Date:Monday July 31 2006
The hottest topic surrounding Fratton Park is transfer activity. And although it gets frustrating and boring at times with player after player being linked to the club, why can`t we attract anyone? Some recently aired thoughts got me thinking, what have we got to offer, why would players want to sign, but on the other hand these can be more than countered with why wouldn`t they?
True, in terms of history, and if we are talking about what we have actually won we are not a "big club" but not everyone has won the Championship, and on more than one occasion it must be added, albeit more than 50 years ago, but history is just that isn`t it? I`m proud of what we`ve achieved and will never forget it, and don`t follow them for what they have done, or even indeed what they will, or might do but we live for the here and now don`t we and what can be?
We don`t have the ground or facilities the times we live in call for or demand. But realistically lets be honest we didn`t expect to be in this position four or five years ago, so we never had the need or finances available for this, but it is something that will happen in the not too distant future. Fratton Park does generate one of the best, if not the best atmospheres around. If you haven`t been there you can`t fully appreciate it, no matter how good it sounds on TV or radio so a new ground would see this maybe lost somewhat, so in terms of the here and now the ground could be argued to be the best around?
We don`t win every week and travel poorly but how many teams really do win constantly, for this you need the players and for this you need the HUGE salaries to be paid, which keeping to a budget to suit the club we possibly can`t offer, but wouldn`t somewhere between, or around £30-40,000 per week not be big enough? To move forward we need to pay the money but you can`t run before you walk can you, so you can`t place all your eggs in one basket. Let`s face it we`ve only just missed out on relegation so if results don`t pan out on the field as planned we could be in a world of trouble with many high earners on our books, although this is looking at the glass half empty isn`t it?
Geographically we are well situated, within easy travelling distance to other big towns or cities, London being the main draw is no time away.
I`m not looking at this merely through my Pompey tinted spectacles, trying to also see it as a true football fan. It is out of the question to think that we will win the title in the coming season, anyone who seriously harbours these thoughts has spent too much time with Howard Marks! Maybe realistically it is difficult to even entertain thoughts of us ever winning titles again full stop, but pushing on for mid table at the very least has to be a minimum first target, with the right players, and consistent level of play is a possible European place via the UEFA Cup really that much of an outside possibility this season? It has to be the goal without question if we really mean business in the next few years.
If footballers have the balls to take a so called "risk" and sign for us, they can be part of the new revolution, be a part of making something that has already started once it bares its full potential. If these footballers really want to play football, and Premiership football, then £30-40,000 per week would be more than adequate wouldn`t it?
The argument of loyalty will always come into question when we are linked to, or eventually sign players, but does loyalty really have a place in football anymore? You can say you love a team one week and then leave the next, sign a lucrative deal and be sold almost the same day. It works with Managers, and Chairmen too. Managers aren`t always shown, or always show clubs or players so called loyalty, we could even argue that Redknapp`s decision to let Brian Priske leave recently has shown a lack of loyalty to him? With some notable exceptions most footballers merely play for a club simply because that is what they do, that is their job, they want to play football for a living, and as such will be employed by who comes along that is right for them at the time. Given a chance, if the move was right most would move onto another team almost any day of the week, maybe not always for the right reasons, but also not always simply for the money as people will think. So to say we only want players to join us that will remain loyal and be proud to wear the shirt in my honest opinion isn`t a valid argument. Some would say, rightly or wrongly that surely only local lads of a club can be 100% totally proud to wear teams` colours and truly, unquestionably know what it really means? Players are proud to represent teams, but to be actually born and bred in an area can only give you this unquestioned ultimate sense of pride? I`m not saying it is the right or wrong way to think, it is merely what some will, and do. If we can sign a player we have to sign him, not worry about him wanting to leave at the earliest available moment. If he will help us go to where we want to go we have to make the most of them as they will arguably us.
Basically, and probably even back to the original thoughts, in summary we can offer players the opportunity, that another fifteen clubs can only really offer and that is a chance to play, and play regularly in the biggest and best league in the world, the Premiership. The other "big four" can offer the chance at the title but only have so many places available, so guaranteed first team football might not always be available. These players will have the chance to create more history, eventually in a new ground in front of the best crowd in the country (this is not merely my biased opinion, it is a widely held, and believed view) where we will see still improving results on and off the field as we make our move into the new and exciting era. They`ll all want to jump on the band wagon eventually, so why not do it sooner rather than later, although I`d guess if there isn`t actually a sooner, will there indeed be that later, or is this merely the glass half empty again…
Date:Monday July 31 2006
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