Reality TV show to replace Pompey soap opera

Pompey chairman Iain McInnes, centre, with Mick Williams, left, and Ashley Brown, right
Pompey chairman Iain McInnes, centre, with Mick Williams, left, and Ashley Brown, right
Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

VERITY LUSH: Leave me to browse the make-up counter in peace

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Pompey has always been a soap opera but, television execs have missed a trick as the chase for the Fratton managerial hot seat heats up.

Forget routine interviews, the process of recruiting the man to take the club forward on the pitch is a reality series waiting to be made.

The Manager – as the programme would be called – could take on an Apprentice-style format, with chairman Iain McInnes, of course, assuming the role of Alan Sugar.

Alongside him in the boardroom would be the all-seeing-eyes of Pompey Supporters’ Trust chairman Ash Brown in the position of Sugar’s side-kick Nick Hewer.

That leaves chief executive Mark Catlin to take on the mantle of, erm, Karren Brady, with a spot for football operations consultant Darren Simmons as, say, Margaret Mountford!

With the boardroom panel established, innovative tests could be assembled to put our prospective managers to the test.

Of course, we are also looking for exciting TV to keep the audiences glued to their screens.

Inspired by The Apprentice task of starting a cleaning company for £200, prospective managers can set about assembling a squad for nothing.

As always, the challenge would be against the clock, with any holes being filled by whoever is hanging around at Fratton Park.

With the likes of Kev the Kitman, fans’ liaison officer Johnny Moore and press man Neil Weld known to be cheap and hard working, they would prove obvious targets as the day nears to a close.

Next up, the candidates would be flown to Marrakech where prospective managers would be dispatched into bustling souks to purchase a list of local wares.

Whoever completes the set for the cheapest emerges victorious.

Steve Claridge, with his ability to convincingly talk the hind legs off a donkey, would be a contender here.

Likewise, Hermann Hreidarsson would be expected to shine, but only for his potential to bear hug and stand traders on their heads until he got a cheap deal.

A media-savvy challenge would put potential bosses up against the press in a mock press conference scenario.

Andy Awford would take his chance to shine here with a laid-back approach to proceedings.

Steve Cotterill had already been ruled out before turning up at Bristol City, on account of launching a tirade too many on radio commentators with a liking for over-elaborate metaphors.

Sean O’Driscoll and Steve Coppell would be in grave danger, too, with fears of sending the press into a collective coma to the fore.

A Gladiators-style round would test physical capabilities to ensure candidates can do their work on the training ground.

Duelling against Bondz N’Gala with pugil sticks on a platform would be the chosen task.

Alan McLoughlin can fill in for Scottish referee John Anderson, nicking his black and white striped official’s jersey and scaring the living daylights out of everyone by shouting ‘managers readyyyyy’ at the top of his voice.

Martin Allen would be expected to take his chance to step up here – on account that he’s the only candidate nutty enough to have a go at big Bondz.

Unfortunately for Paul Tisdale, Apprentice-esque fashion tasks for him to display his sartorial elegance over tracksuit bosses Chris Wilder and Richie Barker would not feature.

But that bunch of tests will soon sort the real managerial candidates from the also-rans, paving the way for the notorious interview stage.

This is where engagement manager Micah Hall would step up, ala Claude Littner, with a forensic breakdown of contenders.

A grilling from Hall would leave only the highest-calibre management material standing.

And that is where the ultimate decider is needed: A good old Pompey pub quiz.

Trust man and director Mick Williams would act as a no-nonsense quizmaster down the Shepherds Crook, aided by glamorous assistant Barry Harris.

In the event of a draw, club stalwart/football historian Harris could use one of his never-ending pieces of Pompey trivia for a tie-breaker.

It may be somewhat quicker and testing to see who can sit through one of Bazza’s jokes for the longest, however.

Whoever can last one of his quips from start to finish is undoubtedly made of the kind of stern stuff needed to take this club forward.

If, indeed, there is anyone left standing by the time he reaches the punchline, they more than deserve having McInnes dramatically point his finger and tell them: You’re hired!