Date: 8th February 2011 at 9:27am
Written by:

The latest instalment of David Lampitt’s diary was released of Saturday.

Once again, speaking for myself of course, I think that this was a most informative read and keeps us updated with most we need updating with, right?

Is this not again transparent, which is what people keep calling for!

I think that my only issue with Lampitt in the last couple of weeks was a na├»ve approach of saying players ‘would arrive’ – once you make those statements you set yourself up, although I am sure he will learn from that.

I could not believe what I heard on Express FM when some were calling for Storrieteller to return. FFS what is wrong with some people!

Anyway, this can be viewed – as issued on The Pompey Site – below…

PLAY UP POMPEY!

David Lampitt’s February Diary

There has been a lot of discussion over the past week or so regarding our perceived lack of activity in the recent transfer window. Although we were not successful in making any permanent signings, both Steve and I (and a few others) worked hard to bring in players throughout the month.

Steve wants to recruit players of a certain quality, and we set about trying to do that with the backing of the board and the owners. Of course those players tend to be harder to get hold of and that proved to be the case. We pursued all five of the players that Steve identified, but unfortunately we didn’t get any of them.

Rightly or wrongly, we didn’t hide our firm desire to sign a couple of players permanently before the end of January – I don’t think anyone was keener to achieve that than the manager and me. Of course we couldn’t guarantee those signings, and the fact that we didn’t get them over the line doesn’t mean anyone has been lied to, nor does it make Steve a bad manager nor the owners bad owners. It just reflects a difficult market and a frustrating search for players of sufficient quality (and at the right value) to be part of the rebuilding of our squad.
We should also be clear that the owners made a decent pot of money available and we put that money on the table with serious offers for the players that Steve had targeted.

Unfortunately, of those players, we were out-bid for two of them and the others ended up not being sold by their existing clubs. It happens.

Nonetheless, it’s understandable that people will question whether we should have gone for lesser targets for the sake of bringing in bodies to the club. This has to be a footballing decision first and foremost. I know Steve’s view on it and I back his judgment. While a signing or two might have served to placate certain quarters, if they had not been the right signings they would have made the rebuilding process more difficult by using up the limited resources available.

So despite the obvious pressures, we refused to be forced into panic buying. Running the club as a secure and stable business means that sometimes we have to be hard-nosed about using our resources wisely and not overstretching ourselves.

Of course we’re disappointed not to have added to the squad with permanent signings. But we should not overlook the fact that we brought in two very good young players from Manchester United and Aston Villa in Ritchie De Laet and Jonathan Hogg. The very fact that these clubs are prepared to do business with us, and entrust their talent to our manager, speaks volumes for the progress the club has made in the last six months both on and off the pitch.

Staying on the transfer theme, last weekend we announced the departure of John Utaka, who joined Montpellier. There has been all sorts of speculation about this deal, and I can only tell you how it unfolded from my side. We were not looking to sell John and therefore didn’t expect to do so. I think I even said as much in two meetings with supporter groups last week which probably tells me I should keep my mouth shut in future!

However, last Friday morning I received a telephone call from Montpellier at 7.45am saying they wanted to buy him. Through the course of the day and through negotiations with Montpellier and the player’s agent, it was very clear that John was keen to make the move. At this point, my priority had to be to protect the best interests of the club and to make sure we got maximum possible value from the deal.

Another outgoing player whose departure appears to have been met with disappointment by some fans was Matt Ritchie, who joined Swindon Town. This was a straightforward footballing decision made by the coaching staff and I trust their judgment in these matters.

This past week has also seen the supporters’ group SOS Pompey make renewed calls for protests against the club/owners/executives, including asking for my resignation for good measure (which is an inauspicious first for me!). I understand their frustrations and I respect their right to protest, although I would far rather any differences or concerns were ironed out through constructive dialogue.

Since my arrival, I have endeavoured to have that open and honest dialogue with supporters and will continue to do so. Ultimately, we all want the same thing – a stable and successful football club – and we all have the club’s best interests at heart. I would like to see us all come together to find some common ground so that we can continue the process of rebuilding trust between the club and supporters. We may have that opportunity later this month with a Supporters Forum planned for February 23. We will be announcing further details very soon, and I am very much looking forward to it.

Despite this spirit of openness, some people still seem intent on trying to make mischief for the club where there is none. You may have seen the recent ‘news’ story involving a mistake by our bank that led to 10 players receiving their wages a day late. We received an immediate apology from the bank, which was passed on to the players in question. That, to my mind, should have been the end of it, but it seems even something as innocuous as this can somehow be turned into a news story with the inevitable misconception of some form of crisis.

For those who insist on clinging on to a negative preconception of the club, I can only say that we intend to keep on confounding your expectations! Of course things are not perfect, far from it, but we have a special club that should be cherished and we have a group of people across the club and across the vast majority of our supporter base who want to pull together to help take the club forward.

Finally, I can’t finish without a few short but important messages: a huge thank you to everyone at the club for continuing to give their all for the cause; a very warm welcome to Andy Awford who has recently taken up his post as the head of our academy; and perhaps most importantly for me, an apology to my wife and kids for the fact that they really haven’t seen very much of me this last month.

Kind regards,
David

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