The football oddity shown respect throughout the game

Kenny Jackett speaks to the media during his first press conference at Pompey manager. Picture Ian Hargreaves
Kenny Jackett speaks to the media during his first press conference at Pompey manager. Picture Ian Hargreaves
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett, right. Picture: Shaun Boggust

Pompey boss sees cause for attacking optimism

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Some impressed, a few underwhelmed and plenty made promises they could not keep.

And, occasionally, a cluster have set alarm bells ringing with their public Pompey bows.

Guy Whittingham brimmed with quiet pride at the start of the community era at his Fratton Park home.

Nobody could quite believe it when Harry Redknapp breezed back into PO4 in 2005 like nothing had happened months earlier.

Velimir Zajec cut an uncomfortable figure as he twiddled elastic bands around his thumbs at the Blues’ former Eastleigh training home.

Others like Avram Grant eased in without the fanfare of a welcoming press conference.

Last Friday, Kenny Jackett became the 14th managerial unveiling this hack has covered in 15 years on the Pompey beat.

His trusted lieutenant Joe Gallen noted the fact with a foreboding smile, as it gives the current management team a life expectancy of just over 12 months.

What is immediately clear is we are dealing with a very different beast to the man he follows through Fratton Park’s revolving managerial door.

Jackett’s first engagement with the press showcased the very qualities which were reported time and time again, as due diligence was carried out on the new man at the helm.

Patience, calmness and respect permeated through an hour of questioning tackled with unflinching decency.

The Londoner knew where the questions were headed before they had been finished and the few short deliveries launched his way were dealt with the same good grace as more searching inquiries.

His football philosophy, the Academy, Michael Eisner, the existing squad and transfer budgets were a sprinkling of the topics discussed.

Jackett’s take on those subjects offered an insight into the mind of the new Pompey manager.

On the Blues’ moderate £3m kitty to assemble a squad, for example, there was not a shred of concern at a club of this stature being well down the League One pecking order.

Instead, the observation forwarded was there are sides who have fallen into the third tier with the weight of existing contracts on their shoulders.

Conversely, Pompey go into the campaign with momentum and a squad high on confidence. The holes are there to view in terms of options, but Jackett sees reasons to be cheerful – and is ready to overachieve.

It was a refreshing stance many who have gone before him wouldn’t have chosen to take.

It will still be a few weeks until the squad get to see his qualities we’ve heard about on the grass.

Knowledge, graft and gravitas were the traits those who have worked with Jackett reported.

This is backed up by a CV which boasts a League One title with Wolves, promotion from the third tier at Millwall and League Two joy with Swansea. Don’t forget success as part of the Watford and QPR set-ups, too.

No wonder chief executive Mark Catlin was quietly satisfied at the Blues’ Roko training base for the 55-year-old’s unveiling.

Catlin had mobilised quickly with Pompey playing catch-up on their rivals when it comes to preparing for the new campaign. His background work had taken him to some of the most respected figures in the game.

‘If Kenny is the one you’re after, do everything to get him,’ came one response from a high-powered figure.

So, a character endorsed throughout the football business.

We’re sure they’re out there somewhere, but nobody seems to have a bad word to say about the Pompey boss – a football oddity, indeed.

And, after one of the most impressive openings from any incumbent of the Fratton hot seat, you can see why he’s widely revered.