Could former Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel return to the EFL to propel Portsmouth to promotion?

by The Sack Race / 15 March 2021, 10:47

Portsmouth are looking for a new manager for the first time since 2017 following the club's decision to part ways with Kenny Jackett on Sunday.

At first, it was the usual suspects that featured in the next Portsmouth manager market, including Danny Cowley and Neil Harris, however one manager has since been installed as the outright frontrunner for the League One vacancy.

It’s former Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel who now leads the way at just at just 1/2 (Bet Victor), ahead of Harris (10/1), Cowley (12/1), Chris Coleman (12/1), and Lee Bowyer (20/1).

Judging by the reaction of many Pompey fans on social media, the German is a manager they’d welcome with open arms at Fratton Park.

Stendel was a surprise appointment at Barnsley in the summer of 2018 following the club’s relegation down to League One. But he swiftly won hearts and minds in Yorkshire and in turn led the Tykes up into the Championship in his first season - they finished ahead of the likes of Portsmouth and Sunderland - complete with an entertaining and attacking style of football.

“I like the style, it is very similar to my personality,” Stendel previously told Sky Sports. “I like to be active in situations, not passive.

“We want to press very high and be very active. When we lose the ball, we need to win it again with the counter-press. When we win the ball, we want to play very quickly to create chances. Most of the games, we play like this - but we need to play like this for 90 minutes. That’s the development. That’s the goal.”

Stendel was an incredibly popular figure with the fans, and was even known to pop into local pubs to both celebrate and consolidate - see video below. He has the charisma, personality and high-energy brand of football to reinvigorate Portsmouth, plus he has experience of winning a League One promotion; something that eluded the south coast side under Jackett.

However, it’s important to note that since he won Barnsley promotion in 2019, it’s not quite gone to plan for Stendel. The club’s develop-then-sell recruitment policy meant he lost his best players that very summer; a return of one win from 11 games followed but it was still a surprise when the club whipped out the metaphorical axe - it was a decision which infuriated many fans.

A couple of months later, Stendel - who began his managerial career at Hannover - returned to the dugout in December (2019) with Hearts. The Scottish side were in a difficult patch at the time - only goal difference kept them off the foot of the top-flight table - and on this occasion Stendel was unable to inspire a change in fortunes. 

The Scottish season was then suspended the following March and later curtailed - Stendel helped the club financially by waiving his wages during that time - with Hearts then relegated on the points-per-game basis. 

A prior contract agreement allowed Hearts to part ways with Stendel, although the decision didn’t reflect well on the club as they paid out compensation to appoint his replacement Robbie Neilson from Dundee United. Stendel later joked that Hearts used his wages to pay the fee.

His Hearts spell was at the wrong club at the wrong time, but on the plus side Stendel at least managed to overcome Steven Gerrard’s Rangers on a couple of occasions.

Stendel has not yet reappeared in the managerial arena, but Portsmouth News reports that he’s already been sounded out by Pompey, while it’s been confirmed that Joe Gallen has been placed in charge of the club for Tuesday’s clash against Peterborough.

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