The Sack Race

Greetings Pompey Fans

My name is Jim Bonner and I am the new editor of Portsmouth Mad. Please bare with with me as I get used to my new job as Keith will be a hard act to follow.

I am a season ticket holder at Fratton Park and I do travel to many away games also. I have seen every Pompey game this season bar the Everton game at Goodison Park, which happened to be our first win of the season! I did travel to Anfield and watch Liverpool practically walk over us as the Pompey fans were chanting such things like "Always look on the bright side of life" and "Can we play you every week?"

So that is where I will pick up.. and what a topic to be writing my first article on!

I wake up today to find that Alain Perrin has been relieved of his duties as Portsmouth manager. Not that I'm suprised because the fans, players and Milan himself seemed to be very restless recently following only ten points from thirteen games. A very telling fact considering we're seventeenth in the Premiership by goal difference and Everton have a game in hand on us.

So what of the short career of Alain Perrin and did his performance really justify Milan swinging the axe? Fratton Faithful takes a look at Reggie's brief spell in charge..

Alain Perrin was originally appointed to stop a tremendous slide down the Premiership table after Velimir Zajec had seemed to have lost the plot completely. He made an instant impact as the following home fixture with Charlton turned out to be one of the games of the season as we raced into a 2-0 lead before blowing that lead in typical Pompey fashion and going in at the break at 2-2. Perrin responded to this by bringing on another two strikers and it payed off as two late goals sealed a 4-2 win. That sort of tactic seems a far cry from the Alain Perrin we were used to this season.

The following game saw a much more disciplined performance at Birmingham then a narrow defeat against Liverpool that a few Pompey fans had even forgot was being played to the magnitude of the subsequent match.. and we all know what happened in that one!

After the demolishion of our neighbours (and greatest ever derby win) we proceeded to lose to Man City, get a lucky draw against Bolton and then lose to West Brom but then Ricardo Fuller was playing that game so it was obvious we were going to go easy on them. When it was all said and done Perrin had kept us up with games to spare and there were positive vibes coming from Fratton Park.

These soon turned a bit negative as Perrin began to perform major surgery on the squad getting rid of seasoned veterans and Pompey heroes Arjan de Zeeuw and Steve Stone as well as major players like Patrik Berger and Shaka Hislop which angered many fans. His replacements? The likes of Andy O'Brien, Laurent Robert and Zvonomir Vukic who promised much but haven't really delivered this season.

His record wasn't very impressive this season to be truthful. No home wins this season against the likes of ten man Villa and ten man Birmingham. Our only two wins this season under Perrin have come against even worse sides than us (well Everton were at the time and Sunderland were just plain awful). It could be argued that he needed more time to gel his side but we all know that Mandaric isn't the most patient of men and some of our fans are perhaps even less patient.

My personal feelings are that it was time for Perrin to go. I had lost all faith in him after the miserable time at Anfield and his baffling tactics to continue playing one up front when we were two behind and continously playing only one up front at home which always frustrates the home fans. The players themselves also don't seem to want to play for the manager, complaining about his tactics and training methods if the media are to be believed. Getting rid of Perrin now will give us time to find a new manager, appoint him so he can get to know the team during the games we're unlikely to win in time for what promises to be a vital home clash against West Brom.

I wish Alain good luck in the future and now await his replacement. The bookies make Neil Warnock and George Burley favourites to take the Fratton hotseat though who knows when it comes to Pompey?

That brings my first Fratton Faithful column to an end. I hope you enjoyed reading it.