It is official now. Suliaman Al Fahim is the new owner of Portsmouth Football Club. This is fantastic news for all Pompey fans.
Of course the takeover has been wrought with difficulties, changing expectations, and rumours galore. That hasn't changed, the first piece of news out of Fratton was that Paul Hart officially had his interim tag removed and he is now the manager of Portsmouth. To say I was a little surprised when I saw this is a bit of an understatement. Now don't get me wrong, Paul Hart is a decent manager and all the players love him, but I think he may be a tad overrated since he got to follow Tony Adams. Hart led us to safety and at the end of last season I wouldn't have been surprised to see him named full time boss, until I heard about the takeover.
As soon as Suliaman Al Fahim was linked with Portsmouth so were, Slaven Bilić, Roberto Mancini, and Sven Goran-Eriksson. You may recall that I even wrote a post about it. As I have already mentioned I think that Hart is a decent manager, but he is not in the same class as any of the other managers that I just mentioned. I fully admit to thinking that Mancini would be the next Pompey boss. The one thing that I am worried about is that to succeed in the Premier League you need to be more than a decent manager.
The other hiccup that fans have noticed is that the buying power that we were rumoured to have with the new owner doesn't seem to have materialised. The rumour is that there were other investors who did not want to be subjected to the Fit & Proper Persons test (a requirement for anyone owning more than 10% of a Premier League Club). This means that Pompey are still looking for transfer bargains.
I know that all Canadians will agree with me that there is not a better bargain out there than Julian de Guzman, who is available on a free transfer after parting ways with Deportivo La Coruña. With some of the selling that we have done, we need help in all positions. At least with Hart in place we can start to bring in new players as we now have someone in charge. Given that the preseason is already underway I hope that we start signing people quickly.
Peter Storrie has mentioned that Portsmouth have 3 or 4 players lined up who could be signed quickly plus another 3 or 4 that they are looking at. I am looking forward to figuring out who these players are. As it happens, Pompey are playing their first preseason match tonight against Havant & Waterlooville (you may remember their FA Cup run). There are few players with us on trial plus a bunch of players that I have never heard of.
Hopefully by the time that the season starts we will have a better idea what the squad looks like, and the sort of year that we can expect. I am interested to here your thoughts, so vote in my poll and let me know where you think that Pompey will end up next May.
Play Up Pompey! Pompey Play Up!