On this day: Portsmouth weigh up Koroman return… Hart undecided by future… Finnan leads player exits

Have a look at the Pompey headlines that were making the back page of The News on this day...

Thursday, 16th May 2019, 7:35 pm
Ognijon Koromann PICTURE: STEVE REID

Pompey may yet sign Koroman despite releasing the Serb star (2006)

Pompey may make a return bid for Ognijen Koroman – despite releasing the Serb winger.

At the time, Koroman was one of eight players told they did not have a future at Fratton Park as the Blues trimmed their playing staff in readiness for bringing in new recruits.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Steve Finnan

The 27-year-old and Azar Karadas were told they would not have their loan deals renewed and joined Vincent Pericard, Sander Westerveld, Andrea Guatelli, Aliou Cisse, Gary Silk and Liam Horsted in leaving the club.

Koroman’s exit came as a surprise, with Harry Redknapp stating he was keen to do a deal with Terek Grozny for the player.

Redknapp had been impressed with the winger in training after he gained fitness following his arrival in January.

Koroman scored on the final day of the season against Liverpool and was set to star for his country in the World Cup.

Milan Mandaric revealed Pompey had not been able to strike a deal for the player, but they had not given up hope of landing him this summer.

Mandaric said: ‘We have not been able to come to an agreement for Koroman.

‘We are still looking at what we can do but at the moment we have not been able to make it happen.

‘There is still the possibility we will be able to do something in the future. We are progressing with making a list of players who will be our targets.

‘These are the people we feel will make a difference and will take us to the next level.

‘But to make room for these people we have to release others.’

Pericard vowed to prove Pompey wrong after being shown the door.

The French striker, who hit 10 goals and terrorised defences in Pompey’s 2002-03 title-winning season, admitted being told he was on his way had hurt him.

Pericard said: ‘I’m very disappointed. If I’m honest I imagined it was going to come, but when it actually becomes official it hits you hard.

‘There was no explanation given to why this was happening, which is unfair.

‘I would have no problems playing in the Premiership.

‘I know I can do it and will do it. It’s just a shame it will not be with Portsmouth.

‘I was told a couple of days ago what was happening. I spoke to Harry last week but have not heard anything since.

‘I’ve got no problem with him, though. I respect his decision.

‘Time will tell whether he made the right move in releasing me. I will prove it wasn’t. I’m only 23 and have another eight years at the top, at least. There is more to come from me yet.’

Redknapp sets Todorov top-flight challenge

Harry Redknapp challenged Svetoslav Todorov to prove he is a Premiership goalscorer.

The Pompey boss wanted to see the Bulgarian hitman stay at Fratton Park and hit the top-flight goal trail.

And Redknapp promised the fans’ favourite he would be given the chance to do that.

Todorov had limited opportunities the previous season to show the killer instinct in front of goal he undoubtedly possessed.

The then 28-year-old spent half the season out on loan at Wigan and scored two goals for Pompey despite starting just one game.

Todorov had been offered a one-year deal, with negotiations continuing.

And Redknapp wanted the striker to commit and then deliver at the highest level.

Speaking to The News at the time, Redknapp said: ‘Kanu is capable of scoring goals and has done this season. But he is not really a renowned goalscorer.

‘Andy Cole is the only real proven goalscorer we have at the club.

‘He is the only one who has done it at the highest level in the past.

‘Benjani didn’t score loads last season and nor did Lua.

‘Coley is the only one who has done it at that level.

‘That’s why next year it’ll be interesting to see what Toddy does.

‘He’ll get his chance next season.

‘He scored a lot of goals for us in the Championship. But we don’t know so much about the Premiership.’

Todorov’s Pompey goal record stood up to inspection.

At the time, he had hit the back of the net 33 times in 57 starts since joining from West Ham in 2002.

Boss Hart undecided over Pompey future (2009)

Paul Hart insisted he remained undecided over whether he wanted to stay on as Pompey boss.

It was mission accomplished for the man charged with securing the Blues’ Premier League status.

Now the question was: Who will be at the helm for next season?

Peter Storrie had already indicated Hart is his favoured choice.

Yet the man himself wanted to have discussions with both his wife and right-hand man Brian Kidd before deciding whether to consider returning to full-time management.

It meant stepping away from his designated role as Pompey’s director of youth operations. 

Hart said: ‘Nothing has changed with my situation.

‘I would still hope to be here next season because I have two years left on my youth director contract, but as for anything else, we will just have to wait and see.

‘I have enjoyed this role but my wife Vicky didn’t really want me to take it and I think it is fair to say that when I said yes to Peter Storrie, I didn’t really know what it entailed.

‘At first it was to take training for only a few days and possibly be in charge for one match, but it has gone on from there.

‘People can talk all they want but when it gets to this stage all I do is work from day-to-day and I’ve no idea of what might happen now.’

Hart’s future was also affected by a potential new takeover of Pompey.

At the time, executive chairman Storrie revealed the club were in talks with two separate investors to buy out current owner Sacha Gaydamak.

And he expected a deal to be in place by early July of that year.

Storrie told The News: ‘I am in advanced talks with two interested parties and believe a deal will be struck by the start of July.

‘That’s when the transfer window opens and that’s when we will need to know what money we have to prepare for next season.

‘So I am optimistic about the club’s future.’

Veteran Finnan leads player exits at Blues (2010)

Steve Finnan was shown the door as Pompey began to clear the decks.

The former Liverpool man was keen to remain at Fratton Park for Championship football next season.

But he was among four players told they would not be offered new deals.

Jamie Ashdown, Angelos Basinas and OJ Koroma also departed after administrator Andrew Andronikou, who was hoping to raise £15m from player sales, and Pompey’s coaching staff thrashed out the retained list in a London meeting.

However, as revealed by The News that week, David James, Hermann Hreidarsson, Ricardo Rocha, Joel Ward and Marlon Park were all offered fresh contracts.

Pompey were also attempting to bring Anthony Vanden Borre back to the club from Genoa on another season-long loan.

In addition, Kanu had also been asked to stay, while Lenny Sowah and Matt Ritchie had their existing contracts extended.

Academy midfielder Tom Kilbey also won a new deal and keeper Jon Stewart, who had been trialling at the season’s end, had been offered a contract.

Meanwhile, Linvoy Primus, who had retired, had been asked to stay on at the Blues in an unspecified role.

Pompey’s other loanees, Jamie O’Hara, Aruna Dindane, Frederic Piquionne and Hassan Yebda, had all returned to their parent clubs.

Birch reveals Pompey have enough money to stay afloat until fire sale ignites (2012)

Trevor Birch conceded Pompey’s fire sale will not ignite until the end of the summer.

But the club’s administrator insisted there was enough finance in place to see the Blues through to a key Football League meeting at the end of the month.

The futures of Jamie Ashdown and Ricardo Rocha were set to become clearer, with the pair expected to find out if they will remain at Fratton Park.

In terms of exits, however, Jason Pearce was the only player to leave following his £500,000 move to Leeds.

Joel Ward was likely to follow him out of the door, with sides lining up to land the versatile Emsworth talent.

Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool were the latest outfits in the £450,000 hunt for Ward.

They had joined Crystal Palace, Ipswich, Leeds and Burnley in the race for his services.

But Birch confirmed there was still no movement with regard to other players leaving.

Despite being keen to get rid of the club’s top earners as quickly as possible, he had yet to receive any firm bids for any players.

The administrator had, however, admitted there had been a number of enquiries for Michael Appleton’s squad members.

Birch believed clubs were waiting to make their moves until later in the summer to save on paying out more on wages.

The fear was Pompey would struggle to make it through to the Football League AGM on May 30, when they had to show they could fulfil their obligations for the following season.

That’s when it was anticipated a new owner would be at the helm, with Balram Chainrai tabling a bid.

The money was in place to see the Blues through the month but Birch believed the player sales would now go way beyond that date.

He told The News: ‘There’s nothing to report, no news at all.

‘Clubs will hold back because they don’t want to carry the cost over the summer.

‘It’s really difficult to move players early in the close season. It’s a difficult job.

‘There is interest, though, and clubs are making enquiries but nothing solid yet.

‘We can get through the next couple of weeks but nothing has changed from previous announcements. it’s still a critical period.

‘There’s nothing at the moment. it’s all going to be last-minute deals.’