Danny Cowley's admission over rivals' spending as Portsmouth are left behind by Ipswich Town, Wigan Athletic & Co this summer
Danny Cowley has admitted Pompey were caught cold by the level of League One spending this summer.
The Blues head coach has revealed he didn’t see rivals splashing the amount of cash witnessed in the third tier in recent months.
Cowley has carried out a much-needed summer overhaul of his options against a virtually unprecedented level of outlay at the level they will be operating at next season.
Ipswich Town and Wigan Athletic have led the way, while the likes of Sunderland have been looking to push the boundaries when it comes to transfer fees.
The George Hirst conspiracy theories that had Portsmouth Twittersphere in meltdown – and what is next for Leicester front man also wanted by Ipswich
Portsmouth-born Mason Mount gets rare midweek night off from Chelsea duty to cheer on boyhood heroes against Cambridge United at Fratton Park
'Deserved standing ovation... Man mountain at the back... best game yet for Blues': Portsmouth match ratings from 4-1 win against Cambridge United
Latest: Key development in Portsmouth's attacker pursuit as Danny Cowley puts finishing touches to squad
Picture gallery – 21 youth football team pictures from 2005
Beyond that, extremely competitive weekly wages in excess of five figures have been on the table for the top talent, along with substantial signing-on fees.
This has all arrived against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, which many felt would limit how far clubs would be able to push financial boundaries.
New ownership and cash injections have ensured that hasn’t been the case for some of Pompey rivals, while the club operate on a sustainable basis under the Eisners.
Cowley explained that has caused some surprise, and perhaps a realignment of where his club stand in the division’s financial pecking order.
He said: ‘You’re just trying to understand and read the market.
‘If we’re honest we’ve been surprised by the amount of money in the division. It’s definitely the most competitive League One has been since I can remember it.
‘There’s a number of clubs being really aggressive and we didn’t anticipate that, rightly or wrongly.
‘Coming out of the pandemic we thought there would be clubs going through more hardship than there is.
‘It’s not for me to really comment on individual clubs.
‘We will try to run ours in our own way - in a really intelligent, sustainable way. That’s brilliant for this club.’
Cowley has repeatedly stated he is fully understanding of Pompey’s financial position and their mode of operating, since arriving at Fratton Park in March.
That has included a £10m revamp of the club’s home, including remedial work to stop the ground’s capacity from being slashed.
With fans returning this season, Cowley highlighted how significant that could be along with the recent purchase of Pompey’s Roko training ground.
He added: ‘Don’t forget the positives of the stadium and the refurb which is fantastic and allows us to stay at this brilliant stadium, which has so much tradition and a football feel about it.
‘To buy the training ground is brilliant and to be able to have our fans back for the first time really in 18 months are massive positives.
‘They are positives which will be huge positives for this club moving forward. We all saw how much we missed our supporters last year.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
The News has launched a subscription offer which gives you unlimited access to all of our Pompey coverage, starting at less than 14p a day.
You can subscribe here to get the latest news from Fratton Park - and to support our local team of expert Pompey writers.