Toast season 2 # 41 Holidays are here
Wow what a week and one Pompey fans everywhere will never forget. After limping over the safety line in what a memorable but instantly forgettable season we all waited for the mass exodus of star players during the summer transfer window before starting a new season with Hayden Mullins as captain and a collection of free transfers to back him up. We all prayed that a buyer could be found to steady the ship and perhaps leave us with some chance of staving off relegation come May 2010.
Then about 14:00 hours on 27th May 2009 that all changed when the news broke that a buyer for the club had been found and it was far more than any ordinary buyer. At first it appeared that the buyer was Doctor Sulaimen Al-Fahim a wealthy businessman from the United Arab Emirates. Then later we discovered that he was only fronting a collection of investors from the Middle East and Asia.
Whatever, serious money is involved and the future of the club would seem to in safe hands for the foreseeable future but how did it all happen? Well for sure it was not an instant decision by one man and have been put together of a fair period of time.
The company involved are private equity company, Falcon Equity. They will have spent some time looking for interested parties and would have needed a prospectus for them to look at. That would have taken a fair bit of time. Then we assume the final decision could not be taken until Pompey were safe.
So now the deal is done what will the investors look for in return for their cash? Well they certainly will want more than a seat in the directors box for certain. They will of course have been told not to expect a financial return in the early years but will anticipate a profit probably from the property that will certainly come from a new stadium.
While Dr Al-Fahim may be looking to develop his new hobby of Premier League football but the others will be keen to make something.
Whatever the future holds and we are only trying to be realistic, one man must be thanked for putting Pompey in the position where investors were prepared to have a flutter. Than man is of course caretaker manager Paul Hart.
Pulled from the Academy on the dismissal of Tony Adams he quickly assessed the situation and decided the defence had to be strengthened. He did that not by changing personnel as they were the same defence that had won the cup the previous season but by putting a barrier in front of them in the manner of three central midfield players.
It meant that attacking football was at a premium as the main object was to stop the opposition scoring. It got a lot of criticism but it worked! Points were gained at Stoke City, Hull City, Middlesbrough and Newcastle. Hart felt it was all about stopping the teams below and around us picking up three points which could have led to their confidence getting a boost.
Ii doubt Paul will get the job on a permanent basis but with the new investors talking about spending heavily on youth and the future then surely there is no better man to run the Academy?
A more attacking manager may have won all those games and with some luck we could have even squeezed into the Europa Cup spot which eventually Fulham claimed with just twelve more points than Pompey but the defence had to be protected as they were leaking goals especially late in games.
Safety has meant the club can now open the chest at the end of the rainbow!
Thanks to Sacha
We must of course ensure that the Gadaymak reign does not pass without ensuring every Pompey fan says a very big thank you to Sasha. He took the club from Milan Mandaric and won us the FA Cup and a place in Europe.
It was all done at probably a huge personal cost a figure we will never get to know. He bought us players we could only dream off and took on massive debts to finance them. He was brave (some might say foolish) but it worked and who will ever forget his face when he walked across the Wembley turf carrying the famous trophy.
Some had talked about a statue of Milan at any new stadium maybe he needs to be joined now by Sacha. Nobody of course should ever forget the part that Peter Storrie has played in the whole story either.
Move over SAF
The press have long referred to Sir Alex Ferguson as SAF but now we have Doctor Sulaimen Al-Fahim should we call him Dr SAF?
Some have began to call him Doctor Dosh but the Toast team have decided we prefer Dr SAF.
Was reading a Sky Sports email giving a review of the season when I stumbled across 'In charge of Portsmouth at the time, Jamie's dad accepted the invitation to steady the Spurs ship`
Sorry Sky but that is a Vital Pompey line or is our influence spreading to all corners of the media.
Last week we promised the seasons awards but lack of space and more importantly time has meant we did not manage to watch the pile if videos of all the matches. However we have decided that the most influential player of the season is Hermann Hreidarsson.
The reason is for the way he picked up the team towards the end of the season with important goals but also his never say die attitude. He also played a major part is getting the crowd going when they were quiet. Thanks to the Hermanator - sadly he was run ragged against Wigan in last game by Luis Antonio Valencia - is he a premier League player next season?
Meet the buyer
Well you all know how hard the Toast team will go for an exclusive story. Sadly despite all efforts to talk to Dr SAF we have failed but then on Friday night we managed a smaller success.
We ran into someone who met his father many years ago working on a construction site in Dubai in the early nineties. He said that the children (on of whom may have been Dr SAF) were often about but the father was a great businessman who knew and got what he wanted. Like father like son then.
Commiserations to Pedro Mendes for missing out on the chance of achieving a unique double yesterday. He would have become the first player to have won the FA Cup one year and the Scottish Cup the next.
Congratulations to Vfl Wolfsburg on winning the Bundesliga for the first time in their history. Pompey`s UEFA Cup opponents clinched the title last week with a thumping 5-1 win over Werder Bremen. They have the best home record in any of the major European leagues. They also became the first club in Bundesliga history to have two players score over twenty goals in a season - Grafitte scored 28 and Dzeko 26.
We will by now know whether Alain Perrin`s AS Saint-Etienne have been relegated from the French top flight or will it be Portsmouth`s twin city Caen who slip to the second tier?
Remember to click on the players name to link to Pompeyrama statistics. Very few this week which is just as well really.
Sebastien Schemmel will be 43
Alan Knight will be 48
Terry Ryder will be 81
To Chix and all of you off on holiday shortly have a great break and dream of next season. Don't forget those snaps of you in your Pompey shirt in famous or far away places.
Toast will be back in two weeks with the fidrt Al Fresco's summer specials and news of the Vital Pompey summer get together on July 11th.