Pompey’s stance at odds with the game – now it’s over to you, Mr Jackett

Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

The message has been heard loud and clear: Kenny Jackett is the man to guide Pompey forward on the pitch in the Michael Eisner era.

The Blues’ owner has shown his faith in his manager with the clearest of statements – a two-year extension to an existing two-year agreement, which ties the 55-year-old to his club until 2021.

That, of course, is just five-and-a-half months and 23 games into a tenure that has proved solid rather than spectacular to date.

It’s news which, on the surface of things, proved a tad surprising to many of the Fratton faithful.

Everything had pointed to backing for their manager from owners who have preached continuity at every juncture since arriving at the helm.

Yet, it’s hardly been a case of Jackett’s men dismantling all before them with the kind of form which you expect to be the backdrop to a swift improvement of terms.

In essence, however, the contract extension appears to simply be a case of Eisner making good on a promise to his manager when assuming control.

Jackett’s initial two-year agreement was put in place before Tornante’s takeover was completed in August.

Actions speak louder than words in any business. After all of Eisner’s rhetoric of stability and steady growth, the chat was backed up with words of commitment to Jackett.

What emerged on Tuesday was the conclusion of what was put on the table to the former Millwall boss.

It’s a sequence of events Jackett tacitly admitted himself in the wake of defeat to Peterborough.

‘There were discussions (about a deal) in and around the takeover and it’s very good backing for myself,’ he said.

‘The owners have assessed that situation and developed it and had a good look at all of the club to see where they can go.

‘I’m committed towards the club and determined to bring success.’

It’s perhaps fair to surmise there was due consideration afforded the timing of the announcement.

Eisner and his family are attuned to the way the wind is blowing with supporters, and how quickly those sentiments can wax and wane – particularly in plenty of online quarters.

It doesn’t take much imagination to hear the howls of the derision if the news was released amid the recent run of four consecutive losses when the deal, in all probability, was signed.

It may well be the Pompey jury is still out when it comes to Jackett.

It may be some can see the sense in the decision in theory, but find the immediate consequences of inconsistency on a matchday tougher to swallow.

Whatever you think of Jackett, the stance taken by the owners has to be applauded in a game which has long since taken leave of its senses when it comes to its attitude to managers.

Their position goes against the grain in a country where the last figures showed a manager’s job-life expectancy to be just 1.23 years – and top-flight bosses can expect to stay in situ for 91 games.

The evidence was already overwhelming that a long-term view would be taken over Jackett and his role in guiding on-pitch affairs forward.

We hear the vacant Wales’ manager’s job has no bearing on the move to secure his future, too, with his name initially featuring heavily in the bookmakers’ lists.

Some initial tittle-tattle over interest from QPR amounted to just that, but, of course, there’s no harm in Pompey protecting an asset who garners respect throughout the domestic game.

What resonates about this week’s news is we may have owners finding their way in English football, but there’s a universality to sticking to a decision when you make it.

Now it’s over to Jackett to show his paymasters’ faith is well placed.

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