Date: 2nd February 2008 at 10:41am
Written by:

Following on from the performance v personality question – in the forum.

For me at least, having 2 teenagers, I need to have role models in my kids lives – like Rug I was born in Leigh Park and managed with a following wind to make something of my life.

We work hard and are proud of our kids. They are good kids, honest kids – but it’s hard to keep them that way when they are exposed to media full of bad morals and poor role models.

Take Benjani for example, my kids love him [Matty, Linvoy, Pamarot, Mendes, Davies, James too] It’s not just the smiles or his demeanour, the guy seems to represent values that this country has largely forgotten. The refs seem to think so too – didn’t I read that he had/has the best foul to booking ratio in the Prem? i.e. the most fouls conceded for the least number of bookings? He exudes charm, passion, fairness – such that even the refs don’t see him as cynical – if he fouls it’s because he mistimed his tackle?

Benjani is one of those rare players that lives and dies by the ethics of his performance rather than relying on the water tightness of his contract.

Reading between the lines, it would seem that Benjani, who managed to find his way from poverty stricken Zimbabwe to Auxerre and then Pompey, couldn’t find his way to Manchester, despite it being a simple three hour drive up the M6. According to Harry, Benji had known about the need to be in Manchester the night before. 24 hours notice!

Truth be known, he was victim of a transfer he didn’t want any part of – and according to the Manchester press, Man City pulled out at the last minute having sensed this. [Regarding the missed flights, if it was so damned important why didn’t someone drive him there?]

What of Redknapp and Storrie in all this? A week earlier Benji wasn`t going anywhere according to Harry. Yet, and this is what pisses me off, it’s left to the gutter press to announce to us loyal, ‘money where our mouths are’ fans that Benji is off to Man City. On what basis did the management at PFC act this way? Why were they not more transparent? After all surely it’s in PFC’s interest that the whole world knows Benji is available rather than just Man City – who incidentally we still have to play away. Sell your best Striker to a UEFA Cup competitor – how does that work?

Three days earlier we were all over the moon at the thought of a Baros and Benjani front line. Then it all changes – at the drop of a hat – now we have Baros and Defoe, and like others I am still pinching myself, but we have no Benjani – and even if he is still our player, then who knows where his mind will be. It certainly wasn’t in Manchester was it?

I appreciate I may be unpopular for saying this, but I want Pompey to clean up their act. There is no smoke without fire – Harry’s reputation for this, that and the rest may largely be unfounded, but he does himself no favours.

Man City were quoted on Thursday as saying that they would not be pushed into doing something that was not in their interest, suggesting that Pompey were guilty of manipulating the situation.

As it turned out, the whole transfer was a debacle. Why on earth was Harry sitting in the middle of an £18m – £20m game of chance 5 minutes before the close of the transfer window?

Sometimes I think Harry takes us all for mugs – and as much as I love the guy, it can all get a little but too much. Please let’s get back to the football – it’s not win at all costs. It may be for you Harry, but for most of the players and for most of the fans, of which without us you’d be nothing, there is more to the game than having one over the opposition every chance you get.

Written by ChrisW.

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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18 Replies to “The Benji debacle”

  • sorry that the site is being overloaded with benji articles – but i think this shows what so many of us think of it… but ChrisW write the above in the forum and i think it is a crackin’ read so we agreed to publish it here to – so please do have a read, its well worth it!

  • as i said in a comment of Toronto4Pompey’s article – another crackin’ read… this whole situation is a farce now, surely it must be simple a deal didnt go through, citeh said it didnt go through – it appears now that we are ‘desperate’ for this to go through – so i think we are probably pushing for this more than citeh… benji’s heart isnt in the move, i think that he didnt want this and as others have said – with ChrisW writing this today – i think citeh picked up on this… we seem prepared to screw players over, yep its a ‘business’ now but im detesting the ‘cut throat’ world it has become… ‘if’ the deal falls through, i fear for benji as it’ll be hard for him to look at ‘arry with the trust that he did, this could also backfire on us with others – players always say ‘they want to play for ‘arry’ but how much longer will they want to if this is happening constantly?

  • This is exactly the thing I was talking about a few days ago. The integrity of the club and the way fans FEEL about the club and the situations which surround it are more important than winning. And this is where Harry, Storrie and co differ from the rest (most hopefully) of us. I suspect this is an unpopular view with many but I would rather go to watch MY club with Matty, Gary O and Benji on the pitch and have an ‘even’ chance of winning that act in this ‘immoral’ way and have a good chance of winning. The Club is more important than its performances on the pitch – hence my feelings (as previously stated) that I would feel the same about This Club if we were playing Chester in League 2. The management and governors of Prem Clubs are out of touch with what supporters want. They imagine we want winning at all costs. I don’t. Am I alone in thinking this. Did you not enjoy watching Portsmouth playing lower league football? I suspect you did.

  • n all fairness 007 i dont hold ‘arry to blame exclusively mate, ype i guess if he had said ‘nope, i want to keep benji’ you would hope that this would have been the case, but either his hands are tied and sacha really wont release funds unless we raise them – which again raises my question that i keep wrestling with, ‘does he have the funds that we are told he does, but then think he doesn’t. then think he does again?’ – or he was happy for this, im not sure… i love ‘arry and think he has done things for this club that no one else could have but i dont want him or us to keep selling out like we are – if we pick up ‘the wrong’ mercenaries then if they all jump ship god only knows where this will leave us – this is not to say that we have mercenaries now, we got rid of cole… this whole situation has left a very sour taste in my mouth, my head hurts from the whole thing as so many thoughts keep going round – but all in all i am delighted we got defoe, im just not pleased at the costs – not finacial – of getting him…

  • You are spot on Et-tu, i feel the same way, as i expect many others do BUT i think it’s just a reflection of society in general. Winning at all costs, just hope it doesn’t come back to bite us all in the arse!!!

  • Thank you Rug I hear what you say, but honesty and integrity still come first. Team spirit has been destroyed in one foul swoop and all trust gone.

  • One thing that sticks out for me, if Benjani knew of the need to be in Manchester 24 hrs before the proposed transfer, why didn’t he stay there?, he was alresdy there!

  • 007 HR is a disgrace? I’m sorry I can’t take that. Sure some of the things we do are farcical but HR is certainly NOT a disgrace. Football is too fickle for my liking sometimes.

  • There does seem to be an overload of sentimantility going on over one player (or a couple) I personal dont give a rats arse who plays for the club as long as we progress – it’s the team we support not the players after all! And really if you follow the argument through, I’m sure clubs and their supporters were sentimentally attached to Sol Cambell, David James, etc…. No man (player) is bigger than the club – a view expressed by Sir Alex many times, especailly over Roy Keene and look where thinking like that has got them! I rest my case your honour!

  • agreed mate – and i do see what you are saying – no player/manager is bigger than a club, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do things… i want us to be succesful – and in all honesty defoe is an improvement of benji in terms of footballing striker ability – but i will never be of the ‘i dont give a rats arse’ thought on who plays for us, yep i support pompey but i also want to support some special players, and not all of these need to be sold, and why should they unless of course we dont have any money – which would seem even more likely to be the case now, despite the fact ‘the books need balancing’ and we are told otherwise…

  • pompey were a laughing stock under milan because he was always in the press at least sacha keeps himself to himself and has funded one of the best pompey teams with some top players it certainly beats losing to leyton orient 4-1 in the cup!

  • WalshWasGod: The argument is that Benjani’s treatment is representative of the underlying attitude prevalent within football today. Frankly, had Redknapp treated a prima donna in that fashion, such as 3 or 4 of those playing for Chelsea today, then we wouldn’t be so angry with the treatment. But it wasn’t – it was treatment dished out to probably our most important player so far this season. And if Redknapp can do that to him then the values which Redknapp himself claims to represent are just more smoke and mirrors. The point is that in my mind Redknapp has now demonstrated that he lives by the sword and as we know if you live by the sword you die by the sword. As a result, I believe that a whole load of the Fratton Faithful will now be somewhat less than sympathetic when Harry gets himself inevitably into his next ‘wasn’t me gov’ pickle.

  • I agree with the article and now that manschitty havee reneged on the deal and we are not getting 7.6m up front for benji it looks even worse. Chris W i have been wondering about an article on what would we/ should we consider a succesfull season, i am somewhat fed up with Harry’s ” we are little pompey we have to accept this” attituide, as i have said before i thionk he is a good manager but i know and understand he is a self publicising liar. Whilst he frustrates me for tjhis season we are better off with him than without. I dont know what will happen if a new owner comes in.. and perrrleeease some people we are looking… whilst nick szeczepanik of the times is clearly anti pompey the business times is not at all.. oh and by the way you should all buy Dominos pizza cos sasha who loves us so much, loves domino’s pizza so much he bought the company… for the money Matt taylor was sold for.

  • russellm: sounds like a good idea to write about what constitutes a successful season… drop me an email if and when you post it please 🙂

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