Peter Storrie's surprise choice as two 'best' Portsmouth players during Harry Redknapp's golden Fratton Park days
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As chief executive and later executive chairman, he oversaw the arrivals of some of the finest Pompey players in modern history, including Sol Campbell, Paul Merson, David James, Peter Crouch, Lassana Diarra, Pedro Mendes, Benjani Mwaruwari, Arjan de Zeeuw, Kanu, Niko Kranjcar and Sulley Muntari.
Yet he singles out two players as the best value for money – Shaka Hislop and Sylvain Distin.
Storrie told The News: ‘People talk about the quality of players we brought in, but Shaka and Sylvain were the two best ones the club ever recruited in that time.
‘They may be two quiet ones which people don’t think of, but fantastic players, great individuals, and absolute value for money. Excellent.
‘With Sylvain it wasn’t only his ability, he was a leader on the pitch, a talker, good with the young players and would help them.
‘Also what a player, he read the game so well and was so quick. Such a good player who formed that great central defensive partnership with Sol Campbell.
‘I remember when we signed him, we were in a Manchester hotel, we had to meet him quietly as we weren’t supposed to be there, he was still contracted to Manchester City.
‘Then, just as he just came into the room, the fire alarms went off and the hotel had to be evacuated, so we had to go around the back to make sure nobody saw us!
‘Shaka was one of the best goalkeepers of that era and such a huge, huge presence around the place.
‘I previously had him at West Ham. People might say I am biased, but he was a tremendous professional and to have such a good goalkeeper like that was hugely important.
‘They are the stand-out ones, for me. But there were also plenty of others, of course.’
Distin made 96 appearances after arriving on a free transfer from Manchester City in My 2007, going on to win the FA Cup in his first season.
While Hislop featured exactly 100 times during three years at Fratton Park, having been shown the door by West Ham in the summer of 2002.
Storrie added: ‘Niko Kranjcar was quality, what a player Sulley Muntari was, what you’d call a box-to-box midfielder.
‘You look at Paul Merson and what he did for us in that season, the signing of Toddy, the player David James was.
‘Lassana Diarra was 100 per cent committed, he would cover every inch, and such a great passer of the ball. We got him from Arsenal because we had told him he’d play consistently, that’s what he didn’t have at other clubs.
‘Andres D’Alessandro was Harry’s signing. An agent rang him and said we could get him over here. Harry thought “Yeah, yeah no chance”, but the agent promised he would be there the next day.
‘And he was, it happened overnight, quite incredible really. What quality he had, although it was never on the cards to keep him, he just needed to play games for a season.’