The sandwich delivery that proved Brighton new-boy Matt Clarke had Portsmouth fans' seal of approval

It's a tactic, we're led to believe, often utilised by governments of the day.

By Mark McMahon
Saturday, 22nd June 2019, 6:00 pm
Matt Clarke has signed for Brighton for an undisclosed fee
Matt Clarke has signed for Brighton for an undisclosed fee

That's the strategic ability to bury or deliver bad news when the masses are distracted by other more-positive messages.

In theory, it's designed to make any bad news more palatable and easier to take.

Pompey could be accused of adopting such a wily manoeuvre late on Friday when a flurry of transfer activity kick-started their summer transfer window.

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It emerged around 5pm that Ellis Harrison - a player spotted down the Blues' training ground the previous day - had signed on the dotted line for an undisclosed fee.

Cue some relief among the Fratton faithful that a deal, any deal, had finally been completed.

There had been growing frustration on two fronts in the days prior, with news emerging that proposed moves for both George Edmundson and Gary Mackay-Steven were slipping through the net. Deals that did eventually head that way.

But just when that relief was turning to nodding seals of approval of Harrison's arrival from Ipswich, the negative news was dropped.

Now, no-one is suggesting that the sale of Pompey's prized asset would somehow escape the notice of those intrigued by Harrison's arrival.

And that's despite the inevitability of Clarke making the move along the south coast.

However, the cynics out there could be justified in thinking Paul Downing's unveiling an hour later was another well-timed ploy to soften the blow of Clarke's departure.

A s*** sandwich was how one Twitter user succinctly described the bombarding nature of the news emanating from Fratton Park - a day more akin to transfer deadline day.

The Blues would of course be within their rights to deny such tactics were in play – and there is no evidence to suggest that the three announcements were deliberately timed in the way they were.

But even if there was the tiniest amount of shenanigans deployed, there was no need.

Pompey fans knew Clarke's departure to Brighton was inevitable - it was a matter of when, not if, he moved on.

And amid all the comments on the various social media platforms, you'd be at pains to find one negative remark on the defender's decision to move elsewhere in search of a higher standard of football.

A highly-talented defender with admiring clubs queuing the length of his trademark marauding runs out of defence, it was a decision everyone respected - particularly after Pompey's failed promotion push last season.

There's evidence that some were surprised with his choice of destination, with the Seagulls seen by many Blues fans as a Premier League force with justifiable question marks surrounding their long-term top-flight status.

Meanwhile, others took umbrage that the fee involved was not disclosed.

However, following his unveiling at the Amex, it's obvious Clarke has made the right move for him and is clearly happy with his new surroundings.

That, therefore, leaves me to join the ever-growing list of plaudits from the Fratton faithful wishing him well for the future.

A future that hopefully sees Clarke light up the Premier League, as we all know he can.