I’d love to spend the rest of the afternoon ruminating over Bolton’s sluggish display against Marsellie in the UEFA Cup, but I’ve got bigger problems to sort out. Like for instance, how come Bill Clement is on every channel I flip to?
The Fiver’s Paul Doyle and Barry Glendenning, however, are keenly focused on the soap opera that is Portsmouth’s 2005-06 campaign.
When assorted newspapers began reporting that Portsmouth sugar-daddy Alexandre Gaydamak (above) wanted to sack ‘Appy ‘Arry Redknapp, the club’s co-owner Milan Mandaric was unimpressed. “Once again they have shown themselves to have little respect for factual accountability,” he snarled, glaring at nearby hacks. And if anyone respects factual accountability it’s Milan, the man who insisted “there’ll be no changes in the foreseeable future” approximately 24 hours before he handed Pompey’s previous manager, Reggie Perrin, his P45.
The benevolent Gaydamak invested more than £20m in Portsmouth back in January, prompting jealous fans of other clubs in the Premiership basement to accuse the south-coast outfit of trying to “buy relegation”. And with 467 extra players on the payroll and just one point secured from a possible 18 since the Russian started waving his wad, all seems to be going according to plan. Which could explain Milan’s apparent lack of concern.
“Only on Friday I addressed fans and asked them all to give the club their full backing,” he muttered, as the Fiver’s gaze was drawn to a visible vibration in his trousers. “In that I included the players and ‘Arry Redknapp, whom I personally named,” he grimaced, struggling to be heard over an audible hum. “There have been no discussions between myself and Alexandre Gaydamak over Harry’s futAAAAAAGH!” he screamed, yanking a smoking mobile phone from his pocket.
“I’m getting text messages saying we should sack Harry,” he whimpered by way of exclamation, with the beaten air of a man whose number is scrawled on toilet walls the length and breadth of a town awash with seamen.