Wilson’s Wisdom: Can’t always trust the judgement of others

Martin 'Buster' Phillips failed to live up to Alan Ball's prediction that he would be the first British �10m player
Martin 'Buster' Phillips failed to live up to Alan Ball's prediction that he would be the first British �10m player
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We’ve had a few outlandish predictions at Pompey down the years.

Especially, it seems, when it comes to new signings.

In an ideal world, the moment we get wind of a potential new Pompey player or hear one of those summer rumours, we’d have some in-depth knowledge to call upon.

We’d have files detailing a player’s strengths, weaknesses, history, goalscoring record and inside leg measurement at the click of a button.

The reality is rather different and you don’t need me to tell you that there is a lot of nonsense out there on the internet...this column, for example.

These days, Pompey are no longer in the market for the big names that we have seen strutting their stuff at a World Cup. In fact, the surprise these days is when they sign someone that you have actually heard of.

Perhaps it’s just a significant gap in my knowledge of other players in the bottom two divisions of English football.

But I’m sure I’m not alone in finding it hard to look too closely at opposition players, unless someone is genuinely outstanding.

As a result, I’m not too well up on too many League Two right-backs.

I’m also pretty sure that I would not be alone in thinking I don’t want to make myself too familiar with the surroundings in the basement division or get comfortable for a lengthy stay.

Hopefully, it’s not seen as disrespectful or arrogant to suggest that it’s an honest league with plenty of hard-working players but it’s not where Pompey want to be. As yet, they haven’t even come close to earning the right to climb out of it though.

So as most of us don’t have the time to go on scouting missions, sometimes we have to rely on the opinions of others to get a bit of a steer.

Some, it seems, are more trustworthy than others.

In recent times, I got a rather different idea on the type of player Joe Devera was when he put first pen to paper with the club in 2013.

Watching him myself, I soon concluded that he wasn’t quite the ‘cultured, versatile defender who was always looking to get forward’ that I had been led to believe.

There’s been another attention-grabbing quote directed towards new Blues winger, Kyle Bennett.

Former Doncaster team-mate, Brian Stock, mentioned that ex-Rovers boss Dean Saunders once suggested that Bennett had the ability to be a £15m player.

Stock has played with plenty of talented players in his career and believes Bennett has real flair.

It also wasn’t him suggesting his next move will be to Real Madrid.

I guess we’ll have to make up our own minds when we see him play.

However, most of us will remember the cautionary tale of Martin ‘Buster’ Phillips.

After signing the skilful, yet lightweight, winger from Exeter for £500,000 to take him to Manchester City in 1995, Alan Ball predicted he would be the first British £10m player.

Three years later, he joined Pompey for £100,000 but never seemed to get a run in the side.

He was tricky but he wasn’t a £10m player.

But in fairness to Bally, he was only two noughts out...