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Another open letter to Portsmouth Football Club

Dear Sacha, Storrie and I guess Dr Al Fahim (or Dr SAF as some of us will look to endearingly call you.)

I have been torn up, down, left, right and centre on the whole Glen Johnson being sold issue...

Whilst I know without a shadow of a doubt that Johnson has the ability to became a genuine world-class footballer, if he is not already, and know that he could do a job at any club in this country, and probably most in Europe if not the world - in time, if not now - I am still 'slightly' perplexed at our apparent willingness to let him go, particularly at this time?

The transfer window is open until August 31st, the last time I looked at the calendar it read June 14th so we have a good two and a half months of the summer window to go - so what is the hurry?

I expected Johnson, and others, to go without a doubt as last season wore on - if nothing else to 'ease debts' and of course 'balance the books', something that we clearly had to do. Of course we still need to do this to a degree but the cynical would think that allowing him to leave before a deal for Dr Al Fahim to take over is done for a number of reasons:

* It reduces the loss that Sacha would make, this fee can either be used to offset some of the loan owed to South African Banks and/or be recouped from the loans he gave the club which were said to be something that was willing to be written off?

* Should this happen it then reduces the amount that Dr SAF might have to pay for his purchase slightly?

* And, which is arguably the most worrying thing - although I do not think this will be the case - it leaves a little doubt in the mind that we are thinking contingency plans 'should' this takeover fall through! Selling with the apparent need to do so thought to have been reduced means we get a better price now, if we turned offers down and the takeover fell through we are left in trouble, we need to sell but buying clubs then know we are not in the driving seat, they are...

Of course, these thoughts are just theories, and I guess theories others have shared - and can you really blame them?

Like I say I had little doubt that Johnson would go as last season wore on - with this news of takeover talk my belief that he would stay raised as he has not appeared to want to leave, even though he is so good that I could understand and still expect it. So, a departure does not surprise me, but allowing this to happen now - and not in a months time seems odd? Why not let the due diligence go through, then take it from there. The timing is bound to leave many fans with more 'questions than answers' and to suggest that the fans would understand this I think is misguided?

It is such a difficult one, as I really do know how good he is and can see why he would leave - as I have said - and in many ways think that he is too good for us, but what I cannot quite make out is if we are seriously allowing this because we feel we 'owe it' to him or we are doing this because we want to 'cash in?'

There seems to be a lot of 'we cannot stand in his way' and 'it is an opportunity for him' talk but not a lot, well any, of the 'we want to keep him but it is up to him' talk?

Why is this?

It seems like we are more than happy for him to go the more I listen to interviews, with not much emphasis put on the 'if he wants to stay we would be delighted' kind of thing that I would like us to say? It seems like we are 'happy' to let him go and seem to be making the decision for him, which I have no doubt is a difficult one for him to make as he knows what it is like to leave a club for a 'bigger one' and not play. I know that Johnson is a much better player now than the one we signed but we still seem to be relenting too easily and do not seem to be putting up enough of a fight!

This is something that has seemed inevitable, but the inevitability of the outcome is starting to seem like it has come sooner than it was meant to and is being made a lot easier for potential suitors?

Johnson might not have categorically said he wanted to stay, but he has not said he wanted to go - his thoughts appear to be one of a guy that is confused himself, he is happy where he is and knows that the grass is not always greener on the other side so has reservations but also knows, as we do, that he is good enough to do so.

All-in-all it seems like we are trying to make that decision for him as despite all of what we are saying about 'doing what is are best for him', these seem to be thoughts that can be interpreted as meaning this is actually doing what is best for us, and not the club as we lose our best player - people win, but the real losers are the club who lose the best player we have who 'might' not actually be that desperate to leave at this point in time...

If we really can get £18m for him I know that this is an exceptional amount and if that is what we are seeing, lets just be honest about it - why make it out to be purely a 'great deal' for Johnson, why put it all down to him and how we cannot prevent him from this opportunity?

Should he be the one wanting to go, then fair enough say so, and I would not be disappointed it just disappoints me the way we are putting things across.

Ok, lets just say that Johnson decided that he wanted to stay, would we be happy about this and allow him to willingly stay or would we start pushing him towards the Fratton exit, which almost seems the impression we are giving now - I apologise wholeheartedly if the impression I am getting is wrong, I guess that I have become very cynical given the way football works these days, and to be quite honest the way we have worked at Portsmouth Football Club for many years...

The timing seems so wrong.

It is easy for me to say, not being the person who is basically deciding if near on £20m is the right thing to accept, but at a time when uncertainty still remains for many with all the fans and so many players left in limbo, and I think 'limbo' probably is the right choice of words, I think that deciding to accept an offer now and sell our best player at this point in time, for me, is sending out a bad message - and a message that is likely to see, or create, yet more uncertainty among so many.

Yours faithful a committed and true blue.



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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday June 14 2009

Time: 9:55AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Good article, rug. All movements in or out (except out of contract players) should be put on ice till after the takeover is done. And we should pressure on Johnson to stay - who knows it might persuade him - if he's still determined to go anyway then good luck to him. If Dr SAF wants to build us up then you would think he'd want our best players to stay.
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14/06/2009 10:05:00

even crouch is pist off ... dont blame him! this will mean we will have sold around 75 million worth of players having signed maybe 5 million in return (if that!) ... it certainly needs addressing - if we are supposed to be moving onwards and upwards then we will need to build a good team - the team could be built around johnson - but instead we get rid when it seems unclear on his wishes - we do this ALL THE TIME - essentially you have to ask, what is Dr SAF buying now? no stadium, no training ground, no team ... without a manager we are selling players and not buying a sausage (and maybe thats the answer - we will play with 11 bratwurst in august!)
Report Abuse
14/06/2009 10:06:00

Brilliant article Rug. You've hit the nail right on the head. The way this deal is being done STINKS, and is bound to bring about a cynical viewpoint. At a time when we all thought we'd been saved from the dustbin of debt, and hoped we could keep our best players, this happens. And as Pessimist points out, without a manager to say yeah or neigh. My money is on the reduction of Sacha's debt, with the view in mind that the PFC deal might fall through. And as you say, if it did fall through we'd be easy pickings for our best players because of our weak financial position.
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14/06/2009 10:51:00

I can't really add anything, other than I completly agree!
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14/06/2009 10:58:00

100% right Rug & even if we were to get 20 million we still have to replace him, impossible task even with that sort of cash.
Report Abuse
14/06/2009 11:19:00

Yong...My thoughts entirely. We flog off our best player that we could have built a new team around and now what??? Trouble is, the chances are it's less than 20 million for the best RB in the country. Bloody madness..
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14/06/2009 11:31:00

Michael carrick - a fairly average central midfielder that doesn't offer much going forwards, or much defencivly was sold for... 22 million wasn't it? Johnson is a very good defender, who is better going forwards than (almost) all our centre forwards+wingers+midfielders - and is also bettr defencivly than our other defenders.
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14/06/2009 12:15:00

I think this is a really bad move. The club need to come out with sharing some ambition with the players and fans. Personally I was hoping for a transfer embargo being placed on all our players to the new board came in. We need to know what is happening and the players also need to see this but selling Johnson just screams the wrong kind of intentions.
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14/06/2009 12:51:00

Until the club gets rid of Storrie we will never move on, he is rotten to the core!
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14/06/2009 12:59:00

Call me cynical but I wish we had sold Glen BEFORE I renewed my season ticket. iwonder if there is an escape clause in MY contract.
Report Abuse
14/06/2009 13:48:00

Storrie was under a cloud with H(Chancer)R when he left West Ham (betting scandal) Storrie is not good for us, There is a smell to everything he says and does. Even this so called take over is now under severe scrutiny by the Premier league cos of so called dodgy investors. We have been tarnished in dealings ever since Venables bought the club for a Quid. (another chancer) Lets hope that this new consortium is legit and that we can get ourselves away from all the inuendo that surrounds the club. My view is that Storrie needs to go, when and if this is sorted, and we can draw a line under his stewardship and set a new above board and transparent direction. I like many others including the players, would also like to hear what the potential owners new strategy is going to be. If these guys have plenty of money to spend then why should we sell Johnson & Crouchy. What we should be hearing is who we should be buying to stregthen the squad and what benefits there will be from their takeover. Some clear leadership required quickly, or this will turn into another farcical smoke and mirrors routine.
Report Abuse
14/06/2009 13:48:00

It is take the money and run from the current chairman, 18m in the bank now (well off the slate) is better than 12m in a month. Even if the takeover goes through it is still a month without a manager and no idea who he is and who he would like (if they are still available). So for now it is goodbye to Crouch, Johnson and Distin and hello 30m for Sasha. Makes sense really from an insurance policy perspective. If the take over fails you can keep the wolves at bay, if it goes ahead even at a reduced rate you will have some extra money to spend, although it wont be 30m and there will be only crap available but would Sasha care?
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15/06/2009 02:53:00


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