Life on the other side for ruthless Cook

Ben Chorley. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Chorley. Picture: Joe Pepler

When Chesterfield last locked horns with Pompey it was Richie Barker’s finest moment of a disastrous tenure.

Yet one year, two months and 17 days since that Proact Stadium goalless draw, only two of that Pompey 18-man squad remain.

What’s more, four of the Blues’ starting line-up featured in Monday’s brutal cull.

An act performed, of course, by Paul Cook – the manager of the Spireites that evening.

It was March 2014 when Barker’s team headed to Chesterfield for a televised encounter with a side marching to the League Two title.

The subsequent goalless draw was solid and positive, rightly lauded by Pompey fans, manager and players alike.

It dared to suggest the Blues had their turning point – and how they needed it in a season slipping towards a relegation battle.

The team which started included Joe Devera, Nicky Shorey, Ben Chorley and Wes Fogden, with Ryan Taylor out injured.

On Monday those five were among nine players told they had no Fratton futures upon the expiry of their contracts.

Still, the line-up against Chesterfield also included Trevor Carson, who was relegated from the Football League this season with Cheltenham.

Bondz N’Gala, a regular in Barnet’s Vanarama Conference title triumph, partnered Chorley in the centre of defence.

Jed Wallace, Ricky Holmes and Fogden occupied the attacking midfield spots, backed up by Romain Padovani.

The on-loan Toumani Diagouraga also featured, later returning to Brentford who this season he has represented regularly during their surge into the Championship play-off semi-finals.

Leading the line was Jake Jervis, who has gone on to become a serial substitute at Ross County, netting five times during the campaign.

Of the entire squad, only Wallace and unused substitute Johnny Ertl presently remain at Fratton Park.

Even then, Wallace will this summer depart for what is expected to be Championship football once the clause in his contract is activated.

As for Ertl, despite being contracted for another year, there will be questions over his future having continually failed to feature under a number of Blues managers.

Patrick Agyemang, a player who left in March this year under Andy Awford, was an 89th-minute replacement for Jervis in the match.

Fellow substitutes Phil Smith, Sonny Bradley. Marcus Painter, Therry Racon and Ashley Harris all departed in the summer of 2014.

As for Barker, he lasted only five more matches before leaving Fratton Park.

That March 2014 fixture reflects Pompey’s ongoing short-termism.

And now Cook has cleared the decks even further.