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Intetresting article on our chairman from 2005

Guest mcduk

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The highlighted bits of the article might explain why some new signings dont get a look in at s6.

Mandaric still keen - but is McLeish? Chairman's interference will not appeal, says Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson

MILAN Mandaric has worked his way through seven managers in the six years he has owned Portsmouth.

Even in the modern world of football, where coaches can have a similar shelf-life to yoghurt, he has established a firm reputation as one of the most ruthless boardroom operators.


Alan Ball, Tony Pulis, Steve Claridge, Graham Rix, Harry Redknapp, Velimir Zajec and Alain Perrin have, for a variety of reasons, been forced to vacate the Fratton Park hot seat.

After Neil Warnock rejected the opportunity to become the latest to put his head on the block, and Southampton denied Mandaric permission to talk to Redknapp about a return to the club, Rangers' Alex McLeish remains highon Mandaric's shortlist.

Mandaric will have to wait until next week to get his man, assuming that McLeish's Ibrox tenure will have ended after the final Champions League group game against Inter Milan on December 6.

"Joe Jordan will be in charge for the game against Manchester United on Saturday and the plan, as has been said all along, is to have someone in charge for the Tottenham Hotspur game on December 12, " said Mandaric yesterday.

While a move to the Premiership is McLeish's postRangers ambition, he is far from certain if Portsmouth is the right place to start, and with reason.

There are similarities between Mandaric and Vladimir Romanov, the major shareholder in Hearts, that extend beyond their eastern European roots. Like Romanov, the American-Serb rescued his club at a time of dire financial need and took a very personal control of their future path.

Mandaric has also been known to perform the Romanov trick of signing players that his manager hadn't considered for the squad, as Jim Duffy confirmed to The Herald.

The former Dundee manager was assistant to Rix during his 13-month spell in charge at Fratton Park which ended in March 2002. He is full of praise for Mandaric's investment in the club but offered some words of caution to McLeish.

"Milan is very much the man who will make the decisions, " said Duffy. "Sometimes those decisions are things that he wants to do, but not the manager's choice.

"Milan signed Robert Prosinecki for the club after meeting him and doing the deal personally. Yoshi Kawaguchi, the Japanese goalkeeper, was another he brought in.

"He certainly did those things when I was there and may have done so again, although I don't know. Milan is a huge influence at the club. He's a guy who believes his club should be in the midst of the Premiership."

Did Mandaric's interference in the manager's role go further than signing players and cross over into team selection?

"There were a variety of meetings between Milan and Graham and I sure there were lots of suggestions, if you like, about what team should play and what team shouldn't, " said Duffy.

"I kept out those things and always had a decent relationship with him. He told me I'd be welcome at the club and was very gracious in the times I've gone back down there.

"He always treated me fairly but there is a different relationship with the manager at the forefront. That's something any manager has to contend with . . . and he goes through his managers. Patience is obviously not his virtue.

"But you have to give Milan an enormous amount of credit for what's happened at the club. There certainly wouldn't be a Portsmouth in the Premiership without Milan."

Despite Mandaric's handson approach and the club's poor form, which led to the sacking of Perrin, a Premiership post tempts most managers, with Lawrie Sanchez and Brian Kerr the latest names to enter the frame.

"The first year, the vast majority of people expect a team to go back down, " added Duffy. "Once they had stayed up, then expectations rose dramatically, including from the chairman.

"He expects to be there all the time and is used to Premiership money. It's like a standard of living. Once you become used to earning a certain amount, you live that way. Portsmouth fans want to keep seeing Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea coming to Fratton Park.

"He is wanting guys who will rally the troops and get in amongst them. Milan knows they have a battle to stay up and needs a different type of manager from Perrin, someone with a bulldog spirit who can lift the place.

"Hopefully, that might be enough to galvanise them into staying up this season. They could then look to build again next summer."

Duffy believes, however, that McLeish will not want an immediate return to management after enduring the pressure of the past few months.

"It's a difficult job but it's also a great club in terms of support and passion, " he added. "Personally speaking, I don't think he'll take it just now, for the simple reason that he needs a month off.

"He's been through so much over the last couple of months that you can see it etched on his face. I think his family and those around him will tell him he needs a rest. He may not believe that but I think he does need to recharge his batteries and get his enthusiasm back.

"It's looks like leaving Rangers is a 'when' rather then than an 'if' but he needs a little break. Portsmouth want someone straight away.

"I would be surprised if he took it. Not because it's not a great club or a great opportunity but because the timing may not be right. But you can never tell.

"It's a great club and a beautiful place to stay. The fans would love Alex and he would love being there. I just think it might be a fewweeks before he is ready to commit."

Edited by mcduk
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That may explain an awful lot if he makes a habit of such interference in purchases and squad selection.

Lots of rumour and speculation about some of the purchases over the summer, and their subsequent disappearance from the 1st team scene.

I sat next to a bloke at Derby on the first day of the season who said Megson left as 'No' man, and DJ was picked as a 'Yes' man.

I really hope this isn't the case and we're not where we are simply through compliance with a Chairmanager.

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