Velimir Zajec came into the English game as an unknown quantity, when he arrived as Director of Football at Portsmouth, which ultimately led to Harry Redknapp’s departure from the club.
Following a short period of searching for a new manager for the club, he was formally appointed to the permanent position on the 21st December 2004 – and though he was begun well, time will tell whether he wins over the fans as a good worthwhile appointment.
In terms of his footballing pedigree, he was a good player, having had a substantial career at both Dynamo Zagreb and Panathinaikos - where he made over 100 appearances. Most people however will know him from his playing days through his performances with Yugoslavia, who he captained during the World Cup in Spain in 1982 and the French European Championships.
Once his playing career was over he became Director of football with Dynamo from 1989-1991, before returning to Panathinaikos until the summer of 2000. Mirroring his playing career he then became General Manager at Zabreb before working at the Croatian FA.
He was enticed back into club management in 2002, again returning to Panathinaikos, as Director of Football and in the process winning a League and Cup double.
Now he arrives in the big time as he takes over the reins at Barclays Premiership club Portsmouth, and he has a hard task to follow Harry. He has won fierce support from Pompey Chairman Milan Mandaric, however, who said following his appointment,
"Velimir brings tremendous knowledge of football, he understands the players, he's been there and managed, coached and played and we're very lucky to have this kind of manager on board."