Date: 11th August 2010 at 11:41am
Written by:

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.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

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14 Replies to “Forgotten Men Anywhere?”

  • Disagree with a couple of things re Hart. He and his teams were boring not what you need in a fight, he hoped for hard fought 0-0 draws and the odd win. KPB was very young when he came to Spurs but you saw over the season (minus injuries) what Spurs did not all round good enough for EPL.

  • I’m not a Hart fan, people forget we stayed up because of the quality of the team Redknapp built; Hart won something like twice in 22 games and as we nnow know the senior players had no confidence in him and changed to salvage a draws. He didn’t scout the players pompeys connections and dare I say it Storrie’s connections got the players in. Furthermore had we got rid of him earlier when it was clear he couldn’t manage we may have stayed up. He gas a poor managerial record and worked hard to acheive it. He lasted longer at bankrupt Pompey thane anywhere else; say no more. I can’t even say at least ge was straight up and honest because he wasn’t. Oh and having helped manage us into oblivion he then objected to the CVA; whattaguy! Great youth development coach though.

  • As for forgotten men, I wouldn’t worry so much Malta; the PL homegrown player rule effect will kick in soon and that will trickledown toward the end of this month.

  • PS meant to say if Arry has any feelings a player on free wages, maybe two or three will be on their way south.

  • This is an exclusive – Hart was on an FA training course yesterday along with another former member of the Academy staff. He was unshaven and still upset by the fact that Palace had too done the dirty on him. Russ you say that he is a ‘Great youth development coach’ but the views on that differ throughout football. YEs he got results but that was often due to the efforts of others.

  • SC saying that they played well publicly might be his way of managing the situation. it made me laugh when HR went to scum and said ‘what do you expect me to do with this lot?’ or something like that, and it doesn’t help matters any. We seem to have a mix of experienced professionals who should be doing better than they are, and kids who are doing better than we expected. Its too soon to judge SC, and we all recognise what a tough job he has.

  • Teddy you are right about the 25-squad rule. We may see a couple of players going out on loan somwhere. The problem is that most of them will be looking for Premiership clubs not us. I hope City and Spurs can send some here. PS; Benjani is training with Blackburn. If he isn’t injured, we should track him down.

  • IfI were a prem club and had to loan out players, I would not be loaning them to my rivals, so hopefully, we will get a few good loanees.

  • its been a few years since I even glanced at footballers below the premiership!! I have absolutely no idea who is worth chasing up. I cannot see why any prem player, even a background man, would bother with us when he could sit on the pine and pick up his fees. If someone told me that we had got a forward from the prem on loan, called Utaka, I would have been happy, but we all know that he isnt up for this type of job. Who do you suggest? Injury-prone men or men on the wrong side of 35?

  • Terraceman, really I cannot answer this question. I am very worried that there aren’t any players who can do a job and maybe give something else. Yeah, most of the Prem players would prefer staying where they are, but hopefully, the 25-squad rule will help us, somehow!

  • Let’s hope SC has already got some players ready to come in, sounds like he has a few lined up. Hope we can move on Utaka and Hughes and get a creative midfielder. Getting Benjani back would be a bonus, but I don’t see it unfortunately.

  • Dave, i am often on iphone which doesnt work so well on a window format like VP and becomes quite tiresome to type. I didnt finish my anti Hart rant, the wins Hart got were mostly after the great assistant Bran Kidd got up and did something about it as opposed to staying parallised on the bench. I do not feel sorry for that man, never willing to accept culpability, dishonest, disengenuine and i will never forget the smarmy, slimey smile on his face at Solent when Storrie and he thought they got the rich bit of Al faraj on board. Forest fans said he was a nasty bit of work and i believe them. QPR realised they made a mistake and heaved him out, i regret that he is not the manager of palace any more. The last two damning bits of evidence are HE LOOKS LIKE COLNEL SKORR OF THE SONTARANS and im NOT sening him a chrimbo card,. there thats it rant over- until the next time.

  • It is always good to say what you feel russell. However, I think that you went out of point. We should have been discussing the possibility of new arrivals and what quality will they have. Anyways, thanks people for commenting!

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