Hackett-Fairchild Bid Revealed – But Is The Story Accurate?

Credit Graham Burrell

Football Insider have revealed that we were rebuffed in a late bid for Portsmouth winger Reeco Hackett-Fairchild yesterday.

It’s an interesting story, suggesting we tried to sign the player and were told no. It’s been framed as Pompey heroically fighting off a bid for one of their players, but is that entirely accurate? I don’t know for sure, but examining the evidence suggests some face-saving may be happening at Fratton Park.

Look at the evidence. At 9:29am yesterday, respected Pompey reporter Andrew Moon tweeted that the player might be allowed to leave on deadline day. Why would a reporter do that? Think back to when news broke that Anthony Scully might be on the move in the summer – Michael Hortin broke it on air, but he doesn’t do that because he’s heard it on social media. He does it because an agent, or someone at the club, has put the information out there. So, when Moon tweeted Hackett-Fairchild could leave Portsmouth, the fact is right then and there, someone had told him that as a fact. It might have been Pompey, or it might have been the player’s agent, but the reporter will have a verifiable source for that news.

With that in mind, does it sound like we readied a late bid and missed out? No, not really. It sounds like we were made aware of a player’s availability and felt that he would be a good addition to the squad, so we tried to make a purchase. I would imagine at that stage, we’d already understand whether or not the player wanted to move to us as well, this wouldn’t be a ‘lets buy him’ moment, a rush of blood. Now, for whatever reason, Portsmouth later decided the player was staying put. It could have been because they didn’t sign Jevani Brown or because their attempts to buy Paddy Lane dragged on a little too much. Either way, late in the day, it seems like they decided Hackett-Fairchild couldn’t leave the club, and they blocked his move to Sincil Bank.

In the cold light of a February morning, what reason would there be to leak news we put in a late bid? There’s nothing to gain from our end; it’s clearly a Portsmouth story, so someone connected to their club wants it out there; they tried to keep Reeco Hackett-Fairchild. Why? It won’t be to placate the player; he’ll have likely been aware he was free to leave, then wasn’t, and that is a situation played out up and down the country. I’m sure it’s happened at Sincil Bank at times; players with deals lined up that fell through. However, Pompey wouldn’t need to tell a story like this to placate the player as he’d know the situation.

I can only think they’ve done it for their supporters. The report says they “turned down the offer for Hackett-Fairchild as new Pompey boss John Mousinho wanted to keep hold of him for the remainder of the season.” I’m not sure that was true at 9:30am yesterday morning, but in putting this out, the club are suggesting they resisted an attempt to buy a player; they remained strong. I wonder if it’s a reaction to missing out on Brown, a kind of ‘we were happy with what we had’ all along.

For me, the issue is our role in this story. It says we tried to buy a winger claiming we “attempted to recruit a proven winger”, suggesting we do not have such a thing. Remember, we have Jack Diamond, Midi Shodipo, Charles Vernam and Danny Mandroiu, a complement of four wingers we had at the start of the season. The story suggests we missed out; we failed to complete something we set out to do. I understand that whilst a deal was entirely possible, it was always an ‘if’ rather than a ‘when’.

I can understand Portsmouth putting the story out, but the yang to the story’s yin is we failed in something we set out to do yesterday, and I don’t believe that is the case. Let me be 100% clear about something – I had a conversation with a club insider last week where they laid bare their expected deadline day business. I was told four strikers with a preferred target. We got that target. I was told a midfielder who, at the time, we were trying to negotiate a fee for. We got him. I wasn’t old of any other major first-team business, but that bits ‘might happen’.

I don’t want what was a decent final 48 hours of the window to suddenly become a narrative where we missed out on a player at the last minute, hence this piece.