On this day: Chiefs meet on how to transfer Portsmouth into Premiership powerhouse... Blues hoping David James can lure Manchester City defender to Fratton

Have a look at the Pompey headlines that were making the back pages of The News on this day in years gone by...

Sunday, 2nd June 2019, 9:00 am
From left to right: Sacha Gaydamak, Milan Mandaric and Peter Storrie. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Chiefs plot how to change the club forever (2006)

THE HOTEL was in a discreet district of Tel Aviv. But the discussions held inside about Pompey’s £30m summer spending plans promised to change the club forever.

Pompey’s four most influential men met in Israel on Sunday, June 2 for talks designed to transform the club from a struggling Premiership side into a powerful one.

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063504-185_CAMPBELL_PFC_PORTO 10/8/06 Sol Campbell signs for Pompey before Portsmouth host Porto at Fratton Park - Linvoy Primus and Lisandro PICTURE:JONATHAN BRADY 063504-185

Harry Redknapp, Sacha Gaydamak, Peter Storrie and Milan Mandaric spent 48 hours together determining Pompey’s future.

The club’s commercial potential, youth setup and new stadium would all be on the agenda.

But what would really matter would be players – with Redknapp outlining his targets to co-owners Gaydamak and Mandaric and chief executive Storrie.

The indications were that Pompey’s boss could be given in the region of £30m to work with, a figure including expenditure on transfers and wages. Redknapp had assembled a list of more than 20 players for the five or six places he wants to fill.

A pair of strikers, a midfielder, a centre-half and a fullback were the priorities. Buying another keeper would also be considered at a meeting described by sources close to Gaydamak as a ‘brainstorming session’ between the club’s top minds.

Redknapp and Storrie were to fly back to London on Tuesday with a clearer picture on where to focus their thinking.

The pair then stepped up their attempts to recruit the talent needed to turn Pompey into a top-10 Premiership side.

Finding strikers is Pompey’s priority, with Wigan’s £4m rated Henri Camara one of the key players to be considered in Tel Aviv, where Gaydamak divides his time with London.

Nikola Zigic was also discussed, but it was unlikely that an immediate move would be made for Red Star Belgrade’s £7m-rated striker.

Redknapp needed to be convinced by good performances by the 25-year-old for Serbia & Montenegro at the World Cup.

John Hartson was not on Redknapp’s hitlist.

The Celtic striker was available for around £500,000 after turning down a move to West Brom.

Redknapp said: ‘I like John. I’d have liked to have got him in January.’  


Primus relishing defensive battle (2007)

Linvoy Primus was relishing the battle to keep his place in Pompey’s defence. The centre-half faced a new challenge with the captures of Sylvain Distin and Hermann Hreidarsson.

But Primus ws determined to play another massive part in pushing Pompey even further up the Premier League table.

And rather than being worried about the new signings, he welcomed them as superb for the club.

The 2005-06 campaign was arguably Primus’ finest at Pompey as he formed a magnificent central defensive partnership with Sol Campbell that helped Harry Redknapp’s side concede their fewest Premiership goals in a season.

The Londoner missed just two top-flight matches as the Blues let in a mere 42 goals in 38 matches and kept a dozen clean sheets.

Primus had spent seven years at Fratton Park surviving the arrival of new names.

And he regarded the signings of Distin, Hreidarsson and midfielder Sulley Muntari as further evidence of Pompey going places.

He believed they give the Blues the ammunition to improve on last season’s ninth placed finish – their best since 1955.

Primus said: ‘It’s so exciting, because as good as the season that’s just finished has been, I think the next one’s going to be even better. ‘There are quality players coming to the club in the summer, which is fantastic.

'It’s great players like that have signed. It’s what we need – competition for places can only make us a better team and take us forward.’


Blues hoping James can lure Dunne to Fratton (2008)

Pompey were banking on David James being the trump card in the battle to sign Richard Dunne.

The Blues and Spurs had both tabled £5m bids for the powerful defender, who was set to leave Manchester City that summer.

Juande Ramos’ side were understood to be the favourites for the 28-year-old’s signature, while Newcastle and Sunderland were also mulling over approaches.

Despite the fierce competition for the City skipper, Pompey were hopeful of winning the race. And James could have been be the key to luring Dunne to the south coast.

The pair became close friends during two-and-a-half seasons together at Eastlands, before the England keeper moved to Pompey.

They had remained in constant touch and James attended the Republic of Ireland international’s wedding in Florence in the summer of 2007.

Dunne also stayed with the Blues keeper when City visited Fratton Park in November of 2007, a match which ended in a goalless draw.

It was that friendship which Pompey were hoping could convince the former Everton man his future lies with Harry Redknapp’s side.

The presence of ex-defensive partner Sylvain Distin could also have been be crucial in the persuasion stakes. The pair formed an outstanding double act at the heart of the City defence for three seasons.

And Redknapp was hoping the Irishman could be convinced to snub White Hart Lane and opt for the Blues.

He said: ‘I like Dunne. He’s a top player and I think there’s a couple of clubs in for him at the moment. ‘But I think we’ve got as good a chance as anyone now.

‘We’ve got in the UEFA Cup for next year and we’ve got some good players so hopefully we can start to compete with the Tottenham's and the Villas and teams like that.’


New owner set to splash cash (2009)

Pompey's new owner was planning a summer spending spree once he assumed control of the club.

Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim was on the brink of completing his £60m takeover at Fratton Park.

And the Arab tycoon was set to loosen the purse strings straight away to bring in a host of additions.

The initial signs were that the Blues’ prospective new owner wasn’t going to be extravagant in his spending.

But it appeared the man who is said to be worth £3.5bn wanted to ‘move quickly’ to deliver success.

That meant the 31-year-old, and his fellow investors, making significant funds available to a new manager – both Roberto Mancini and Harry Redknapp had strong support for the job.

Al Fahim had made it clear that his first priority was to secure the future of the major stars at the club. The aim for the property developer was to see the Blues turned into a top-10 outfit next season where they could dwarf the £35.2m secured for finishing 14th last season.

Al Fahim promised to deliver fantasy names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas when involved with the Manchester City takeover. That wouldn’t be the case at Pompey, but sources close to Al Fahim had indicated that there would be major reinforcements arriving.

The source said: 'The doctor is a successful businessman and will want to bring that professional side he has to the running of Portsmouth. ‘His principal ambition with the club is delivering success. There is no doubt he will want to move quickly to do that.

‘The doctor is a charismatic figure who does not like to hang around. ‘When he has a task he likes to get on and do it.

‘You have to remember this was the man who organised the Manchester City takeover, and then immediately delivered Robinho.

‘It’s about completing the deal now, but we would anticipate the close season being a busy time.

There’s a lot of work to be done to ensure Portsmouth can compete effectively over the next year.'


Claridge back Cotterill to take charge (2010)

Steve Claridge urged new Blues chief executive David Lampitt to make the right managerial appointment as he told him: Steve Cotterill is your man.

Lampitt officially started work in his new role on June 1  and among his first duties was stepping up the search for Avram Grant’s successor.

Former Pompey player/boss Claridge believed Cotterill – who had left his post at Notts County and had been installed as the hot favourite to take the job at Fratton Park – was the perfect fit.

Claridge said: ‘Steve Cotterill would be my choice. I think he did a very underrated job at Burnley.

‘I thought he did very well at Cheltenham, did very well at Burnley and then made sure that Notts County went up last season.

‘I liked the way he was very magnanimous at Notts County and said that he just had to keep it going and a lot of the credit went to the people who went before him. ‘I thought that was good. He didn’t come in and make out he was the saviour but he gave credit where it was due.

‘He’s a strong character, he knows the business and knows his job. He’s managed at a lower level but he’s also managed in the Championship. ‘He gets around seeing players and that’s very important as well.

‘Everything about it just fits. He is someone who is used to working within a budget and has done very well in the three jobs that he has had.

‘I think it’s a magnificent job. Don’t ever underestimate how good a job that is. You’ve got to be proactive, you’ve got to know your stuff, you’ve got to be on top of things and it’s a massive challenge.

‘But it’s a fantastic challenge for somebody who’s got that enthusiasm and got that drive because the rewards are fantastic. The expectations won’t be too high – it will be realistic and I think people will be patient.

‘It’s a brilliant job and don’t let anyone pretend it isn’t.’