Date: 20th July 2009 at 12:45pm
Written by:

Order, Order! Welcome to this new feature, I am Judge Gino. I am looking to finally put a line under those debates that rage on between Pompey fans alike.

The feature will work like this. Forum discussions will take place regarding which issues you wish to see before me, Judge Gino. One of you will take the place of the Claimant, and another of you will be the Defendant. You will then prepare a short statement of case of around 150-200 words outlining your argument, to be e-mailed (email Judge Gino) or PM-ed to me directly. Once this has been received you will be ‘cross-examined’ by way of two or three questions by myself, and provide short answers accordingly (again via email or PM).

Once both arguments have been received, the case will then be published, and an objective Judgment will be made, which is legally binding. The debate will be over and the Judge’s decision is final!

However, feel free to voice your disgust or support over my decisions in the comments section.

EXAMPLE CASE: Should Paul Hart Stay as Manager?

This first edition sees me listen to cases for, and against, Paul Hart staying as manager of Portsmouth for the 2009/2010 season. Now, the Claimant, please make your case.

Claimant

Paul Hart should stay as Portsmouth manager purely because he did what he was asked to do last season – keep us up. He made brave decisions towards the latter half of the season, and as a result we took all three points against an in-form Everton side at Fratton Park, and deservedly beat Bolton. It could also be argued that Glen Johnson flourished under him, and the team as a whole have been playing very well. Lady luck certainly wasn’t shining, and the games that were drawn were largely impressive Portsmouth displays – all down to Hart. He has a lot of experience in the game, and this has reflected as he steadied the rocking ship that was Portsmouth Football Club after Redknapp’s departure.

Cross-Examination

Q1: Paul Hart won only four of his fourteen games in charge. Is this not worrying of his ability to manage a team of Premiership class players?
A1: As previously stated, lady luck was not shining on us for the entire season, and I think that whilst results were disappointing, performances were fantastic.

Q2: Paul Hart has been very successful when working with youth players. Would you not rather see him develop Portsmouth’s youth team?
A2: Whilst his youth team record is top class, his experience, drive and determination shows that he will succeed as number one. I think that now he has tasted top-flight management he will not want to move down into youth teams, and I think we risk losing him if we ask him to do that.

Defendant

Paul Hart has a wealth of experience, however I really don’t think he has what it takes to manage in the Premiership. Whilst performances were good, the formation that was adopted (the 4-5-1) was unsuitable for the type of players we have. Crouch is not someone who is effective as a lone striker, and playing David Nugent out of position on the right/left wings was madcap and he’s lucky it worked! His youth record is fantastic and he should stick to what he does best; developing young, attacking players. To survive next season in the Premiership we need to have a top-class manager who is used to managing top-class players.

Cross-Examination

Q1: Paul Hart did keep Portsmouth up with a string of good wins. How do you respond to that?
A1: Whilst the wins themselves were good, he really should have secured safety earlier than he did. To do so in the latter stages of the season is, in my eyes, a failure – our squad had the quality to at least finish mid-table with minimal effort.

Q2: His experience working with young players could mean he will be good at spotting talent in the transfer market – do you agree?
A2: No I do not. His talent lies in developing players, and I don’t think his skills experience thus far is indicative to the extent that he will be buying fantastic hot prospects.

Judgment

Well – with all things considered, I am going to find in favour of the Defendant. Paul Hart’s record as manager of Portsmouth is, tactically speaking, poor, and it is clear that his real talent lies in youth development. He has nurtured the likes of Jonathon Woodgate, Jermaine Jenas, Andy Reid and Michael Dawson, and to keep him as director of youth operations would be favourable, whilst an experienced manager comes in to re-cement Portsmouth as a top Premiership force.

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Do you have a controversial view?

Perhaps you would like to bring an action before the court to settle a debate once and for all – because let’s face it you know you’re right! If so, check out the forums (here), and prepare your case!