Early Doors

Shot through the Hart

Early Doors

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Yesterday was quite a day to be a Portsmouth fan, featuring as it did no fewer than five sizeable pieces of bad news:

1 - The Premier League siphon off £7m of TV money to pay to clubs owed by Pompey. Bad news for players hoping to be paid on time this month.

2 - No mention is made of lifting the club's transfer embargo - scuppering their chances of picking up a few freebie loans this month.

3 - Ahmed Al-Faraj, brother of owner Ali, asks fans to put up with another 10 months of chaos before complaining, saying: "It is not right to be criticised for two months, that is not fair. We need six months or a year, after that they have the right."

4 - Portsmouth's one remaining player from the 'glory years' (2008 seems a long time ago), David James, nears a loan move to Stoke City.

5 - Harry Redknapp is charged with two counts of cheating the public revenue relating to his time at Fratton Park*. Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie was charged last year. Both deny the charges.

* Incidentally, the CPS press release announcing the news called him 'former Portsmouth City manager Henry Redknapp'. Can we be sure it's the same bloke?

So severe was the bad news blitzkrieg that there was even some Pompey-related collateral damage, as former Fratton Park boss Paul Hart lost his job as QPR manager.

Hart lasted just five games at Loftus Road, which is actually not bad going - placing him level with Mick Harford and Gareth Ainsworth, and ahead of the short-lived double-act of Steve Gallen and Marc Bircham.

The next manager will not, as widely reported, be the 10th in 26 months, since he is one of the original nine - it was only a matter of time until the bosses started coming round for a second stint, and Harford is likely to return to take charge of first-team affairs.

Early Doors was going to add "on a short-term basis" to the end of that sentence - but clearly at Loftus Road no other basis exists.

Flavio Briatore's mismanagement has been so profound, it is a mystery how his charges won four Formula One drivers' titles (or is it?).

New managers are advised not to bother finding a house in the area or bringing personal effects into their office.

ED would not be surprised to learn that Hart has spent the last month living out of a suitcase in a broom cupboard at the forbidding Springbok Pub on South Africa Road, where every night dozens of locals provide scientific proof that it is spitting distance from the ground.

Still, the Hoops should not fight this chronic short-termism, but make a virtue of it.

In the Roman Republic, consuls served for one month only. And if a month is enough for one of history's greatest civilisations, it is surely good enough for a second-tier English football team.

Even more compelling than Ancient Rome is popular culture, which boasts countless examples of constant chopping and changing paying dividends.

TV quizzes like Have I Got News For You and Never Mind The Buzzcocks have thrived since ditching permanent hosts in favour of guest appearances.

Meanwhile, over on ED favourite American Idol, the inane babbling of Paula Abdul has been replaced by the inane babbling of a succession of guest judges.

It helps to keep things fresh, and it mitigates wrong choices. This week, Victoria Beckham was on for the Boston auditions. She was rubbish. No problem! Next week Mary J. Blige joins us in Atlanta!

QPR should install one of those dispensers found at the supermarket cheese counter and allow the public to take tickets.

When your number comes up, you get to be QPR manager for a day or two (true, some bosses would get a game while others would have to make do with a couple of training sessions), before making way for the next person in line.

It could hardly be more ridiculous than what is happening at present.

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Today's Daily Mirror reports that Kieron Dyer is considering quitting football aged 31. One question, though: how would anybody know?

Incidentally, Dyer would be the second player treated by Dr John Green to retire prematurely after Dean Ashton.

Dr Green was the man who testified in the infamous Michael Owen brochure that claims the then-Newcastle man was injury-prone were "nonsense".

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: GMTV's Penny Smith sheds light on why footballers get injured: "My theory is that they're like racehorses. They're overbred, almost." Sports presenter Dan Lobb must wish he were still sitting next to Sam Matterface in the Sky Sports News studio.

FOREIGN VIEW: The earring that was confiscated from Diego Maradona as part payment of his tax arrears in Italy has been sold to an anonymous woman at auction for 25,000 euros (£22,250).

The piece of jewellery was taken by police while Maradona was in Italy at a weight-loss clinic in September.

The Argentina coach owes the Italian inland revenue more than 30 million euros stemming from unpaid taxes when he played for Napoli and helped them to win the Serie A title in 1987 and 1990.

COMING UP: An absolute belter from the African Cup of Nations - Ivory Coast v Ghana at 18:30 UK time. There's also the usual weekend preview gubbins, plus the wit and wisdom of Jim White.

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