Harry's not to blame

I recently had a chat with Hank, a mate of mine that's a Portsmouth season-ticket holder. He's come along to The Lane a few times and you could say that he know's his football pretty well. The only downer is that he and a lot more Pompey fans blame Harry for their current plight. Now, call me stupid, but how is Harry to blame?

Last I saw, Harry took Portsmouth into Europe and transformed them into a respectable Premier League side. I'm not saying that all Portsmouth fans want to vomit at the sound of Harry Redknapp's name, far from it, but the few that I know, want nothing to do with the man that brought them the F.A. Cup.

It's at this point where the cliché of the common football fan being fickle comes to mind. The majority of us, whether it's Torquay or Tottenham fans, are fickle by nature and maybe it's the fickle ingredient within our game which adds to the spice. Nevertheless, some fans do go overboard.

Portsmouth, at the moment, are a debacle. As Spurs fans, we know a mess when we see one. We've suffered enough torment over the years to know a "mish mash" when we see one and make no mistake about it, Pompey are in one now.

Who's to blame? Surely their Chief Executive, Peter Storrie has to take some, if not the bulk of it on board? Then we have Sacha Gaydamak, a wealthy man that stems from a wealthier family. He though, lost interest in the club after seeing how much money it would take to make his club a force. Faced with a top capacity crowd of just over 20,000, a training ground that even cockroaches would have trouble with and spiralling wages, Gaydamak decided to shut up shop and ceased investing anymore of his cash into the club.

Up steps Sulaiman Al-Fahim, a self proclaimed Doctor (of Real Estate apparently). He was the guy that made us all laugh when he was involved in the City takeover. Talk of "we'll buy Ronaldo, Kaka and anyone we want" immediately set alarm bells off. After a brief love affair with Manchester City, he realised just how much he loved it in England and so bought Portsmouth. I say buy, but no money actually changed hands between Gaydamak and the Doctor. He simply took on the debt. Realising that he didn't have a pot to piss in, sold the club onto Ali Al-Faraj.

What was the one constant in all of this? Peter Storrie. He presided over the Gaydamak, Al-Fahim and is now set to embark on the Al-Faraj reign. We'll just have to see whether the new owner has any clout or not.

I think you get the picture though; Harry built up a team from nothing, yet fans bemoan his spending spree. When the likes of Diarra, Johnson, Defoe, Crouch and Distin were being ushered into the club, I didn't hear any "protect the clubs balance sheet" chants from the Pompey faithful. Instead, what we did hear, was Harry talking up his players and encouraging them to push on.

When a manager is given money to spend in an attempt to take his club on to higher levels, he will (unless he's Arsène Wenger). Harry asked his Chief Executive (Peter Storrie) to get him certain players. Storrie went out and got them. Peter Storrie was the one who brought the players in and escalated the wage bill into oblivion, not Harry.

All this talk about Harry needing ex-SAS bodyguards when he returns to Fratton Park is really beginning to wind me up. Peter Storrie should take a long hard look at his actions over the past few seasons and Portsmouth fans should also lay off Harry and take a long hard look at the real culprits.

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