After a fraught season, Portsmouth came close to a fairytale finale in the FA Cup Final last weekend. However, I’m afraid it is now back to reality and the daily grind for the Pompey faithful as the side looks set for reconstruction surgery over the summer; not the gentle nip-tuck kind, but rather the ‘major’ and ‘gory’ variety.
With a complete overhaul and a razor-sharp slash to the wage bill in the pipeline, the team which lines up at the start of the Championship season will look undeniably different to one from the FA Cup final.
So, in face of the constant speculation and developments regarding who will stay, who will go (you’ve just got to let me know!), it’s time for a quick summary and recap of the current transfer situation, options and stories doing the rounds. Portsmouth fans of a nervous disposition look away now.
Deep breath, stomach in, chest out, go…
Having gallantly steered the ship, the much loved Avram Grant is set to fill the vacant seat at West Ham despite agonising over the decision due to strong Pompey allegiances; bookmakers favourites to replace him including Hoddle and former Southampton player Iain Dowie (God help you if it is the latter). Even when being a nailed on 1/7 bookies certainty to leave, Pompey ‘still have Avram hope’ according to hopeful Portsmouth News website, in which case Slaven Bilic and Dave Jones are believed to be next in the running to take over at Upton Park. Loans expired; Jamie O’Hara, Yebda, Dindane and Frederic Piquionne have all left the club. Dindane is destined for Wolves, Blackburn or Bolton. Bolton clear favourites to secure Dindane to add some forward firepower. Yep, Dindane is definitely set to make a £2.5 million move to Bolton…wait, no he’s not, he’s off to Qatar, where the money is, baby! …or is he (eerie, mysterious voice)? Yeah, he probably is.
Piquionne will return to Lyon, after which he hopes to come back to England, having expressed a desire to stay in the Premier League. Once back in Britain, he’ll be collected from the airport and to begin his unsuccessful spell at Fulham, Blackburn and West Ham; not sure about the logistics, think they’re going to carve him up, or he’ll just keep it to the one club (reportedly Fulham).
To cut the wage bill, Steve Finnan, Jamie Ashdown, Basinas and Koroma have all been released and a weekly wage ceiling is to be imposed. The hope is Boateng can fetch a reasonable transfer fee, potentially from West Ham if (when) Grant is installed, whilst any offers for high earners Belhadj, Utaka, Michael Brown, Papa Bouba Diop and Hayden Mullins et al will be eagerly received. To maintain some sort of framework, David James, Ricardo Rocha and Hermann Hreidarsson form the ‘to keep’ wish list, and youth prospects including Joel Ward, Lenny Sowah and Marlon Pack are to be retained for the future of the club.
Wage cuts, retaining youth, cutting waste, keeping stability, cleaning up, moving on, choose life, choose a job, choose a career, choose a family, choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, choose getting carried away in Trainspotting vernacular, choose your future, choose life.