On this day: Portsmouth boss Alain Perrin hits back at Arjan De Zeeuw as war of words escalates
On this day in 2005, Pompey boss Alain Perrin hit back at Arjan De Zeeuw as the war of words between the pair escalated.
Perrin accused the Dutchman of having his ‘head turned’ by Wigan that summer – and denied squeezing him out of the first-team picture at Fratton.
The Frenchman insisted he wanted to keep the popular skipper and even offered him an extension to his contract – but claimed De Zeeuw was just not interested.
The pair were set to come face to face for the first time since the defender’s departure, with De Zeeuw’s Wigan preparing to take on Perrin’s Blues at Fratton Park.
The defender stated he and the Pompey boss were ‘not the best of friends’.
The 35-year-old also revealed he decided to quit the south coast when Perrin could not guarantee him a place in his side and told him he was going to sign another defender.
But speaking to The News at the time, Perrin denied De Zeeuw was unwanted and insisted his former skipper would have had a big part to play for Pompey.
‘If Arjan thought he would not play, he’s wrong,’ said Perrin.
‘I spoke with him and told him I needed three or four defenders.
‘At the beginning of pre-season I wanted Andy O’Brien to settle into the team.
‘I explained this to Arjan and also told him I could play with three central defenders.
‘I think he could have already had contact with Wigan and he had more interest in signing for them.
‘So that meant he put pressure on the chairman to leave. I did not want him to go.
‘He put pressure on to leave the club so it was difficult for me to keep him – impossible in fact. It was his choice.
‘He would have had his chance if he stayed but maybe he was offered a generous contract.
‘I proposed that the chairman offered one year more on his contract. We wanted him to stay here.’
De Zeeuw played 118 games in three successful seasons at Pompey, helping the team to the division-one title and then becoming a major force in establishing the club in the Premiership.