Why Portsmouth waited before making key appointment landing former Everton, Wigan Athletic and Burnley man

Andy Cullen has outlined why he bided his time before making Pompey’s critical sporting director appointment.
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The Blues chief executive admitted he felt he had to come to an understanding of what was required for the role at Fratton Park, before setting his sights on the person required for the key overarching position.

Cullen believed it was necessary to assess the requirements of Pompey, against the skillset of the person to oversee the club’s football operations.

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That man was deemed to be Rich Hughes, who was targeted after Roberto Gagliardi left as head of football operations in March of last year.

Talk first surfaced of potential interest the following May, but Hughes eventually stayed with Forest Green.

Pompey did get their man, however, with the former Wigan, Everton and Burnley figure starting work in October, as former chairman Dale Vince accused the Blues of an illegal approach.

Hughes has diligently gone about his business behind the scenes to date, but has made a favourable early impression with the signings of Ryley Tower and Paddy Lane.

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The pressure will be on to deliver against this summer, with a busy period of recruitment ahead. Cullen feels the wait to make the appointment was the right one for Pompey.

From left: sporting director Rich Hughes, Blues head coach John Mousinho and chief executive Andy Cullen

(Picture: Sarah Standing (200123-4767)From left: sporting director Rich Hughes, Blues head coach John Mousinho and chief executive Andy Cullen

(Picture: Sarah Standing (200123-4767)
From left: sporting director Rich Hughes, Blues head coach John Mousinho and chief executive Andy Cullen (Picture: Sarah Standing (200123-4767)

He said: ‘We took our time in terms of the sporting director appointment, that was in terms of the skills and attributes needed.

‘It was something I needed to do, because I needed to understand how Portsmouth worked. I needed to look at the dynamics behind it and where the strengths and weaknesses were.

‘So we took a really good, long-term strategic review as to the type of individual and the type of skillset we needed to come into it.

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‘We identified Rich and are absolutely delighted with his contribution so far, in his short time with us.’

Hughes was central in the appointment of John Mousinho in January after Danny Cowley’s exit in January, with the pair previously acquainted. Cullen reckons that’s helped bring alignment, which will be under the microscope moving forward.

He added: ‘We continually review every aspect of what we do and make sure we’ve got good, strong talented people within the building.

‘We will keep looking at how we can improve every aspect of the football operation - that’s analysis, data, recruitment, scouting, medical and sports science. Every aspect is important.’READ MORE: Portsmouth gain ‘significant’ financial boost.