Dowling: Promises weren’t kept

Luke Dowling, left, with former Pompey coach Ashley Westwood
Luke Dowling, left, with former Pompey coach Ashley Westwood
Matty Kennedy. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey 1 Southend 0: They said what

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Luke Dowling was lured by the promise of a Portpin takeover and the creation of a West Brom-inspired infrastructure.

Six months later, he leaves for Blackburn with Pompey fighting to avoid League Two and haunted by liquidation.

Pompey’s former head of recruitment does not need to bemoan a July move from Crystal Palace which turned sour.

After all, at least Michael Appleton offered him an escape route along with John Keeley and Chris Neville.

For the fans attempting to save their club, the long agony continues.

Nonetheless, there is anger from Dowling over how those blueprints presented to him upon his Pompey arrival have swiftly been shredded.

He said: ‘The way I look at it, everyone should still be there.

‘At the start of the season the club was getting bought. We thought Portpin were coming in and had many, many plans.

‘We had a £4.5m wage bill, there was a good core staff, Michael wanted the club to be run in a similar foundation to West Brom.

‘It was all about giving it a go at trying to get promoted at the first time of asking.

‘Michael had been at a very good football club in West Brom and it was his intention to go along the same route here (at Pompey), that is what attracted me.

‘In the short-term I was to be head of recruitment, but then eventually take on a role similar to Dan Ashworth (West Brom’s sporting and technical director).

‘I was made promises when I left Crystal Palace to come here. They didn’t come forward and when I say that it’s not Michael Appleton’s fault, he just relaid the news from those trying to sell the club.

‘Suddenly the wage bill was adjusted and the list to get players changed. The takeover was not happening in the August window, then we got towards Christmas and there was still no news.

‘Trevor Birch has had to cut costs, the wage bill and then the training ground. Over time you would have thought it would have got better but it got worse and worse.

‘I don’t even know who is to blame. It is a shame for the football club, that’s the main thing.

‘We should all still be there, though. Michael was going to put us in the right direction and where the club should be. It should be happening.’

Irrespective of Dowling’s job title, his remit was to scout players and opposition.

His departure means there are no full-time scouts employed by Pompey.

But Dowling insists he enjoyed his time at Fratton.

He added: ‘There is no point looking back and being negative. I’ve met some good people in a short space of time.

‘I would have loved to have stayed at a great club but I am now going to team up with the manager who brought me to the club originally.

‘It’s just a shame what has happened at Pompey.’