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Am I glad that window is shut!

I could not wait for the midnight hour, and just beyond - as past history has shown deals can sneak under the radar without us knowing for a while - as it was a tense day on Monday with us not really knowing who would leave, or for how much, or even how little!

Thankfully we got through the day without any major problems though.

We managed to offload a couple of players, but also got a couple in - Nadir Belhadj had been linked with us all summer, so his loan signing was not really a surprise was it and this should be a good one, although I am still not quite sure where he will play - if at all? Jon Stewart - who is what I have to say really, as to be honest I have never heard of the fella, but in our current financial predicament we would not have spent a huge amount on the keepers wages, nor to be fair would we have got him in if he did not have something about him. Free agent when signed, little to lose really.

In an ideal world we could have done with shifting some fringe players, but then we would have been well and truly down to the 'bare bones', so it was an almost no win situation in some cases. But nothing was doing was it, so these have lived to fight another day. Maybe this will prove a defining moment in some of their careers at Fratton? Chances are it will not but you never know...

Losing Jean-Francois Christophe to Southend on loan - for a month - and Martin Cranie to Charlton on loan - for the season - could have been far worse, so I will settle for this as our dealings going out, as it could have been far worse, and for a while I feared it might!

I was enjoying the transfer window in the early days, weeks and even months but then things just got totally out of control - 'links' to players were becoming ridiculous, and very tedious even. It became obvious that we did not have a great deal of money, but still these came, as did the 'talk' from Pompey. All in all, although I would clearly have preferred to have kept at least one of the players that went - Pedro Mendes - I am ultimately happy with how the summer went... The worst thing that happened for us came right at the very start of the summer, probably right at the tail end of last season - the whole 'we will sign 3 top class footballers, yet not lose any of our best players' speech from Peter Storrie!

Whilst I still think that the fella maybe gets a rough ride from some quarters, complete and utter tosh - as this mostly proved in the end - is what got most peoples back up with him here, and it is this type of thing that does not help him does it. So it as this, and things like this that were constantly used by many as a weapon to beat him and Portsmouth football club with. Maybe we should not have been 'taken in by this talk', but he made himself convincing! In all honesty we had to be realistic, and after a couple of weeks of hype I think it was clear this could not actually happen as we are not a bottomless pit of money! This said, in all fairness we have not really had a bad summer have we? We have signed some pretty good players, some absolutely fantastic players - albeit some only on loan - so can we really, take a real close and hard look, be that unhappy with our lot?

In an ideal world we could have done with getting another central midfielder in I feel as we could be left light if our main players miss out - especially when using 3 in the middle, so we could have ideally done without selling a certain Portuguese one - who I see is back in the national squad again and scored a belter at the weekend! - but there you go...

Our main priority yesterday was to keep the majority of our squad in tact, to keep the wolves from the door as it were, at least until January - and we managed this.

Now we have a good few months were we can concentrate purely on football, and 'if' we get this right we can still have a fantastic season and 'if' we get this right in the cups we can keep on advancing in them, which will generate more money and interest in Portsmouth football club.

Of course, just because the transfer window has closed this does not mean we cannot, or will not sign anyone else!

Clearly 'the best' players - on the whole - have now been snapped up, but with the world being a very, very big place with plenty of parts of it containing footballers that remain unattached, so free agents could still arrive including a certain fantastic Ghanaian international by the name of Stephen Appiah! He was a free agent yesterday, he could remain this today, tomorrow, next week or next month - so as long as this remains the case we still have the chance of signing him, and if we can convince him that 'Fratton is the place for him', if he can convince us 'he is fully fit and over his injury problems' and if 'we want him' - which we appear to - he could sign anytime, and if he did I would be absolutely delighted!

Ok, maybe not ideal and certainly not the player he was, but I also noticed that Alexei Smertin was released by Fulham yesterday - this is another example of a free agent, so it will cause us no harm to get these free agents in and take a look at them in a trial period will it? If they do ok then we offer them something, if they agree we have little to lose, if not so be it.

So, all in all I am delighted with how Monday went and to be honest pretty pleased with how the summer transfer window went on the whole, as although we have lost a few players we have also brought some in and I still think that we are more than good enough to challenge most teams in this league, have enough quality in our squad - so long as we do not get hit with a mass of injuries or suspensions - and have some players that are much better than we might suspect, so it is time to make the most of the squad we have and use most people, as the vast majority can come in and would do a job for us.

Now we have the distraction of the transfer window out of the way it is time for us to relax, unwind and enjoy the football again and I still honestly believe this will be good football and we are still more than capable of challenging for a place in the top 10 for sure, to be honest the top 6 is not out of reach and despite the money they have, and will continue to spend, we can, and I think will, finish ahead of Citeh!

The next 5 months or are going to be a crucial period for Pompey - if we can be in and around the top 6 come January, hopefully this will be enough to ensure we do not have to sell our main players in January, and if anything if we can dig really deep to ensure that we end the season strongly - and if we did the world could quite literally be our lobster...


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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday September 2 2008

Time: 8:10AM

Your Comments

Good Article Rug and it's amazing how fans feel during the Window so it must be worse for Managers. Although reasonably happy with the current squad I do still feel we haven't quite added the quality needed and this was made worse with the loss of Pedro and Sulley. Thankfully we didn't get Joey the Thug as I thought we might late last night, that really would have made it difficult to support Arry if he had come in!
If it is due to having high wage bills etc, can we not just sack/release players like Nugent, Djimi and such. Surely the money saved on wages alone would benefit the club until the next transfer window where we can pick up some new blood. Given the fact that Nuge is probly on 18-25K a week(possibly), that is 4mill saved on wages alone
After hanging in there 'til half past midnight, having less than 6 hours sleep, I am very glad it's over. And so glad, for now, we didn't sell Diarra but still miffed we didn't unload the dross. Appiah could still happen!
i'd welcome Smertin back, his problem is obvious, he only plays really well for teams with a blue home kit.
Steve C
I would welcome Appiah with open arms - however I think he will probably end up at Juventus. Overall, I think loosing muntari and mendes was pretty bad, although at least we kept one of our star midfielders, and we do still have kranjcar, who will likely move into the middle of the midfield, keeping some creativity in there. Armand traore could possibly count as a major signing - he is pure class (shame its only a loan) and Crouch obviously does too... so it's not quite as bad as it first seemed!
I'll settle for what we've got, i was just so worried we were going to lose Diarra or somebody else important.
Steve C
Just glad to wake up this morning and know Diarra's still with us...
I've come to dread the Transfer window, I know the idea is that teams won't be raided for their best players all through the season but i thinkl in someways this is more stressfull.
Steve C
I would still see to see an official denial that we were ever interested in Barton. To see that thug in Pompey blue would have been more than I could have stomached. Let's hope that deal is NEVER resurrected!
Pompey Half Pint
Agree with you Steve..still it's over now and let's hope we can consolodate now and pick up from our superb win over up pompey..
Barton!!!! don't even mention that alongside Pompey. It won't happen, positive of that.
Quite a quiet night for us in the end, and i am glad that I went to bed early rather than sitting up till 1 or whatever time it reached in January. I think our performance on Saturday may have said to Harry that the squad is good enough to have another great season.
We got Belhadj and managed to keep the rest - we got a result! Who knows, we may still get Appiah. We are Pompey - life is good!
I don't think Juve will sign Appiah. As well as being Pompey through and through, I am an avid fan of Juventus and that isn't a position that needs to be filled.
juve might not need him, but a muntari/appiah ghana partnership in the centre of midfield is a tasty prospect.
I have to chuckle with some people naievety when they say 'just release the players to save us their wages'. Do you really think you can just cancel someone's contract? You'd have to pay at least a large proportion of it and possibly all of it to get them off the books so it's not actually saving you much (if anything) plus in the case of Nugent you're writing off a saleable asset...
Well now its over the big loss for me without doubt was Muntari,hope we still can pick up Appiah, but now being strongly linked with West Ham. Still had some good ones in, & now just been annouced on Sky Sports that we only spent £300,000 in the window so we nearly broke even.
Phew! Thank goodness that's over.
Can't believe how stressed I was feeling last night what with worrying about Diarra and then the horrendous prospect of Barton. Had to get to sleep before midnight so awoke this morning feeling ok but then a sickening thud of reality as I realised that something ill-advised might have been agreed in the intervening period. My relief when checking online this morning was immense.
were you really the ones in for Joey 'Thug' Barton?
jbaker are you aware Muntari plays for Inter, not Juventus?
see Pedro's goal in the Old Firm derby?... I miss him too!

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