its website Monday. ''The team has played well but too many points have been dropped from winning positions.''

Portsmouth is 16th in the league standings, one point above the relegation zone after losing 3-2 at home to Liverpool on Saturday.

Adams, who was Redknapp's assistant, and helped take Portsmouth to an FA Cup final triumph last season and 10th place in the Premier League, won only two out of 16 league games after taking over in October on a 2½-year contract at Fratton Park.

''This has been a very difficult decision and Tony has worked tirelessly to arrest the slump in form,'' Portsmouth said. ''He is rightfully highly respected within the football world and played a major role in our FA Cup triumph last season.

''The priority is for Portsmouth Football Club to remain in the top flight and we feel the appointment of a new manager will give us the best opportunity to enable us to do this. Paul Hart knows the football club, having joined us nearly two years ago, and is a respected coach with managerial experience.''

Confident despite loss

Although the pressure had been building on Adams and there was media speculation that he would be out, he seemed confident after Saturday's loss to Liverpool at Fratton Park, where his team twice led and then lost to a last-minute goal, that he would be staying on.

''At the moment everyone is saying they want me to do the job, so I'll get on with it,'' Adams said. ''We've got 13 games to go and have to play the teams around us. March on.''

Adams started his managerial career with Wycombe, but failed to prevent the team from going down to League Two in 2004. He coached in the Netherlands as backup to the managers of Feyenoord and Utrecht before becoming Redknapp's assistant at Portsmouth in June 2006.

When Redknapp departed for Tottenham in late October, Adams took over, but struggled to get results, especially after the departures of Lassana Diarra to Real Madrid and Jermain Defoe to Spurs.