Brave new world must remember it’s good to talk

Memories: Steve Claridge is unveiled as Pompey boss by former owner Milan Mandaric
Memories: Steve Claridge is unveiled as Pompey boss by former owner Milan Mandaric
Pompey chairman Michael Eisner Pictures: Joe Pepler

Gallen: Pompey owners will listen to transfer needs

Have your say

To take on such a mammoth task requires bravery.

But the potential rewards for Pompey’s new owners are immense.

The adulation of the Blues faithful lie in wait, as well as the glory of building a Fratton empire built on solid foundations for the first time.

Steve Claridge is a person who knows a thing or two about what has gone on in the corridors of power at the end of Frogmore Road in PO4 in the past.

He eventually made 124 for his boyhood side between 1998 and 2001 in a nomadic career which saw him regularly wherever he travelled.

Claridge’s brief stint as manager under Milan Mandaric also showed him life on the other side of the fence at a football club he knows all about.

The BBC pundit also knows all about the mentality of Pompey folk, being born in the city and raised in Titchfield.

Claridge is aware of exactly what the hopes and expectations of fans will be now Convers Sports Initiatives have assumed control.

He feels they will want to be kept abreast of what is happening at their football club after the closed-door policy of previous regimes.

The followers of the star and crescent won’t want the boom-and-bust approach of what has gone on at Pompey before.

And, most importantly, they will want to know the club they care for is in safe hands.

‘Whoever is taking this on is a brave person,’ said Claridge, who now is seen on the Football League Show and is heard as a pundit for Radio 5 Live.

‘That’s not in the sense that’s it’s not a fantastic football club and it hasn’t got outstanding potential – because it has.

‘It’s just where they have to take the club. It’s almost a blank canvas. They are almost starting from a minus position.

‘You are paying out from day one.

‘The club needs to stabilise and go forward. They were treading water without the takeover.

‘There was no huge demand for what went on last time. People were realistic.

‘If you allow people to up their expectation then that is your problem.

‘If you don’t keep it real and don’t communicate with people, the scenario that happened before will happen again.

‘If there are lines of communication and people know what is happening it will be okay.

‘It’s more important to have a football club than win yourself a couple of games and put yourself in peril. That’s all people want at Portsmouth at this stage.

‘We won a few games last season and then 18,000 turned up at Fratton Park, and it seemed like 40,000. Brilliant.

‘That’s all the fans want. They want to know their club’s being run properly and it’s being done the right way.’

Pompey fans are waiting with bated breath to hear the first significant statements from Roman Dubov, Vladimir Antonov and Chris Akers.

They are scheduled for next week, along with talks with Steve Cotterill as he waits to go to work on recruiting his transfer targets.

The debate rages on among supporters about where the priorities lie, although a squad of eight available players suggests where the immediate action has to take place.

One thing is for sure, no-one wants the new Pompey built on sand again.

Claridge said: ‘No-one knows what sort of money is going to be put in place because so much has to be put in different areas.

‘It will be interesting to see.

‘They have to get the football side right but what if they get the Premier League without a new ground again?

‘And what’s the point of having a new ground if the football side isn’t right and you aren’t successful?

‘It’s a fine balancing act.

‘One thing’s for sure, it never lasts if it’s not done properly.

‘If there are no foundations the house will eventually fall down.’