Opinion: Why Portsmouth honesty could be the best policy for the season ahead

It’s generally accepted that social media platforms aren't necessarily the best sounding boards whenever you want to gauge true public opinion.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 4:55 am

But it doesn't mean that views put forward on these channels should be ignored and cast aside as if they hold no relevance.

In fact, most days The News itself uses comments placed on our respective Facebook and Twitter accounts to get a good understanding of how Pompey fans feel about key subjects.

Of course, these thoughts should never be considered the view of the silent majority.

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Yet, they provide enough insight to at least help us appreciate the depth of feeling on certain matters.

And, after looking through those comments in recent days and weeks, you sense agitation is growing among sections of supporters regarding the current transfer window.

Certain personnel being released because of budget restraints; said players being released and going to League One rivals; some underwhelming names being linked with Fratton Park moves; linked players going elsewhere other than Pompey; and rival clubs seemingly being unaffected by coronavirus and, from the outside looking in, able to spend big to get their main targets.

'Are Pompey the only ones being impacted by the pandemic?' - is a common question posed on the above-mentioned boards.

Pompey chairman Michael Eisner, right, with son Eric and Andy Redman, left

It all adds up a bleak outlook as far as some Blues supporters are concerned - and one I can reluctantly identify with the longer the wait for positive news goes on.

The current financial backdrop with which Pompey enter this summer, though, must not be underestimated.

It's a well-known fact that the Blues have been haemorrhaging between £700,000 and £750,000 over the past 16 months - an amount that can never be sniffed at.

It explains the hardline approach over contract renewals, or lack of them this summer, and Pompey's willingness to cash in on players who remain at Fratton Park.

It also elucidates why Danny Cowley heads into the current transfer window with a lesser budget than what predecessor Kenny Jackett had at his disposal ahead of last season’s wage cap.

And when you consider the extent of Pompey’s Covid loses against those suffered by their League One rivals, it's unlikely you'll find many with a deficit that's similar to the one suffered at PO4.

The road to recovery needs extra due care and attention as a result.

'Excuses, excuses', will no doubt be the response of some, if not many.

‘We have a billionaire owner, don't forget’, will follow suit.

And I agree. Nothing riles me more than seeing the new owners at Ipswich hand Paul Cook an open cheque book so that he can lead the Tractor Boys back to the Championship.

I hate the thoughts of Shrewsbury thinking they can offer Jack Whatmough more lucractive terms than the Blues

It leaves me bitterly disappointed to see Scott Twine chose MK Dons over Pompey - even if the midfielder had apparently dropped further down Cowley's wishlist.

Surely, that shouldn’t happen when the club’s owner, Michael Eisner, is as wealthy as he is.

But the Blues board are, and always have been, firm advocates of self-sustainability and have, I believe, the long-term interests of Portsmouth Football Club at heart. Others will chose to disagree.

In that in mind, the club and sections of its fan base are poles apart in terms of expectation levels.

This is Pompey, after all. Why should fans be content to settle for life in the third tier of English football?

At this point, the role of Cowley needs to be examined.

The new head coach will no doubt have been made aware of the Blues' financial situation when he accepted the job on a permanent basis at the end of the season.

You'd like to think he was aware of the open wounds that have been left behind.

And that he agreed that he was the best man to patch them up and move on, even if the scars were still visible.

Cowley enthusiastically spoke to The News soon after his appointment was confirmed and has given no indication since that the task is tougher than he first thought.

That fervour, his own willingness to make tough decisions, a vision for how his team must play, a track record in spotting talent and bringing out the best in players, and being an exponent of an individual’s character gives Pompey a solid base with which to build their transfer policy around.

And who’s to say, with Blackpool and Wycombe two of the most recent examples, the Blues can't achieve their ambition of promotion - even if their financial power is bettered by others.

It could happen again. But, also, let's be realistic.

So what's the answer?

Perhaps it lies in honesty, or clarification for the want of a better word, from the club itself.

Pompey stuck to their guns in previous years with the belief that Jackett had assembled a squad capable of delivering Championship football. And that remained the goal throughout his tenure.

To be fair, he came close. But many of the Fratton faithful disagreed with the strength of the Blues’ conviction.

That inevitably saw a massive gulf emerge between the manager and the fans - something that should be avoided during Cowley’s reign.

So in an attempt to avoid a repeat, maybe some sort of compromise must be reached right from the get-go this season.

And perhaps the Blues themselves should lead the way.

Admit that while promotion will always be the goal, it might not be attainable in the campaign ahead.

Or what about acknowledging it’s a dreaded ‘transition period’.

It's not what we all want to hear - but it's what a lot of fans are already thinking as they compromise on their expectations.

Alternatively, Pompey could announce a huge and unexpected spending spree.

There's nothing to suggest that will be the case.

But imagine the comments on social media if they did!