Date: 15th January 2013 at 3:36pm
Written by:

Saturday afternoon left me feeling really quite gutted!

For the first time in God only knows how long I was actually ‘looking forward’ to a game. I knew as soon as I woke up during the night, and heard how heavy the rain was – even if it calmed down a bit in the morning before the heavens opened again – the game would be off.

I expected another defeat, Notts County would almost certainly go away with the points, but a sense of seeing a number of players leaving that clearly did not want to be with us for any other reason apart from the money left me of the belief we were about to start seeing, more and more, players playing for us that wanted to do so. Those all-important ingredients of effort, passion, commitment and desire were about to be witnessed?

It was a frustrating day, but it did have some highlights that I enjoyed – a brief impromptu visit to Cosham in the afternoon for a couple of jars before I went home was good! – and something I found quite fascinating was reading an article from The News on Saturday about how the players that joined us on our pre-season tour of Spain have now ALL left with the exception of one player!

This one player was even perhaps the one few would have actually thought we would have signed anyway?

When so many of the players we were giving ‘trials’ too turned up my immediate thoughts were ‘how can we afford this’, I then thought ‘surely we are doing this within budget and would not be stupid enough to spend beyond these means again’ but it transpires that we almost certainly did, which amazes me!

Wages in the region of £12,000-£20,000 per month ‘appear’ to have been collected from a number of these ‘superstars’, although I do digress…

The insight into the players that came on trial and ‘made the cut’, as well as those that did not; really did make for good reading. The News sometimes gets a bit of a bashing, rightly so at times of course, but that was the type of thing – even if it was not exactly a topic to enjoy as such – I enjoy reading in the local paper, it was nicely written and would like more of the like.

It is incredible to think that all of those that joined us for that tour either opted to go elsewhere, did not get contracts or have now left us (or will) with the exception of Simon Eastwood!

Like I said arguably the least likely to get a contract has become the only survivor, and to be fair he is starting to look a decent keeper.

Players of his ilk, from his type of football league slipping into non-league looking to come back into it again background are the types of players we should have been looking at all along really, although of course it is easy to say this with the benefit of hindsight!

That said, I genuinely was expecting that level of player to come in, and thought the squad would also be heavily supplemented with academy and development squad graduates?

Ok, in all honesty perhaps I cannot say I was completely in favour of this but once I weighed up the pros and cons of this and got mentally prepared for such an idea for this season I welcomed, and embraced this. Again hindsight is a wonderful thing but how I wish that had been the way, as it now looks we are going to anyway, from the off!

At least, in theory, some enjoyment can be had by myself (and others) over the second half of the season as we get to view more and more players that genuinely want to be here (and will be next season), pull on the famous blue shirt with pride and will go out and give us 100% effort, commitment and passion week-in-week-out, even if the outcome in terms of results remains the same…

As I touched upon of course I cannot lie, the ‘star names’ we lined up this season left me ‘impressed’ to begin with but it soon became apparent these were the latest band of mercenaries passing through on their merry way that have raided the Pompey vault and given us little back!

Nothing is ‘won on paper’ but these guys, even if they were always leaving after half a season, should have done so with us in a much healthier position than we are. The fact that we are not should leave them feeling ashamed of themselves, not that they will even remotely be of course…

I have not had a lot of time for Brian Howard but what I must praise him for was the fact – even if this almost certainly was yet another tab picked up by PFC! – that it has come to light that he insisted that the younger members of the squad, that travelled to Spain for pre-season, went out with the senior players on a night out they were granted on the final evening of the tour. That shows a touch of class, arguably the best bit of quality he showed during his time with us…

Hands up those of you that genuinely would have thought Simon ‘Clint’ Eastwood would have been the one and only trialist that we took to Spain that would have been left with us 6-months later, especially given the fact so many eventually went onto sign contract with us?


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