Cotts glad to be working for ‘football fans’

Roman Dubov re Portsmouth Football Club
Roman Dubov re Portsmouth Football Club
Pompey's Brett Pitman celebrates after scoring his second goal in their 2-0 win at Oldham. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

Oldham 0 Pompey 2: they said what?

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Steve Cotterill is finding out it’s good to talk.

And it’s even better when the owners he is speaking to know what they are talking about.

Cotterill has lifted the lid on his discussions with new owners Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) since they assumed control of Pompey.

The Blues manager has been buoyed by his meetings with Roman Dubov and Chris Akers after they took over the reins of the club, along with Vladimir Antonov.

Cotterill sat down with Russian-born Hungarian Dubov at the start of the week at Fratton Park.

A range of issues were on the agenda, including thrashing out the club’s transfer policy.

Pompey quickly announced the arrival of David Norris at the start of next month, with the Ipswich captain arriving on a free transfer after his contract comes to a close at Portman Road.

Cotterill has emerged from his opening exchanges with his new paymasters buoyant, both by what he has seen and heard: the realistic ambitions, the long-term view, the green light to get cracking on signings and the fact they see him as the man to take the club forward.

But just as impressive to Cotterill has been the knowledge his bosses have shown when it comes to football matters.

After dealing with an owner who didn’t know what the offside rule was, Cotterill has been lifted by his talks with people who are quite clearly football fans as well as businessmen.

Cotterill said: ‘The conversations I’ve had have been really positive with the owners.

‘There’s not endless money to keep dipping into.

‘The good thing about it, though, is the guys I’ve spoken to are serious people.

‘They are into their football. I’ve not had a big dialogue with Vladimir yet, but that will come in time.

‘But speaking to Chris and Roman, the conversations I’ve had with them on the team are encouraging.

‘They know their football. They are football fans.

‘When you speak to them about a player or two, they know them.

‘That’s a massive bonus and really encouraging.’

Supporters who have been restlessly waiting for action all summer while the takeover was being completed, are now lifted by the signs of action they are already seeing.

It’s been the same for Cotterill, who has again been left frustrated by a period of stagnation that has seen him miss out on free transfers.

So the movement this week has contrasted sharply with the lack of progress previously.

Norris is here now, while Cotterill can get to work on other additions to boost his threadbare squad.

Clearance has been given for improvements to the club’s training ground, with pitch work currently being undertaken.

And Cotterill is now getting the framework to his backroom staffing that he’s had to do without in his year at the club.

He said: ‘I’ve been able to get things through that I’ve been waiting to do for a long time.

‘Since speaking to the owners, I’ve managed to get two full-time scouts.

‘We absolutely desperately needed to get my chief scout to be full-time and to get another one in – one to do the north and one to do the south.

‘It’s been imperative. Even being able to do these small things quickly has been good because that wasn’t the case before.’

Cotterill’s has been heartened by the sensible noises being made by his new owners.

The long-term view is one he feels has to be taken, after he yesterday announced he believes it will take five years to turn the club around after administration.

But he knows there has to be short-term urgency for Pompey in terms of recruitment before the long-term plans can be laid down.

Cotterill said: ‘This is a long-term product for the owners.

‘The only thing is there is no long term without a short term.

‘That has to be there for them.

‘Obviously, we need to get cracking.

‘We’re on with a few things and we’ll see what happens with those.

‘These days it’s never easy to sign players, it doesn’t happen overnight. Even if there is some money in the budget.

‘So we have to get our heads down and work on it until we get a few over the line. But David Norris is definitely a great start.’