Well, you wonder if sanity has left the South Coast this summer at Portsmouth, with weird takeovers, scraping around for signings, the chief executive being charged with tax evasion, another takeover, being banned from signing due to unpaid debts and now Paul Hart being moved out of the managers seat. What have the Pompey faithful done to deserve this mess?
Of course, Paul Hart is entirely to blame for Portsmouth’s misfortune isn’t he? Yep, everything that has gone on over the summer is all Paul Hart’s fault. It was Paul Hart’s fault that self publicising loudmouth Sulaimin Al-Fahim didn’t have the money he said he did. It’s Paul Hart’s fault that the previous owner, Alexandre Gaydamak refused to finance the club any more and it is all Paul Hart’s fault that he spent most of August trying to sign players as he had no team.
The statement from Portsmouth’s owners through Peter Storrie is typical of people who have absolutely no idea about football or sport in general. “Paul has worked under very difficult circumstances with the financial restrictions the club has faced since he took over, however, the board feels that the team should have accrued more points to date and that we need a new man in charge to ensure Premier League survival.”
What planet do these owners live on? Paul Hart has had to watch as an entire team is dismantled in front of him, then the all shouting and all singing Al Fahim turns up, promises the world but has no money, gets a loan to pay the wages and then sells 90% to someone who doesn’t know anything about football. Did Al Fahim ever have any money? I don’t think he did and he made a packet in 6 weeks for making outlandish statements and walking about with a replica kit on.Well done.
Manchester City’s owners jettisoned him soon enough after he continued to make stupid statements every other day. Al Fahim is well known as a celebrity chaser and loves the limelight ahead of any business sense he may have. He promises to buy the club and then the deal takes forever because he’s having trouble getting the money together. Al Fahim claimed he had £100 million to invest and did that ever appear?
Hart watched on as player after player was sold to keep the wolves from the door and the manager was left with the bare bones of a team with days to spare before the season started. Hart then spends every avenue open to him to try and create a team in a fortnight and they treat him like this? It’s pathetic at best and a disgraceful turn of events.
The board feels they should have more points? Could they clarify how a team thrown together in a fortnight is supposed to be winning games off the bat. Portsmouth have been playing alright over the last month or so, despite a transfer embargo and delayed wages again, Pompey were slowly coming together. These owners are out of their minds to treat Paul Hart like this.
Of course, Avram Grant’s there now, so I would expect he’ll jump at the chance at this poisoned chalice to try and prove that the rumour about Chelsea almost winning the Champions League in spite of him is untrue. Nicknamed the man from the B.B.C (balls, bibs and cones) during his first spell at Portsmouth due to the amount of input he actually had, this will be a real test of his abilities.
Yet, I feel real sympathy for Paul Hart. I’ve been critical of his managerial abilities before, because his record, other than at Nottingham Forest wasn’t all that good, but that was another situation where he had a talented side that was sold under him. Of course, the fact that David Platt had caused that situation before scuttling off was no fault of his but he had to carry the can and ultimately paid the price.
How can anyone be expected to manage a side with the chaos that comes pouring down from the boardroom at Fratton Park is anyone’s guess, but to do such a callous and despicable act to someone who has acted with the uppermost dignity throughout the last 6 months at Portsmouth is a disgraceful affair. Once again, I feel for the fans at Portsmouth, no club deserves the owners they’ve got their now.