It sounds as if Gary McAllister is about to named as Paul Hart’s assistant manager tomorrow morning. Reports coming from Radio Solent are claiming that McAllister, after turning down the same role under George Burley with the Scottish national team last week, has agreed to join Pompey. After the start that Paul Hart has had to endure with the loss of a team over the summer and then being expected to form one in about 3 days, he’ll be glad of the help.
McAllister’s reasoning for turning the Scotland offer down was that he wanted a full time position in English club football and it seems his chance has now arrived. It’s certainly a baptism of fire but when you’ve worked for Ken Bates, you can turn your hand to most situations without any fear at all. After being out of football for nearly 10 months, since being sacked from Leeds United on December 21st, it sees a welcome return for the likable Scotsman to the Premiership.
McAllister could actually do with such a position after two ill feted managerial positions at Coventry City and Leeds United. Both clubs had varying pressures that McAllister struggled to cope with, Coventry were desperate to return to the Premiership as quickly as possible but McAllister’s personal life was thrown in to turmoil when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. He resigned in January 2004 to spend more time with her, but she sadly passed away in March 2006.
Leeds United were struggling to overcome the shock of Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet leaving, when McAllister came to the club and they managed to get to the play off final, but lost in a shock defeat at the hands of Doncaster Rovers. After that, it was always going to be tough for McAllister and a shock defeat to non-league Histon in the F.A. Cup sent the club into free fall.
Now he’s got a chance to come in as an assistant manager and cut his teeth in an environment where he can learn more than simply taking the managers job at a club he used to play for. There’s no pressure from supporters who remember him strolling around the midfield, spraying balls to all corners of the park. There’s nowhere else for Portsmouth to go and Paul Hart has continued to rise above the ridiculous levels of media pressure on his position.
The two go back to their time together at Leeds United, when Hart was in charge of the youth academy and McAllister was the club captain. This is not a decision based on a whim, the two obviously know each other well and are aware of each others strengths and weaknesses. The existing relationship could be crucial in allowing the duo to hit the ground running and Portsmouth aren’t too far away from getting some points on the board.
Hart has had to suffer the biggest asset stripping seen at a Premiership club since Leeds United’s implosion in 2003-2004. Yet he had to go through something similar when he was the manager of Nottingham Forest as the club desperately tried to recover the money that David Platt had blown in his dreadful tenure as manger.The irony of the situation will not be lost on him at all, but at least is should stand him in good stead.