New boss can shoulder weight of Pompey expectation

Kenny Jackett. Picture: Colin Farmery
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Colin Farmery
Paul Cook celebrates winning the League Two title with Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

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KENNY JACKETT can take the heat at Pompey.

The new Blues boss has been backed to handle the weight of expectancy which falls on his shoulders after being appointed the club’s new manager.

The 55-year-old was unveiled as Pompey’s 36th boss on Friday evening, succeeding Paul Cook.

Chief executive Mark Catlin explained a big factor in making the appointment was Jackett’s previous experience with sizeable clubs.

He has delivered at Wolves, Swansea and Millwall with all three clubs demanding success. And Catlin knows it will be a similar story at Fratton Park.

He said: ‘All you can do is try to eliminate the risk.

‘The one thing I’ve learnt in my four years here, and I underestimated it, is the pressure on the manager.

‘I admit I didn’t realise it and I got it wrong.

‘When you are under pressure you don’t make your natural choices.

‘For me, having someone who’s used to big crowds and big expectations was the absolute priority for me. It was the key.

‘That’s what I’ve learnt.

‘That’s what has happened with some of the previous appointments here.

‘I’ve seen people’s personalities change under the weight of pressure.

‘So I think it was key when appointing someone like Kenny, it wasn’t just what he’s achieved but the fact he can handle those pressures.’

Catlin explained he’s seen some of Jackett’s predecessors struggle with the demands of being in the Fratton hot set.

He feels even Cook fell into that category before responding by guiding the club to the League Two title.

Catlin said: ‘I have seen a couple of managers here struggle with it. Even Paul (Cook) at times.

‘Paul is an experienced manager, strong and thick-skinned, but he struggled with it at times. Everyone could see that.

‘Paul got through that, delivered success and did a great job for us.

‘What you don’t want though, is to bring someone in who could crack under that pressure.’

Catlin has been gladdened by the reaction to Jackett’s appointment, and explained it was a move which had to be quickly sealed with other potential suitors lurking.

He said: ‘My phone has been pinging non stop with people saying how pleased they are with the appointment. We’ve got momentum and it was important we didn’t stagnate.

‘We knew there a couple of other clubs interested in him.

‘So we didn’t delay and went out and got our man.

‘We couldn’t afford to mess about. We had to show leadership and act quickly.

‘I think Kenny was waiting for the right club and it’s a great credit to us he feels this is the right place to be.’

– JORDAN CROSS