Danny’s Pompey desire ends transfer quiet

Danny Hollands. Picture: Joe Pepler
Danny Hollands. Picture: Joe Pepler

It was all quiet on the transfer front for Andy Awford at the end of last week.

The Pompey boss was continuing discussions with a host of players as he ploughed on with his plans for putting a squad together for next season.

But, as for anything imminent? No, not a the moment.

Within 24 hours the Blues were offering up Danny Hollands for interview after he became Awford’s opening signing as the club’s manager.

The call came to Awford late the previous evening, the deal to bring in his prime target was in the bag.

The speed at which chief executive Mark Catlin had wrapped up the move caught Awford ever-so-slightly by surprise. A pleasant one at that.

This wasn’t a Machiavellian approach to the press from the Pompey manager or some Game of Thrones-style manoeuvring in the shadows.

One thing Awford has quickly been educated on since coming into the management game are deals aren’t done overnight.

That was pretty much how the Hollands move was wrapped up, though.

Why? Because there was an underlying drive on both sides to get the move done.

The fact a player who had offers at a higher level after being released by Championship Charlton had that desire is a sizeable compliment to Awford’s regime.

Seven games gave the 28-year-old a chance to size up Pompey and his new manager. It told him everything he needed to know.

‘It was a no-brainer from my point of view, really, Hollands said. ‘It just seemed like the right fit for me.

‘When something feels right, not just in football but in life, you go with it. That means more to me than money.’

A club of Pompey’s size within 20 minutes of his Fontwell home, where he lives with his wife and triplets, was a big part of why it did feel right for Hollands.

When a footballer’s personal life is content it is usually reflected on the pitch.

That was seen at the end of last season with the form which made the former Chelsea trainee an instant hit with fans.

With the wages Pompey are handing out these days, Hollands knows he is not going to be stockpiling riches for later life.

He could have earned better money elsewhere, he admitted.

But the midfielder was at pains not to downplay a deal ‘he was very happy with’ from his new club.

From Pompey’s view, it’s a statement of intent and a continuing signifier of their ability to attract decent quality in the Football League’s basement tier.

It wasn’t particularly meant as such and the point has been made any recruits should have their own motivations for joining.

Nicky Shorey nailing down his future is another fillip as Awford recharges his batteries on holiday this week.

He isn’t going to be rushed into making additions.

But, at the same time, he doesn’t want to be scrambling around like an MP trying to clamber on to a Eurosceptic soapbox as the season nears.

Hollands’ arrival will undoubtedly aid his cause, as will the new training ground, as he aims to project the image of a club on the move to prospective arrivals.

You get the feeling his first signing wouldn’t have needed a sales pitch to convince him to join Awford’s mission, though.

Unlike some, Hollands won’t be crying out for acknowledgement on his birthday.

A knowledge he can find a level of comfort on and off the pitch at his new home will suffice.