Pompey chief gives verdict on Brown, Hughes, Lawrence, Utaka - and more
By Site reporter
Wednesday 05 Jan 2011 22:38:00
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John Utaka and Liam Lawrence aren’t on the brink of leaving Pompey. Reduced-terms offers to Michael Brown and Richard Hughes have been withdrawn. Attempts are being made to tie David Nugent, Joel Ward and Nadir Ciftci to Fratton Park. And Pompey aren’t panicking about being in the bottom half of the Championship table.

Those are the headline points from David Lampitt’s latest long and detailed ‘diary entry’ on the club’s official website, which comes after the chief executive came under fire from some fans for being out of the country at a crucial time for the club.


Arguably the biggest revelation in Lampitt’s words are that there are no longer new contract offers on the table to Brown and Hughes, who cannot play again for Pompey without triggering new deals – and now, it appears, nor will they play for the Blues again.

Lampitt said: ‘If Michael or Richard were to play one more game it would trigger new contracts at a level the club simply cannot afford. We sought to reach a compromise and we made what we consider to be very reasonable offers to both players.

‘The players wanted more, as is their prerogative and there is no criticism for that, but we have been disciplined in our approach and will not pay more than market rate or we can afford. Steve and I were hopeful that they would not have played their last games for us and that their desire to play football for this great club, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the team-mates who they have fought so hard with all season, would be their over-riding priority.

‘Unfortunately, we have not reached agreement and their offers have now been withdrawn as we have to move on and make some tough decisions about building for the future with alternative resources.’

But while those two’s Fratton days are numbered, Lampitt shot down rumours linking Lawrence and Utaka with moves.

The chief exec added: ‘I shouldn’t have been too surprised to see Liam linked with a move away from us the day after he had signed! Never mind that he can't move twice in the same window the story about a supposed bid from West Ham was as much of a surprise to me as it was to the manager and is fairly typical of the sort of nonsense that seems to surface at this time of year.

‘The same goes for a report sent through to me this morning about a club in Turkey that we have apparently agreed terms with for the sale of John Utaka, which is pretty remarkable given that the club involved hasn't even contacted us.’ Lampitt said the Blues were looking to bring in a couple of loan players in what would a prudent transfer window and were hopeful of three existing squad members signing new deals.

‘Steve has mentioned publicly that he has a "small kitty" to work with in January. These details have been known for a little while but, as I’m sure you will understand, we don’t necessarily want to advertise our trading position to other clubs that we have to compete with/negotiate with. This is sensible business practice which I hope is not confused with a lack of transparency on our part,’ Lampitt said.

‘In terms of our transfer activity this month we have to be prudent. I don’t intend to put the club's future at risk by pursuing a spending policy that cannot be supported, that significantly increases the club's indebtedness or risks the intervention of the Football League, who oversee and approve all our player trading in line with the business plan,’ he added.

‘We have been negotiating contract extensions with David Nugent, Joel Ward and Nadir Ciftci. Nuge has had a bit of a renaissance this season under Steve's tutelage, and I'm sure you will share my desire that he, and the other younger players, commit as soon as possible to being an important part of the future of the club.’

Lampitt also played down Pompey’s slide to 18th place after taking only two points from their four festive games and said: ‘The Championship remains very open with just 14 points separating the play-off places from the bottom three, and despite a couple of defeats everyone at the club is still very much looking up the table rather than down and we know that a decent run of results can change things very quickly.’

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