As Mark Catlin summed up perfectly, Pompey are readying themselves for a 12-match mini season as the race for promotion continues.
And what better way to steer the ship towards success, than a galvanising appointment of new management? Welcome, the Cowley brothers.
Not my first choice but – in retrospect, a knee-jerk reaction to how my perception of their career has gone, but like many and thanks to research and watching the brothers speak confidently and diligently of their philosophy, history and ways they like to work, I’m as excited to see what they bring as anyone else.
Talks of “audits”, and talking to everyone from chairman to tea lady is exactly what we need. No delusions of grandeur, engrained hierarchy or preference. Taking the club back to the basics, reviewing and studying every crack in the paint, and teasing out where the longer-term fixes are needed.
In truth, and given the past four years, there’s no bigger hole in the wall which needs fixing than the fanbase and its connection to the club. Over the past fortnight, we’ve seen the good, bad and ugly of that relationship with club management questioned (rightly) at every juncture, but also with falsehoods presenting themselves around the Eisners’ desire to keep or sell the football club.
We’ll never know the truth there – nor should we, and possibly that’s a nod back to our recent history where supporters are far less trusting of overseas investment than the once-fan-owned club we were. However mere rumours at the stage of a fractious relationship could cause gaping holes.
Ultimately, the Cowleys can’t fix that, nor is that their issue to resolve. But, from what we’ve seen across social media during the past week, isn’t just an outpouring of hope and positivity for the remainder of this campaign, but a renewed value of how supporters are viewing their relationship with their football club. The one they’ve supported their whole lives, grown up with and are by-in-large an extension of their own family, and a key player in their own mental well-being.
I’m incredibly excited to see what the Cowley era will bring. Whether that’s 12 games, 12 months or 12 years, we’ll see, and as fans we’ll never truly have grasp of what the club’s next move is likely to be.
Whether we’re looking to appoint a ‘bigger name’ in the summer, or whether it’s a test-and-learn approach with the Cowley brothers, we’ll all have to sit back, watch what happens and judge fairly based on approximately 1,080 minutes of football.
That said, regardless of any ‘success or failure’ the season ends up being, if the connection between fan and club mends itself, even just a little bit, it would have all been worth it. I for one, as one singular fan, know how disconnected I’ve felt from my football club for the past year, maybe two. No excitement for matches, and frankly, I’ve not missed the ground, the match day or the disappointment during the pandemic.
Is that now resolved? No. Time is a healer, and supporters need to see players and staff doing the hard yards, leaving everything on the pitch for that to change. It’s not an overnight sensation, but something which will take time and nurture.
But, as a supporter, I can’t wait to see that journey begin and hopefully watch it flourish.
Play up Pompey.
Photo: Portsmouth FC