Blues hero calls for player investment from new owners

Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Connor Ronan. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Alan McLoughlin has called for owners Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) to make rebuilding Pompey’s first team an overwhelming priority.

The group led by Roman Dubov and Vladimir Antonov this morning completed their takeover.

That couldn’t come soon enough for Blues fans, who have been waiting since talks began with Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir in February for a conclusion.

They seize control of a club in desperate need of investment – from players and the youth set-up to Fratton Park and a training ground.

But McLoughlin is adamant CSI’s first act should be to focus on recruitment.

Steve Cotterill currently possesses just nine players, with only four weeks to go before pre-season training starts.

And the Blues hero has urged that to be addressed as swiftly as possible by the new owners.

McLoughlin said: ‘This is tremendous news for the club, just what we all needed.

‘CSI’s first port of call should be to look after Steve Cotterill and let him know where he stands.

‘He has a short time frame to get things sorted and he must be given the opportunity to develop the squad again.

‘They need to sit him down and go through the budget.

‘That is the obvious thing to do, first and foremost.

‘They then must engage with the fans and explain their plans for the short term, medium term and long term.

‘We all have questions to ask.

‘We know the ground needs sorting with a 30,000 all-seater ideal, while the Academy requires redevelopment and to be allowed to continue being got back on an even keel by Andy Awford.

‘I would even bring back the reserve team if we could afford it.

‘The short-term priority, though, is the first team. That is what people come along to watch.

‘If they can get that right it could lead to promotion, which opens up even more options.

‘There is that balance between quality and quantity which needs addressing.

‘Pompey had the quality last year to stay up, they didn’t have the quantity to move forwards even more. The priority always has to be the first team and I hope that is what they focus on.’

While McLoughlin is urging for short-term player investment, he remains aware of the long-term goals.

And the former Republic of Ireland star believes the whole infrastructure of the club needs stabilising.

He added: ‘We have had our glory days.

‘Now there has to be a balanced objective behind the scenes, with the club put on a more sound footing.

‘You don’t have to spend mega money to have a decent team and that is something we must not do.

‘In the meantime, we are all keeping our fingers crossed this is genuine investment.

‘There needs to be a long-term plan here over the next 10 years minimum.

‘Hopefully, these new people will see that potential and act upon it.’