Pompey Malta on the team that Paul Hart, and then Avram Grant, managed to patch together last season and if Steve Cotterill can do the same now? Read on for more.
Despite the harsh criticism Paul Hart had to go through last season, after that record breaking start to the Premier League, no matter what happened, I respect him for creating a football team. It is not a secret that I am a Hart fan, but the team he managed to build was almost the same one Pompey had against Chelsea in the FA Cup Final at Wembley.
We started the season short of players (anything new?) and we had to look around to make a squad. Portsmouth captured some good players and some average players too. But the only common thing about them was that they all (bar two or three) were forgotten men. Aruna Dindane, Frederic Piquionne, Hassan Yebda, Tal Ben Haim, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jamie O’Hara, Aaron Mokoena, Michael Brown, Tommy Smith and Mike Williamson all arrived at Pompey at the beginning of the season, some way or another.
There is no need to go into details, but everybody could see that most of the lads had no future at their clubs. Just to mention few statistics: Kevin Prince Boateng played only 14 matches for Tottenham, Ben Haim had a disastrous spells both at Manchester City and at Sunderland, playing a maximum 14 games in a whole season. Yebda was not going to be used at Benfica and Mokoena, although playing over 100 Premier League matches for Blackburn, was way down the pecking order for the 2009/10 season. These players, amongst others, like Ricardo Rocha (who joined under the guidance of Grant) where pivotal in our team. And hadn’t we had off field crisis, we would have managed a comfortable mid-table position.
But that was then.
After watching Pompey play against Stevenage on Monday night, it was all too obvious that we cannot go on unless we sign some players.
he question is: who? Players like Nugent, Utaka and Hughes (sorry) looked below par, nowhere near Championship level. Everybody could see how dire we were, and I simply do not understand how Cotterill (who was caught by the cameras laughing for most of the time – why I cannot figure out / or perhaps he couldn’t help it) said that at times we played “very, very well”! When did we play well?
We need to get in players, and yes that is what we are going to do. But my main worry is; are we capable of finding the best forgotten man and give them the chance they have been craving for? Or are we going to sign the first few players we find around who could simply do a job and nothing else? Like Ashdown?
I wonder how Hart managed to find all those ‘quality’ players. I seriously doubt that the players we will bring, will not be up to standard. The fact that we are no longer a Premiership team could make all the difference, true, but I really would love to see how we are going to deal in the transfer market this week or the following.
Can Cotterill find the right men to do the job, or is he going to keep on hoping for the better?
Written by Pompey Malta.
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