Dennis Lampwick, Pompey’s new excuse-finder general, has defended the club’s policy of saying what the fans want to hear after a barren transfer-deadline day.
Lampwick, who moved to Fratton Park from the Football Association where he gained a solid reputation for goal-post moving, has been criticised by some fans’ groups after saying only a couple of weeks ago that players would be sold ‘only for football reasons’ and that he expected two permanent signings to be made before the transfer window slammed shut.
He broke off from installing triple-glazing, floor-length curtains and an upholstered, stiffened pelmet around the transfer window to give Frattonise an exclusive interview.
“I apologise if some fans believe I have misled them,” said Lampwick, “but in football terms it’s called misinformation. Or, in common parlance, telling the fans what they want to hear when they need to hear it.
“That was why I was brought here. I had years of experience in coaching club officials in the timing of anodyne statements and how to fend off fans’ frustrations with face-saving mistruths.
“It is an art form and the fans should celebrate it rather than chastise us for resorting to it. Excuse-finding is just like anything else – its styles go in and out of fashion. Only a few years ago, for example, fans at Pompey were content to hear Milan Madandrich bemoan the lack of signings by indicating the quality of the players he had at least tried to sign. It’s clever semantics of course – it’s just as easy not to sign Cristiano Ronaldo as it is not to sign Jason Crowe. But the PR value is much more.
“That style seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent years as people started to see through it, although I notice Harry Redknapp was using the same technique only today in trying to convince Spurs fans he’d only missed out on signing Charlie Adam ‘by minutes’. Old habits die hard for some people it would appear.
“However, we are more forward-thinking at Fratton Park and decided clever use of semantics would be the best policy for 2011. For example we did say players would leave the club ‘only for footballing reasons’ – and that is true. John Utaka left to play football elsewhere. And we said we expected two signings – we achieved that when we had the signatures of executives from both clubs on the official transfer document.
“It may not have been how the fans interpreted the statements but we achieved what we said. It’s not our fault fans choose to interpret the statement in an optimistic vein. For heaven’s sake, you’d think they would have supported the club for long enough now to know what was likely and what wasn’t.”
After a transfer window which saw Pompey’s squad increase from the official Government terror threat level of ‘threadbare’ to ‘bare bones’, fans' support group the Pompey Truss revealed a recent poll had shown 113 per cent of season-ticket holders would consider not renewing for 2011/12 unless Lampwick could again offer the sort of pathetic assurances which had already seen one planned demonstration postponed.
Lampwick added: “The owners and I are determined to once again come up with a risible argument for being optimistic. I’m sure the fans will not be disappointed. At least not until September 1 when the next window closes.”