Date: 12th November 2008 at 4:13pm
Written by:

Sylvain Distin’s ‘outburst’ – I will label it that for lack of a better word – has caused varying degrees of reaction and thoughts.

For those of you that have not read what I then the full version, as published in The News, which is below, it is the best place to read what was said as it is virtually in its entirety – elsewhere this has been altered and manipulated to suit the purpose and spin it is looking for…

‘I try to be politically correct, but when I came to the club they had a plan and right now I don’t know what the plan is.

‘Every day I read the newspaper and there is some kind of problem. I don’t know what the truth is.

‘We have the transfer window coming up. I am worried about it, I’m not going to lie. We just want everyone to be there at the end of it.

‘Things do get exaggerated all the time. When Harry left there were 25 managers coming in – the same with the coaches.

‘Then we were all supposed to be going to Tottenham.

‘You think about it. I wouldn’t say it disturbs us, but every day you wonder who is going to come and who is going to go.

‘We will see what happens. I don’t know any more than what I read in the newspaper.

‘When the January window is closed, we will see who has gone and who has arrived, and will then see if what has happened is the best for the club.

‘I don’t know if they are going to sell the club or sell or buy players. I can’t do anything about it.

‘What can I do? What can I do to make the owner invest in the club or sell it? There is absolutely nothing I can do.

‘I’m here to do my job and what I’m paid for, then I go home and think about it.

‘I didn’t come here to play for one or two years – I came here because there was a plan.

‘There was a long-term plan and I wanted to settle here.

‘It will be a shame if there is a change and I think that will be the wrong way.’

What to do next? He will just carry on…

‘The best thing is to carry on as we are. We have a tremendous team. No-one expected Portsmouth to have a team like that.

‘We should look to bring in new players who are really going to challenge for the starting 11.

‘We want to push on from what we did last season. That was the plan and that is why I wanted to come here.

‘I wanted to see the stadium and everything else that was expected.

‘I was attracted by that plan, so I will be really disappointed if it doesn’t continue.’

These thoughts, as I say, have provoked different reactions.

Sympathy, anger or disappointment
Some find it difficult to take pity on someone that is picking up around £50,000 per week and would probably be able to easily do that elsewhere, but looking past that fact the thought is that he just wants to do a job and wants to know that he is secure doing his job where he is at this point in time. He could easily move on, but he does not want to so they can understand his current situation and why he is looking for answers!

Others have been angered by this as the feel that the Frenchman would have been better off keeping his mouth shut, as airing his issues in public is not something they are keen for him to have done. Another thought is that he is doing this in order to make other clubs aware that he and others are ‘unsettled’ by events, so would move on – not something I agree with to be honest. Whereas others are angry at the club for not keeping the players, and indeed us the fans – although we seem to be the ones that are cared about least these days! – more informed with the situation. Peter Storrie’s recent ‘I am bored, bored, bored with talking about finances’ has pushed some over the edge as he is someone that most find hard to trust anymore…

The disappointment has not been a million miles away from anger, but these reactions have been more along the lines of ‘I guess I see what he said and maybe it needed to be said but not in public’, so this was not exactly anger more alone the lines of acceptance in a way…

My take – for what its worth…
I have thought long and had about what Distin said, and whilst what he said might have been better served staying behind closed doors maybe this is the only way for him to get answers! Lets be honest here, has he really said anything that all of us are not thinking anyway? By speaking out as he has, for me, this speaks volumes about his commitment to the club – rather than just saying ‘I want to stay’ he has explained why he wants to stay, but why he is concerned he might not be able to. Look at what he has said and study it carefully, it becomes clear…

Yep, he could easily swan off to another club in January, but he does not want to do that. He wants to stay here and help carry on moving the club forward to achieve even greater heights and reach those goals that was sold to him when he arrived.

Look at it this way he left Citeh because the club was in turmoil, he did not have a clue what the future was going to bring – he wanted stability at a club that was moving forward, a club that he could move to and settle down at because he was at the stage of his career where he was not looking for a short term move, he wanted a long term stay at a club with potential and the ability to go somewhere. We were that club, and not because we offered him good money, which we probably have. Sure money helps players these days, but certain players – and the majority of those with us on the whole are motivated by more than pound signs…

Liverpool wanted him, but the vision that the club sold to him was one that made him choose ‘the lesser option’, which lets make no bones about it Liverpool are a bigger club than we probably ever will be! He could have accepted their offer and looked to coast along for a while, with the greater chance of picking up silverware and probably achieved the ambition of representing his county but he chose Pompey.

Distin, like so many before him and indeed after him, was sold a vision for the club – winning the FA cup was not part of that vision, that was an ‘added bonus’, but what an added bonus! The vision of a new stadium, a new training ground, bigger and better players and strides up the league at a club that was going places and could even one day seriously challenge the ‘big 4’ is what was sold to him.

Even before Harry Redknapp left – which was a major blow, but a blow that we can and will recover from – signs of uncertainty were appearing and the thoughts that the dream ‘might’ just slip away started to appear. All the speculation about our finances is something that has well and truly got into the heads of the fans, but is also in the heads of the players – and getting paid a fortune or not they want to know what is going on.

It is all very well Storrie saying that ‘everything is alright’ – and Sacha Gaydamak going on the radio saying that things are fine, without actually saying as much, he merely reassured – but we all know that Storrie has been ‘economical’ with the truth in the past. Distin just like you and I wants answers and without those coming to him he took it upon himself to play a leaders role, or a ‘captains role’ to seek these answers.

He could easily up and leave if he wanted to, but my impression is that he does not want to, he came here for the long term and can still see the potential that we have, but sees this slipping away – he just wants assurances like the rest of us that things genuinely are ok, or at least will be as he has serious doubts that they actually are not. His fears that he has jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, having left the mess at the time that was Citeh to come to Pompey must be major fear that he has – and I can understand and sympathise with that as even though he picks up more in a week than I will in a number of years he fears history repeating itself…

I also feel that he is speaking on behalf of many, and is also speaking in support of Tony Adams, basically saying that he, and the majority, support him and so long as the club are sticking to the plans sold to them, or working on ways to do that – and that for this season would be being in the top 10 come Christmas – then they want the club to stick to the manager and also want the club to stick to them, not just sell them out for a quick buck in the New Year. They want reassurances that they can stay here if they want to, they do not want to be forced out the door – but if they are going to they want to know this will happen. They also want to know what is really going on with the takeover talk. Believe it or not, I still believe, and maybe naively so, that even in this day and age some players do still have loyalty – and we have a fair few here now, but as also said before loyalty cuts both ways.

All in all, my underling thinking is that Distin has said what he has, on behalf of himself and others, for the right reasons and not the wrong ones – basically these words were spoken by ‘a man that cares’…


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