How’s that for a billionaire club? But let’s not forget the possible downsides.
Well we broke the bank with the signing of £7 million-rated Sulley Muntari and gave out further proof of Sacha’s hefty investments with the double signings of David Nugent and John Utaka, both costing £6 million and (allegedly) £7 million respectively. This adds up to a total of £20 million total, spent on only three players. You can almost hear good ol’, tight fisted Milan Mandaric retching after hearing that.
So now that we’ve spelt out the most defining pieces of evidence that officially classifies Pompey as a wealthy club (no more £1.5 million club record breakers), we as the fans who are the ultimate critics to the club need to think about the drawbacks to this future of our most beloved club: every transfer window exceeding some 15 odd million quid. There’s no going up with something going down, and as any clever clogs will correct me in my wrong recital of the previous quote, that the thing going up and down is the same thing, IN SIMPLE, I’m saying that Pompey WILL find some problems along the way up the ladder. You know this as well as I do of course.
Taking in the possible downsides in minor to major chronology, let’s have a look at Chelsea’s summer of ’06 signings. I’m not going to start with Andriy Shevchenko for this example (and I’ll tell you why in a bit), but instead with Dutch international Khalid Boulahrouz. This highly rated defender was plucked from the German top flight for a mere (in the eyes of the chosen one, Jose Mourinho) £7 million. As the race for the Premiership with Manchester United came along, Chelsea encountered problems in defence during mid season, with an injured club captain John Terry proving the most notable reason for leaky games and a run that saw more goals conceded than games (during January and February) and new boy Boulahrouz didn’t do much good and, as result, Chelsea lost control of the Premiership title to Manchester United whose only problem in defence last season was Rio Ferdinand’s uncanny desire to nudge the ball past van der Sar, a moment last season most Pompey fans hold dear.
And now, because he wasn’t able to adapt to the Premiership in such short time, Boulahrouz has been shown the door, hinted by Mourinho in a recent press conference on the topic of Robben’s future at Chelsea: ‘I don’t see anyone else leaving,” said Mourinho “Boulahrouz is leaving and that’s the best situation”. It appears to be the best situation for poor old £7 million Khalid to leave, just because he had a poor season full of bench warming and lack of adaptation. Would we think the same way if Muntari had a poor season (I do not doubt him though)? Although to be fair, the managing strategies of Redknapp and Mourinho are very different, but the problem of a rubbish player coming along for a huge sack of money is still present. You can see why I didn’t choose £30 million-rated, 3 goals a season ‘Sheva’ as a good example, he’s just too obvious.
Now for the major possible drawback, doing a ‘Leeds’. Basically sign up unhappy players for incredibly large and unnecessarily amounts of cash and then don’t pay taxes for several years, adding to the already large debt. The fuel for the Leeds fire came in the form overspending, crappy management and poor morale. I’m not saying that this will happen to Pompey of course; it’s merely the worst that could happen and Leeds are now in League 1 Portsmouth saw their first season in the Premiership the year that Leeds got relegated, in just 4 years and two relegations later, that’s an incredible decline for Leeds.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and focus on our objectives. Hopefully Redknapp won’t make any signings that are not too amiss to the kind of players Souness and O’Leary would chase.