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League One

Andy Ritchie's Blog 7

3 October 2012

Two fine victories and a very public spat between their potential new owners - just another ordinary week for Portsmouth Football Club.

Starting with the off-field traumas, I must confess I found it odd that Balram Chainrai thought it was acceptable to dismiss the bid from the Portsmouth Supporters Trust with such disdain. He claimed there would be 'in fighting' and cast doubts on the financial stability of the offer from PST, and while he's entitled to his opinions it does strike me that if he was to take control himself, he might be getting off on the wrong foot with the fans.

Surely, if Chainrai is to have any sort of relationship with the Pompey supporters he needs to show them more respect. Alienating them while he still has a chance to seize control seems a bit crackers to me. I know I shouldn't show bias but I really do hope it's the Trust that ends up looking after this great club moving forwards. You know they will have its best interests at heart.

On a more positive note, it's lovely to see Michael Appleton and his squad kick start their npower League 1 season with back-to-back wins this week. Beating Scunthorpe United at Fratton Park was a start, but their 2-1 success at Yeovil Town was a huge, perhaps unexpected, boost.

Appleton is fighting fires on a daily basis and must be tearing his hair out at the boardroom struggles but he continues to keep spirits high and the team together, pulling in one direction. His work is really commendable.

It's been a touch traumatic along the south coast at Bournemouth this week too, with manager Paul Groves losing his job after a run of just one win in 10 matches.

I sound like a broken record in this blog bemoaning how little time managers get these days to show that their methods work, so I won't bore you with that again, but it's clear their defeat at Crawley Town just tipped them over the edge. Losing to an arguably smaller club, with a tighter budget, doesn't often go down well with chairmen sadly. I also wonder if being struck on the head with a match programme by one of the Cherries fans after the Walsall game at the weekend prompted the Bournemouth chairman to take action, too. It's never nice knowing that the fans are feeling so angry.

Maybe new signing David James will throw his hat into the ring? His comments on local radio, when saying: "He [Groves] is a lovely bloke but I am not going to tell any fan not to vent their feelings based on how nice someone is. They pay their way and have a right to an opinion," wasn't hugely supportive. It could be a chance for him to get into coaching.

One coach who is well established now is Swindon Town's Paolo Di Canio of course, and I found it fascinating to read his thoughts in a new BBC Sport column.

As I've said before he thinks football management is a complex business where you need to be many things, including a psychologist, and I couldn't agree more. I was also really interested to hear his take on why he subbed goalkeeper Wes Foderingham a few weeks back. To me, despite his sometimes controversial character, Di Canio appears to have a very wise footballing brain. He's a top boss in the making.

Unfortunately this week, we lost a superb player from the game, due to a knee injury, and that's MK Dons' midfielder Jimmy Bullard. He didn't have the chance to make an impact in this division sadly but if he'd stayed fit he might well have been the star man on show.

I've had close friends, including Frankie Bunn, retire prematurely through injury problems so I've seen up close the agony it causes people. Your head says you'll be okay to carry on but your body tells you something different, and nine times out of ten it's sensible to listen to your body. I feel so, so sorry for Jimmy.

As a player he was fantastic, especially before he began to suffer with so many injuries. I also enjoyed him as a character too, so English football will be a quieter, less fun place without him.

This time last week he was turning up for training and now he's at a loss, not knowing what to do with his days, but I am sure he'll bounce back and find a new vocation, perhaps in football.

I wish Jimmy all the best for whatever he decides to do in the future.

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