What sold Pompey to Dr. Dosh?
Of course everybody has a point of view at a time like this and with no facts to work with it's a great time to speculate as nobody can actually claim somebody else is wrong! It's just opinion and each of us is entitled to our own as much as the next man or woman.
After a while however, the same old theories and conjecture get recycled over and over and over again to such an extent that I actually get bored of reading them. There is, after all only so much you can do with the fact that Pompey appear to be getting a new owner who is considerably richer than all of us put together.
So I decided to write about something different, but didn't know what. Then, it occurred to me.
As I was pondering how to break 'the ever increasing circle of speculation' I suddenly realised that the man that made all this possible; Uncle Peter Storrie must have, at some point, had to 'sell' Pompey to the Doc… Just think about that for a minute..
We are talking about convincing an extremely wealthy bloke (and his mates) to put up in the region of £60m to take on a club carrying a huge debt, a squad of (mostly) under-performing players (some of whom want out), a crumbling stadium with the lowest capacity in the Premiership (albeit with a development pending), an un-started training ground development, and a 'pie in the sky' idea for a new ground to host Olympic football should Captain Beckham and his cronies convince the people in power that England could host such an event.
OK, so I've focussed on the negatives a little, but it still begs the question "What was it that made the Doc sign on the dotted line?"
Some articles I've read in the past couple of days suggest he liked the look of Gunwharf, other reports state that he was impressed by the fact that we were situated by the sea, some went as far as to hypothesize that the Spinnaker Tower reminded him of the Burj Al Arab: That seven star hotel in Dubai. What utter tosh! Are we really that stupid to believe anybody would invest upwards of £60m+ because they admired some architecture !
The thing that sold Pompey to the Arabs was us. The fans, supporters and followers of Portsmouth Football Club and I'll explain why.
Sure the 'potential' for our little club to upstage the 'Wealthy Four' would have been an attraction. True also, that a model of the new training ground would have been impressive to play-with, as would have been a cardboard mock-up of the new stadium on Horsea Island (or wherever it is this week), but those things do not make us stand out from the rest. Plenty of clubs need further development.
So what was our Unique Selling Point? If you think about it hard enough it is obvious and soon you'll see why.
If YOU were in the market to buy a football club and were sitting through a video at a sales presentation the thing that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, the thing that would stir your emotions more than anything else would be the sight of 200,000 people on Southsea Common welcoming home a cup winning team or the noise of 20,000 people inside a packed Fratton singing 'Tony Adams (bless him) Blue Army' for half an hour non stop . Wouldn't you think … "Now THERE is untapped potential. These fans turn out in numbers and are truly passionate"
We very often beret ourselves at the fact that Fratton Park is not as noisy at it once was and that we should get behind the team more (which of course we should) but if any one of us had to conduct a presentation on the potential of Pompey FC would we not show footage of the very things I've mentioned - I'll answer that for you … Of course we would!
Given the Doc's comment "Portsmouth has incredible history, and its fans are some of the most loyal in the world of football" I have no doubt whatsoever that he has been sold an image of the most passionate, most loyal and most noisy set of supporters in England filling a new stadium. I can just see it now…
Uncle Peter steps forward and says "The thing is your 'Doctorship Highness Important one' we can only accommodate 10% of the people on the Common in our current location. Imagine what noise 40,000 would make in a new purpose built stadium"
Sure, Premiership survival was key to the deal being actually signed but why was there a deal there in the first place and why having looked at other 'small' clubs such as Spurs and Newcastle did he pick us?
To me the answer is obvious. Survival was a pre-requisite, the status of our Academy a benefit, the new stadium an investment opportunity but we, the heart and soul, the pride and passion even the heartbeat of the club were the USP.
So be prepared to show your pride, be ready to demonstrate your passion and above all gear up for the most dynamic change ever in the history of PFC. It is down to us - Let's all enjoy it