Catlin: Pompey's bright future

Pompey possess the foundations for a bright footballing future.

Wednesday, 28th March 2018, 7:00 am
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

That is the verdict of Mark Catlin as he surveys the current Fratton Park playing squad.

The current campaign has seen new deals for talented quintet Christian Burgess, Ben Close, Jamal Lowe, Matt Clarke and Danny Rose.

They join the bulk of first-team regulars contracted to Pompey for next season and beyond.

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Pompey's Matt Clarke signs a new deal earlier this season. Picture: Colin Farmery/Portsmouth FC

There are 15 players out of contract this summer, including seven loanees.

Notable names among the remaining eight are Kal Naismith, Nicke Kabamba, Brandon Haunstrup, Adam May and Alex Bass.

But Catlin is delighted with the talent already secured on medium-term deals.

The Blues’ chief executive said: ‘We have most of our prized assets signed up and ready to go for next year – I think it’s a great foundation.

Pompey's Matt Clarke signs a new deal earlier this season. Picture: Colin Farmery/Portsmouth FC

‘I know there’s a lot of talk about players out of contract but have a look at those signed up and it is pretty much the nucleus of our team.

‘I don’t want to pick anyone out but some of our prized assets have been secured on long-term deals.

‘We’ve got a very, very good core of first-team players contracted beyond the summer.

‘There is still some flexibility for Kenny to either add from the ones out of contract or to look to recruit players at other clubs.

‘This year was always about consolidation – and we have used that to tie our brighter prospects and the players Kenny wants to keep on longer-term deals.

‘I don’t know a player who signs a contract extension on the same money. It’s very, very rare if they do.

‘So you’ve got to be careful it doesn’t have an adverse effect on your current budget.

‘For every new contract we give to protect our prized assets, their money obviously goes up and quite considerably because they were signed in League Two.

‘But there is now the freedom for Kenny to hopefully bring in some exciting new signings in the summer.’

In contrast, last term the deals of many first-teamers were not renewed until the season’s end, when the future division to complete in would be known.

As a result, Enda Stevens and Michael Doyle departed.

Catlin added: ‘The previous regime was slightly different.

‘We took a view that if you gave one player a new deal when pushing for promotion then potentially there was a negative message.

‘There could be six or seven senior pros out of contract thinking “well, why have you given him a new contract and not me?”.

‘We didn’t want that feeling within the camp.

‘Some players take that as an excuse and get their agents pre-planning where they are going to be and it distracts.

‘Last season we wanted everyone focused on getting promoted, which we achieved.

‘I would strongly argue that approach worked.’