Andrew Cullen: New Portsmouth CEO makes transfer admission as he begins work at Fratton Park
Mark Catlin’s replacement said he was regularly kept in the loop ahead of his official first day at Fratton Park on Wednesday – and is able to jump right in to assist the Blues’ summer recruitment drive.
Head coach Danny Cowley is in the process of overhauling the club’s playing staff following the disappointing finish to last season, with several high-profile exits announced.
That lowly figure has frustrated fans who remain desperate to see Cowley begin adding to his now depleted ranks in earnest.
But speaking to The News after his unveiling at the club’s newly-purchased Roko training ground, Cullen said every effort was being made behind the scenes to strengthen the side.
He said he was up to speed with the process and ready to play his part.
However, he stressed that Cowley would be taking as long as it takes to bring in the players who fit his footballing philosophy.
Cullen said: ‘A lot of people are doing a lot of hard work at the moment.
‘There’s been a lot of discussions going on. And although I only just started yesterday, I've had calls every day from people working in the football club down here – from Danny, Nicky, Roberto (Gagliardi), Tony Brown.
‘Mark (Catlin) has kept me in touch as well with things that are going on, so I’ve been able to contribute to those discussions.
‘Let's face it, the window has only just opened and there’s not a lot of activity taking place in League One.
‘Sure, there's a few things starting to rumble on, but the manager wants to build the team in his identity and his style.
‘It's a long window. There will be a lot of work going on.
‘There'll be a lot of discussions going on between now and when the window shuts at the end of August and that's something I'm here to support the manager and his team with, putting together the best team we possibly can, to find those players that he wants, that fit his identity, that fit his philosophy.
‘It would be very easy to go pick players off the shelf and go out and get a 20-goal striker, or pick up a great centre-half or good goalkeeper, but do all those players actually fit the way the manager wants to play?’
Cullen admitted Pompey had to act intelligently to bring in the right players this summer.
All too often in previous windows, the Blues’ recruitment has let them down – hence the club’s preparations for a fifth consecutive season in League One.
It’s a work practice the new Fratton Park chief has experience in, with former club MK Dons and their manager, Russell Martin, knowing the importance of attracting the right type of player and character that fit’s their remit as a football organisaton.
And he hopes that past experience will benefit Pompey in their pursuit of players – this summer and in future transfer windows.
Cullen added: ‘We have to be very, very smart and very intelligent about how we do our recruitment and that is something I've worked on with my last club and Russell Martin to create an identity that Russell wants.
‘It’s taken two or three windows to get there.
‘You just don't come in one day and your whole squad is revamped. It takes time.
‘And also, you need players to believe in what your'e doing as well, who want to come and join you.
'That's what I’ve experienced, so hopefully I can bring that little bit of knowledge and experienced to help the process here.’