According to Paul Jiggins at the sun, former Cardiff and Millwall manager Neil Harris is the man Pompey want to replace another former Millwall manager in Kenny Jackett.
Jackett was sacked on Sunday following Portsmouth’s penalty shootout defeat in the Papa John’s trophy final against Salford City, on Saturday at Wembley. It would be naive however to think that his sacking was based on that result, because it certainly was not.
If you look at Jackett‘s record in isolation, the decision to oust him seems a harsh one. Since he took over in June 2017 Pompey have a 50% win ratio, anyone who knows their football will tell you that is a very respectable return.
This season though I believe the Pompey board and fans demanded promotion, you can’t blame them really considering the size and stature of their club in the division they’re in.
You have to bare in mind that in fairly recent memory, Pompey were winning the FA Cup, hosting European football and getting results against the likes of AC Milan, who had a fairly well known fella called Ronaldinho on show that night, not to mention Inzaghi, Kaka, Shevchenko, Pirlo all making appearances at Fratton Park in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
A club who’s fans can still easily remember those times just cannot be languishing in League One.
So with that said, after 2 wins in 10 games and with the club sliding slowly out of the play off places, add in the 3.5/4 years in charge, the decision was fair.
Onto Neil Harris then, what can Pompey fans expect should he take charge?
As a Millwall fan I am well equipped to tell you about a man I call a legend, as a player at least. Under his tenure ship we had a great few years With plenty of highs and a fair few lows. The good far outweighed the bad though, only a fool would argue differently.
Here is my breakdown on how I perceive my clubs record goal scorer, in terms of a manager.
- We scored a lot of goals in League One, the football was direct but It was effective at that level and for a season in the league above
- Set plays were like penalties for a while, especially corners. He knows how to set up his sides to be deadly from corners and free kicks that’s for sure.
- His teams are hard to beat. Whilst we lost games, we were rarely embarrassed. The Worst performance was probably our defeat away at Fulham when they broke a record for possession in a game, that wasnt great. But in the main we were very solid at the back, many a big side couldn’t breach us.
- Good results in big games and against the better sides. It was the smaller sides we struggled against.
- 6 away wins consecutively for the first time in our history, level with a record set by Kenny Jackett funnily enough
- 17 game unbeaten run in the Championship
- 2 FA Cup quarter final appearances beating Premier League sides Watford, Bournemouth, Leicester (when they were champions), Everton
- Play off wins away at Scunthorpe (3-2) and Bradford (3-1). Both of them games will be forever remembered, unreal days out. A play off final win v Bradford (1-0) also. Spose I should also mention the 3-1 play off final loss to Barnsley for some balance
- Memorable wins home and away against our rivals like Leeds and Charlton, very few defeats in big games overall in fact - 8th placed Championship finish
Those are some of the good things, now let’s move on to the bad.
- Stubbornness, he can be very head strong and stick with things even when it’s clear a shake up is needed.
- Defensive & direct tactics are 2 words many would associate with him. He often sets up to not lose games and the football can be tough on the eyes. When In league 1 with Millwall though, those tactics worked a treat with the squad we had. He ran out of ideas a level above but wasn’t helped by the quality of player we had/have at our disposal.
- Released Eze From our youth team for god knows what reason. He has since scored against us 3 times for QPR and has gone onto make them millions after his transfer to our local rivals Crystal Palace. We didn’t get a penny. That wasn’t Harris’ best moment.
- Dodgy subs were sometimes an issue, for a while they became too predictable
Yes I am biased, the man was my childhood hero along with Tim Cahill and Christophe Kinet, but I like to think I know my football and I will stick my neck on the line and say this would be an excellent move for both Neil Harris and Portsmouth football club.
A proven track record at League one level in recent history is something he can boast, he is well aware of the division and the players, and he has proved he can build a squad which is capable of not only getting promoted, but of being able to sustain itself in the league above.
Gary Rowett has said numerous times since joining Millwall, the squad was the best one in terms of quality and atmosphere in the dressing room that he’d ever walked into.
Mick McCarthy also said similar when he walked into Cardiff recently, proving Harris gets a lot of things right behind the scenes.
So my verdict is as I said above, I believe Harris and Pompey would be an ideal fit at this moment in time. Whilst he may not guide them to the premiershit where they would love to get back to, he is more than capable of getting them to the Championship given a season or two.
What do you think Pompey fans? Put your thoughts in the comments or contact us to write your own piece and we will publish it!
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