Here we go again
So, we now have two organisations that 'speak for the fans' issuing statements about what they want to happen next.
SOS Pompey again want 'peaceful protests', their statement read: 'Following the end of the court case with HMRC last summer and, despite describing himself as a reluctant owner, Balram Chainrai once again took ownership of Portsmouth Football Club.
'Mr Chainrai and business partner Levi Kushnir have constantly repeated their mantra of only protecting their investment, yet they must realise that they have a duty of care to the club and supporters.
'A lack of investment and the sale of players have left manager Steve Cotterill with a threadbare squad heading into a crucial part of the season and an uphill battle to stay in the Championship.
'David Lampitt approached SOS Pompey in an attempt at appeasement following the announcement of our intended protest prior to the match against Leeds United.
'In the spirit of togetherness we decided to postpone that protest and sit down and talk.
'It is now very clear that those talks were merely lip service and we call upon him to resign with immediate effect.
'SOS Pompey call upon all supporters to voice their concern about the direction that our club is taking.
'It is now clear that the owners are content to allow our club to drift rudderless without investment or care.
'We ask you to fully support the manager and team who need us now more than ever, but we must leave the owners in no doubt we hold them in the same contempt that they hold us.
'We ask you to join us in a noisy yet otherwise peaceful demonstration of our anger.
'Bring your Pompey colours, banners and above all your voices to the gates of Fratton Park in Frogmore Road 2pm prior to this Saturday's game.'
This was followed up with The Trust issuing this: 'Following the close of the January transfer window the Pompey Supporters' Trust has expressed its disappointment that no permanent players were signed to help Steve Cotterill and the threadbare squad we currently have.
'The policy of "quality over quantity" that is being pursued by the club is puzzling and is certainly a gamble. If that gamble fails and we end up being relegated to Division One, then fans will rightly ask who will carry the blame.
'It is clear that fans' already thin patience has finally snapped and direct action is being planned by some groups. The PST understands fans' frustrations and we share them, though we will leave it up to individual fans to decide how they act upon those frustrations - but we urge them to be lawful. We also ask fans to support the team during the 90 minutes of every game this season. They will need our own special brand of passion behind them if we are to stay in the Championship.
'The failure to recruit the necessary players in the transfer window has to be explained in full by the club. The managers comments today regarding the sale of John Utaka is of great concern, and suggests that the sale has been made for financial and not footballing reasons. We recognise the need to keep the books balanced but we were told that there was no requirement on the Manager to sell during the January window.
'This discrepancy has to be explained to fans' satisfaction because that information was passed onto fans by the Trust in good faith. We must also be assured that funds and wage savings from the sale of John Utaka can only be used to fund future player purchases and wages.
'Extreme efforts must also now be made to resolve the problems of particular player contracts that are hampering the team, the players involved need to realise that the club is the most important thing to every Pompey Fan and playing for it is an absolute privilege.
'It is clear now that the owners have no interest in the Club during the CVA and they refuse all polite requests for them to speak to Fans. It is up to all of us, fans and club staff to pull this great club out of the mire. We can succeed, in spite of the obdurate ownership, to turn our fortunes around.
'Finally the PST ask all Pompey fans to unite and support the Team despite whatever else is happening, we are all football fans first and foremost and acclaimed by many as the best in the country. Let's live up to that acclaim.'
Now, to be fair, I can understand where both are coming from in many ways although some key areas, especially as far as John Utaka's transfer to Montpellier goes, seem to have been missed, I think?
'The Torpedo' made it clear that HE wanted to leave!
Ok, we did not have to let him leave but after all the months, and years, of trying to offload this high earner we finally manage this at arguable the worse time although the money made from this sale, and the wages saved as a result, will make so much difference to the clubs future...
At least it SHOULD!?
Whilst I have the utmost respect for these organisations and know of, am friends - close friends with some - involved in these, well The PST at least, for me all these actions seem to be doing is further causing frictions among the fans and far from uniting us is this not dividing us, is it not?
My main problem with any of this is the constant reference to 'representing the fans', although what these fail to remember is that they represent, for arguments sake, the majority of the minority and NOT the majority as a voice that covers some 2,500 is by far the majority...
Calling for David Lampitt's head is, for me anyway, such a bad thing to be doing.
As far as I am concerned he is one of the best things to happen to this club, his failing in recent weeks was the almost 'cast iron promise' players would arrive - this set him up for a fall, and it would appear that he is being pushed by someone that should be working with, and not against, him.
People see him as Chainrai's 'puppet', although is he?
I would be more concerned should he be cast aside as, albeit it perhaps naïve at times, someone with undoubted integrity - his previous work with the FA proves this - would be lost to the club. Someone that is ONLY willing to do deals that is in the best interests of this club and within a realistic budget is also what we need is it not?
A Storrieteller type who throws money around left right and centre will leave us going back to square one again...
Steve Cotterill screwed him over on Tuesday morning with his post transfer window comments, especially where Utaka was concerned - he threw him to the lions and did him up like a kipper!
At the end of the day this 'quality over quantity' approach MUST have been something shared from boardroom level DOWN TO, and including, Cotterill, right?
So is he not as accountable as Lampitt for these failings - Lampitt's only failing, I assume, is a stance of not spending over the odds in transfer fees and wages. The likes of player we were going to were always likely to command decent amounts for both I guess.
Realistically players of a higher standard will command a higher wage, we have a CVA agreement in place that means we cannot extract the urine from people and then go out and splash the cash - and Balram Chainrai and co have made it perfectly clear that they will not do this.
Yep, we have to be competitive but our wage bill is STILL way too high so we could not really add players on that much money to it, could we?
I get the fact that questions are asked of Chainrai and his mates, and the whole issue stinks - the fact that he was able to put us into admin and then bring us out of it, especially given all the previous links seems wrong.
Then again had it not been for this Portsmouth Football Club would be no more. There was no one else coming in to save us, those that were soon moved on when they saw the state we are in. Chainrai is by no means a 'saviour' that needs to be hailed, he clearly wants his money back and from the looks of it he can get this, and no more, by us carrying on.
Slipping down another division would, for me, just about kill us off as survival at this level for a good few years is a must. And, depleted squad or not we should have enough to stay up - Cotterill has to work 'his magic' now.
I still feel that there should have been players out there that we could have brought in on money we could have afforded - and you could argue that there are still free agents out there that we 'could' bring in on short-term deals with the option of them earning a longer term contract if they impress?
All of that said the decision to discard some of the younger players looks all the more perplexing - so, that IS NOT Lampitt's fault, or Chainrai's for that matter. Cotterill opted for that, so the buck must stop with him on this area!
I am trying to see all sides, views and opinions but, whilst we will always see people unhappy, I truly am not convinced that the 'majority', which it is often said these organisations speak for, really do want these 'peaceful protests' and whilst it will be said that 'we cannot do nothing', you have to ask what good, well I have to say I do, will this do?
You will never have fully united fans but at a time, and these organisations themselves say this, that we need fans to be as united as possible I cannot help but think that this drives another wedge between so many of us and just gives another area of the club that is fragmented, and will bring the kind of publicity upon us again that we do not need or want.
In an ideal world Chainrai would move on and a 'saviour' come in, we do not live in an ideal world and I genuinely CANNOT see a white knight arriving, I love this club with all my heart but WHAT, apart from the fans, do we have to offer now?
The past decade, or thereabouts, had some magical highs but if we wipe out most of that - the majority that came beyond our means - we would pretty much be where we are now, like we always were so those years of success seem to have altered so much and perhaps a realism of PFC has changed?
We literally have, or will do, a dozen players - tops I would think - under contract come the summer. And this 'quality' will be far less than the 'glory years'. We WILL see another clearout of players, but then we, assuming we stay in this league, do have the chance of building a squad that is sustainable and affordable. By moving on half a dozen of the highest earners, I would think that in theory we could bring in a dozen to a dozen and a half of decent nopower championship players to replace them...
It seems like we are drifting aimlessly into oblivion, although I still think that this summer will give us the clearest indication as to a desire to allow us to do this or not, Chainrai and co have. As said we MUST stay in this league though.
I suspect that we will see major changes this summer again, and I am not convinced that whatever happens Cotterill will opt to stay on, but quite what is looking to be achieved at this time by protests, that I feel a number involved in will not actually understand, confuses me?
PLAY UP POMPEY!