Next up in our series of pre-season blogs is Phil Whyte who is impressed with what Paul Cook has had to say so far.
As July comes of age, the new season is only a few weeks away, and we begin to crave what we’ve been missing for the first half of the summer. This year is no different and I’m certainly looking forward to 3pm on the 8th August. In fact, after attending the Shareholders Forum last Sunday, I can’t wait for kick-off to arrive.
Yet only 12 weeks ago, I was relieved that the season had ended. Such is this fickle game we follow.
I’d be very surprised if any Pompey fan enjoyed last term. It was a season that saw Pompey under-perform and whimper into a final position that was a long way off our expectations of a year ago.
New manager Paul Cook is now firmly entrenched and we have a virtually new squad to get to know, so it’s all change in the dressing room too.
I must say that I was personally impressed with the rhetoric from Cook and his coaching staff, Ian Foster and Leam Richardson. In particularly I liked the ‘to be’ philosophy, where they intend to set up the squad that will take the game to the opposition, no matter who they are, home or away.
They feel they have a squad of players who are technically capable of doing this, and it’s the collective coaching staff’s role to give them the confidence to do it in the way they train and prepare for matches.
This probably sounds like music to the ears of Pompey fans, who have had to endure pretty dull, and often dire performances for the best part of two seasons. Before that, three seasons of free fall and uncertainty, as we fought for financial survival, which fortunately ended in resurrection under the Trust in 2013.
Cook was pretty outright and determined to get the message over that the style of play Pompey will adopt will be an exciting brand. He and his staff repeated that message in various guises throughout the evening.
He went on to state “I want the performance of the team to be the highlight of the week for the fans”.
That’s quite a statement and should set the fans up in the right mood for the coming season. I wish Paul every success and hope he can deliver the expectations he has set out; the fans deserve a decent season.
But now it’s time to see if the hype can be lived up to.
Photo: Ian Foster, Leam Richardson, Paul Cook & Express FM’s Dan Windle