Partizan coach Avram Grant will
step down at the end of the season despite winning the league
title with the Serbian club, the former Chelsea manager said on
Grant, who steered Chelsea to the 2008 Champions League
final before losing to Manchester United on penalties, declined
to specify the reasons for his decision.
"I would like to keep the details to myself, I planned to
stay longer but life is often unpredictable," the 57-year old
Israeli told a news conference.
"I am sad to be leaving but such is life, we all have to
look forward and that means the club, the fans and myself. I
opted to activate the clause allowing me to leave before my
contract expires," he said.
Grant took over in January from fans' favourite Aleksandar
Stanojevic when Partizan were 10 points clear of traditional
city rivals Red Star at the top of the first division.
He was quickly at loggerheads with Partizan's faithful after
a pair of draws against modest opposition had slashed the
advantage to six points and was pelted by lighters in his first
home game in charge, a 0-0 draw with Sloboda Sevojno.
Losing three successive derbies to Red Star, two in the cup
semi-final and the league fixture after Partizan had already
secured the title with three games to spare, also did not help
Grant's cause as he came under mounting pressure.
"I was brought up to look at the positive side of things and
I will take great memories with me from Belgrade," said Grant.
"I can understand the fans were disappointed after the derby
defeats but they stuck with us and that's how it works. Players
and coaches come and go while the club is bigger than any one of
us and lives on."
Former Partizan coach Vladimir Vermezovic, who steered the
club to the 2005 league title, has been tipped as the prime
candidate to take over from Grant after the champions entertain
relegated Metalac in their last game of the season on Sunday.
Partizan won a record fifth successive league title under
Grant and their 24th overall, meaning they are just one short of
equalling Red Star's record.
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