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Fixture News

Andrew Cullen's Port Vale Programme Notes

Read the thoughts of the CEO

25 March 2023

Andrew Cullen
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep
Fixture News

Andrew Cullen's Port Vale Programme Notes

Read the thoughts of the CEO

25 March 2023

Thank you all for being with us for today’s Sky Bet League One fixture against Port Vale and a warm welcome to everyone who has made the trip south from Staffordshire

We return to Fratton Park after back-to-back victories on the road – the first in wintry conditions at Accrington and then at Bristol Rovers last weekend. These two games completed a sequence of nine fixtures in just 33 days, with tiring, late-night journeys home for so many of our travelling support. Thank you for playing your part in helping to deliver a return of 19 points from those nine games, which has helped to establish our place among the form teams in the division, with everything still to play for.

We were pleased to have Eric Eisner and Andy Redman over from the US for the Rovers match and hope that fans found their respective interviews with the Portsmouth News and BBC Radio Solent both informative and helpful.

We were delighted to confirm the permanent appointment of Zesh Rehman as our first team development coach on Thursday. Zesh has been part of the first team group since January and now formally makes the step up from his previous role as the academy’s lead professional development phase coach, where he worked with the under-18s.

Zesh’s new role is consistent with our strategy to identify, recruit, coach and improve emerging talent and he will have a specific role in coaching our younger first team squad members, as well as wider first team responsibilities. I am delighted too for the academy – it shows there is a real progression route for all our talented staff there and is a clear demonstration of our desire to align all football operations more closely, something that is essential if we are to credibly create the conditions for football success.

Congratulations to Zesh and also to Joe Morrell and Dane Scarlett on their international call-ups. Both players miss today’s game, but that, in turn, has created opportunities for others, with a number of the squad returning to full fitness.

The academy will today be proud to present the latest of its showcase events, with the under-11 team parading at half-time. This particular age group has strengthened bonds with the local community this season through the Pompey Challenge Series. This has seen invitations made to 15 local grassroots teams to send their similar age groups to take on our team. We are determined to do all we can to build better relationships with local junior clubs and another illustration of this has been the continuing professional development workshops that the academy have been running. Our last event saw 49 clubs represented – not just from Portsmouth, but across Hampshire, Dorset and Sussex. These continue to generate significant interest and are indicative of the strategic direction we are taking to not only deliver a competitive academy, but one respected among those clubs who will ultimately deliver the brightest talent to Pompey. Our under-8 age group are also watching the game today. This will be their first experience of Fratton Park and we hope it is one they will cherish for many years to come.

Next Saturday we face Forest Green here in a fixture that marks the start of our year-long 125th anniversary celebrations. The Pompey History Society and PST have, together with other members of the 125th anniversary committee, worked for several months to plan a diverse and exciting programme of events and initiatives. We will be joined by more than 40 former players for the game, with many favourites meeting supporters before kick-off in both the Fanzone and the Victory Bar. They will all be introduced to the crowd at half-time on what is a very special day for Portsmouth Football Club.

The game will also see the introduction of a new ‘Champions of England’ display in the North Stand west mezzanine concourse bar, while there are special competitions and extra entertainment for our younger supporters in the Fanzone. There is much to come over the next 12 months and I will be pleased to highlight more in next week’s notes.

Finally, we were pleased to confirm that our annual end of season awards dinner takes place on Tuesday, May 2. The black tie event will see all our players in attendance and the return of FA Cup winning manager Harry Redknapp as guest speaker. There is already a high demand for tickets and further details on how you can reserve your place can be found on the club website.

Thank you once again for your attendance today and enjoy the game. PUP!

Andrew Cullen
CEO


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