We have to replicate the city we represent - Portsmouth's vision to outdo Liverpool, Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and world's best

The hardest working club in world football.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 10:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 11:00 am

That is Pompey’s bold ambition as they consider a long-term blueprint which will shape their future.

The Blues’ identity and what they stand for has come to the fore in the wake of the Cowleys’ arrival, with new hard coach Danny telling The News on Monday he believes a clear Fratton vision needs to be established.

That arrives with Pompey considering a review of their structures and the appointment of a sporting director moving forward.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The notion of principles and concepts which go the core of the Blues’ values is being considered by chief executive, Mark Catlin.

And when it comes down to the key signifier of what Pompey stand for, he sees one central value coming to the fore.

Catlin said: ‘We want to be the hardest working football club in the world of football.

‘We have to work harder than other clubs in all areas of the business, on the pitch and off the pitch.

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin

‘But the underlying DNA of the club has to be that we’re the hardest working football club in the world.

‘I do think we have a club identity: our club identity is built on hard work.

‘Hard work is key to what we do, in every aspect of the football club.

‘That’s from me to the receptionist and all areas of the club.

‘If you are not prepared to work hard here, you will not be accepted by the club and you won’t be accepted by the fan base.

‘That fact doesn’t interfere with any manager or any member of staff, for that matter - but it’s what we have aspire to achieve.

‘One of my favourite quotes in sport is: hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

‘We’re in a privileged position to be working in football and we’re in a privileged position to be representing Portsmouth Football Club.

‘So the minimum we expect from anyone working for the football club is they come in and work hard every single day - on and off the pitch.

‘We have an obligation to our fans to that. Those lads who go out on a Saturday and wear that blue shirt have to leave it all on the pitch.

‘Portsmouth as a city is at its best when it has its back to the wall and is fighting against the odds.

‘It’s about digging deep and working hard - that has to be the philosophy.’

When it comes to the on-pitch application of Pompey’s ethics, there’s still a sizeable distance to travel until they can match the prodigious effort of Europe’s biggest grafters such as Leeds, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and German outfit Union Berlin.

Catlin is clear he feels the attributes Pompey are looking to focus on are omnipresent as philosophies evolve.

He added: ‘There’s no point putting a DNA into the club which isn’t accepted by the fan base: Portsmouth Football Club is the fans.

‘The last six months under Paul Cook I was bombarded by people saying he didn’t play the Pompey way.

‘We were trying at that point to go down a certain route - it didn’t seem that popular with the fans.

‘Then we went from Paul to Kenny (Jackett) who wanted to get the ball forward quicker and into the box quicker, built off a solid base - and that proved unpopular.

‘The football side is an adaptation of a philosophy, but the philosophy is hard work on the pitch and throughout the club.

‘In football cycles, things change. What’s fashionable changes.

‘Thirty years ago it was 4-4-2, two big strikers and get balls into them. Today it’s the Barcelona or Manchester City way with no real defined striker and goals coming from all over the pitch.

‘That evolves and it’s the good managers who adapt their approach to be successful.

‘You have to pragmatic, you can’t be dogmatic.

‘You have to have a clear purpose, but hard work in 100 years time will still trump those with talent who don’t work hard.

‘That’s what we have to build our foundations upon.

‘The people we employ on the football side of things, that’s their area of expertise. I don’t really like talking about that side of things.

‘But the foundations of everything this club will be built on moving forward will be hard work.

‘We have to replicate the city we represent, we have to have a synergy with this city - and this city is built on honest, hard-working people.’

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.