The misguided view that it's '˜moneybags Portsmouth' again

It's an approach which would've been frowned upon by his peers.

Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 7:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 8:21 am
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

But Kenny Jackett ignored the gaffer's handbook when playing down the importance of budgets last summer.

The Manager's 101 guidelines are very clear on the subject. If you haven't got a big kitty, underline how important it is. If you have, point out there's rivals with a bigger one. If yours is the biggest, deny that's the case at every opportunity.

'˜In terms of the budget, it's not something I particularly worry about,' said the Pompey boss when discussing a pot somewhere in excess of £3.2m to assemble his squad in June.

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Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

To say, at that stage, it's not all about wages was a generous statement from the man who has guided his team to the League One summit, as we approach the half-way point of the season.

A substantial warchest may not guarantee success, but it helps. A lot.

The figure Jackett is working with may have crept up from the one mooted ahead of the campaign, but there's no doubt whatsoever his side are punching above their weight to be in their current position.

Unsurprisingly enough, most bosses and clubs are coy when discussing the money they have at their disposal, but there's been enough noises made that Pompey's playing budget is a reasonable one in the League One hierarchy.

It's certainly a fraction of what their rivals Sunderland are operating to, with owner Stewart Donald celebrating getting the Black Cats' wage bill down to £11m from £20m last September.

Donald went on to speculate a £4m playing budget would be superior to all of his club's rivals this season.

A look at the most recently available accounts for League One sides (2016-2017) is illuminating on that front.

A total of 11 clubs had wage bills in excess of £4.4m back then, and that's with nine clubs not disclosing that figure.

Of course, it isn't an exact science with clubs understandably not showing their hands, but if Pompey's current wage bill was around £4m it would barely have registered in that season's League One company. The three promoted teams were Sheffield United (£10m), Bolton (£12m) and Millwall (£9m).

Charlton boss Lee Bowyer was more managerially textbook, if slightly disingenuous, in his approach when mentioning Jackett being able to bid £1m for a striker in the build-up to Tuesday's game.

It was a reference to the pursuit of Mo Eisa, who opted to move to Bristol City after being pursued in the summer.

With money available to strengthen in January, Pompey's ability to last the course this term will benefit markedly from bolstering their options.

It would be misleading, however, to suggest Jackett is working to more favourable financial guidelines than his rivals.

Many of the Pompey's promotions in the modern era have been achieved against a backdrop of a healthy bankrolling.

Harry Redknapp used to bristle and twitch at the mention of '˜moneybags Pompey' when his team stormed to a Division One triumph in 2003, but he was able to recruit a host of established names.

The story of the spending around the FA Cup win in 2008 is well documented, while former chairman John Deacon backed his managers when they achieved success in the 80s.

Even the glorious late charge to League Two victory was afforded the financial support a club of Pompey's size could generate at that level.

In relative terms, it's a more measured approach being afforded around this season's progress.  

And that would make success an impressive  one when balanced against those which have gone before.