With further speculation that Steve Cotterill could move on this summer Dan Brett looks at arguments for an against coping without him – read on for more.
Speculation is rife that Portsmouth gaffer Steve Cotterill is set to be offered the manager’s role at Nottingham Forest – with current boss Billy Davies at war with the club over living arrangements.
My question to you today is this – should those in charge of the club, including Cotterill’s love-child, David Lampitt, be doing all he can to keep him in charge of Portsmouth Football Club, or would we do better to cut our losses and look for a new manager?
For me, Cotterill has done a wonderful job. He’s taken up the role in a time when very, very few others would, and has kept us up. But for me, that’s where the buck stops. Many times this season, I’ve been sat in my usual seat in the Fratton End, questioning the tactics of Cotterill, including many games where we’ve needed to press our opponents to try and claw back a goal or two, or even go for the win. Yet, we’ve either consolidated play and stuck out for a point, or brought on Ibrahima Sonko to tighten up the back four, even when going for three points.
This, coupled with the largely limited contacts available to Cotterill, with three loan signings from the same club, two of which largely overrated and overplayed due to squad limitation, left many games lost due to silly error (most notably for me, Nottingham Forest away – enter Sonko).
All of the blame cannot be attributed to the manager alone, however. We can cut him some slack. He hasn’t had the backing a manager possibly should have going into the season, and coupled with a very long and frustrating USA pre-season, the start to the season probably wasn’t all that great – but what of those players who really, really wanted to play for the club, yet now find themselves looking at an immediate future in Npower League Two – or lower?
Pompey born and bred, as well as fan of the club Matt Ritchie now finds himself relegated to League Two with Swindon Town, after deemed surplus to requirements at Fratton Park. A player held in high-esteem with fans’, feeling that he had a bright future with the club, was bombed out of Portsmouth after Cotterill felt that the club needed to save on their wage bill, however remained to allow Lawrence to sign a permanent deal with the club, then go on to play little even when back to fitness.
Ritchie, as well as recent departure Marlon Pack, emphasises the financial situation that we find ourselves in, and also Cotterill’s inability to look at potential, allowing players such as Aaron Mokoena remain at the club – at fault for many points being dropped this season – while players who bleed blue remain up for grabs by clubs around the country.
Cotterill joined Portsmouth just under one year ago in June 2010, with the club in disarray following relegation from the Premier League. With his hands tied at the start of the season, Cotterill brought in Ibrahima Sonko and Carl Dickinson on season-long loans and signed Liam Lawrence and Dave Kitson, while Darryl Flahavan joined the club on a month-by-month rolling contract.
Such a small squad meant that Pompey had a very stretched budget in terms of players they could afford to use each week, with large parts of the season leaving Pompey with less than the permitted seven available substitutes on the bench.
Now the season is over, and we can start moving forward (well, if the CSI takeover ever goes ahead), it will be a tough decision for the club to either stick or twist in regards to Cotterill’s tenure, especially if a probable bid from Forest occurs.
For me, Cotterill needs another 6 months. If he is awarded the backing of a decent finances, and to not have to rely solely on loans, he could come good – my main worry lies with his ability to set out his team to look for a win, rather than scoring a goal and sitting back for the remainder.
Far too many games this season, we’ve gone one goal up and not gone for all three points, inviting our opposition to have a go; or we’ve gone one down and sat back, looking for a draw in games we should be winning comfortably.
Of course, in this league there are no easy games, but to see us at least try in the ones we have would be a welcome sight. Perhaps looking towards a manager in the mould of Paul Lambert or, dare I say it, Nigel Adkins, would be a good one – managers with little reputation but desire to succeed, and skill to man-manage.
Written by Dan Brett.
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