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Fixture News

Andrew Cullen's Barnsley Programme Notes

Read the thoughts of the CEO

4 February 2023

Andrew Cullen
Photo: Jason Brown/Pro Sports Images
Fixture News

Andrew Cullen's Barnsley Programme Notes

Read the thoughts of the CEO

4 February 2023

Thank you all for attending this afternoon’s Sky Bet League One fixture with Barnsley and a warm welcome to everyone who has made the journey from Yorkshire.

My last set of programme notes for the Exeter fixture were sent to print just prior to the club’s confirmation of the appointment of John Mousinho as our new head coach. I would like to congratulate John and we are all delighted to welcome him and his family to Portsmouth.

I must also thank Simon Bassey and Lorenzo Dolcetti, who have now left the club. They are really good people who stood up to the challenge to take care of everything in the interim period, despite such uncertainty regarding their own futures. I am immensely grateful to them both and we wish them well with their next steps in their careers.

It was great that John, just a day after his arrival, was able to experience a winning start, backed by such positive support from those present at Fratton Park. The victory over Exeter was then followed up a few days later by an impressive team performance at Fleetwood. Those back-to-back wins did much to reinvigorate confidence and belief among everyone and although we suffered a setback at Peterborough last Saturday, there was fight and spirit right at the very end, with only a disputed chalked-off goal preventing a point being taken back to the south coast.

Much has already been written and spoken about the process of appointing John and the careful diligence we undertook interviewing a number of candidates. When we met John, we were struck by his strong personality, determination and leadership credentials. There was real clarity in the way he articulated his coaching philosophy and the manner of the playing identity he wanted to implement to entertain supporters and win matches. Furthermore, John’s overall alignment to both the development of our footballing vision and our player recruitment strategy, gave us the confidence that we had someone uniquely special and a head coach who could work well with Rich Hughes to take us forward and deliver long overdue success for Portsmouth Football Club. We are close to finalising John’s support coaching team and I hope we can introduce everyone to you very soon.

Amidst the head coach search and appointment, work strengthening the squad in the transfer window continued unabated. I am delighted that we were able to welcome two more new faces on deadline day, with a transfer fee paid to Fleetwood for Paddy Lane, signed on a three-and-a-half-year contract, and also the completion of the loan of Di’Shon Bernard from Manchester United. We welcome both to Pompey, along with Matt Macey, who joined us 24 hours before the Exeter fixture, where he made his debut, alongside our other permanent January capture, Ryley Towler.

As with any transfer window, the primary objective was naturally to finish stronger than going into it. We start February with one additional first team member and two permanent talented players, Ryley and Paddy, who both possess huge potential, are first team ready and are particularly aligned to the playing identity we are determined to shape.

I am once again grateful to our owners, who were willing to increase the playing budget yet again, despite the heavy and unanticipated costs which were incurred in making the coaching changes in January. They did so because the investment is fully reflective of the board’s long-term strategy to recruit some of the best young and upcoming talent on permanent contracts and to help create the conditions for success. I would also like to thank head of recruitment Phil Boardman, who provided much of the groundwork in identifying and completing due diligence on all four players at a very early stage, and also to both Rich Hughes and Tony Brown, who worked hard to complete everything well ahead of the 11pm deadline on Tuesday.

Today we mark our commitment towards supporting the world’s biggest football campaign to tackle climate change – Green Football Weekend. We join a group of 80 professional UK clubs in the battle to protect our planet. This is an interactive campaign encouraging all club supporters to score ‘green goals’ by taking climate-friendly actions in a bid to take tackle climate change, protect nature and, at the same time, save money. Full details on how you can choose activities and register your goals can be found on the club website.

We recently signed up to the Green Partnership Charter and as a key city institution, the football club is committed towards creating a meaningful environmental strategy with clear objectives and milestones, all of which will continue to be developed over the next few months. Among the initiatives already identified is a matchday travel survey, which will be sent this week to all supporters. This survey will not only help us understand and work towards improving supporter travel arrangements to and from Fratton Park, but will also be a crucial component toward developing the strategic plan for the future redevelopment of our site. We can then share the top-line results with other key stakeholders. We would therefore be grateful for everyone’s support in completing and returning the survey.

Today also sees us supporting and profiling the local LGBT community as part of a commitment to our equality, diversity and inclusion programme.

We travel to high-flying Plymouth next Saturday before returning here for a home ‘date’ with Burton on Valentine’s Day. We do have some limited matchday hospitality places for those of you who might want to treat someone special!

As ever, thank you for your fantastic support and we hope we can deliver another three points for you this afternoon. Enjoy the game and PUP!

Andrew Cullen
CEO


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