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Players that left Pompey - the verdict!

We not only made a fair few signings throughout the summer of 2007 and then up to and including the end of August, and a few throughout January (and I had looked at this in Players that joined Pompey - the verdict!) we also let quite a few go - so how much did we miss them?

As with those that signed remember this is merely my opinion, they are listed merely in the order in which they we sold. I have included 8 the 11 that we let go permanently, people like Andy Griffin, Collins Mbesuma and Jason Pearce have not been looked at.

  • Svetoslav Todorov: The writing had been on the wall for Toddy for some time, spending a long loan period with Wigan the season before gave you the impression his days were numbered. He came back and got a few games at the end of the 2006/07 season but again injury struck but he still looked set to sign a new deal - but the terms offered were believed to be appalling so he cut his loses.

    As I am sure most others were too I was absolutely gutted at losing the Bulgarian but he had never been the same since his horrific injuries after firing us back into the top flight. Some will argue that he was not given enough of a chance as he was still scoring and played a major role in our 'great escape' but all in all, although I still feel we missed that 'natural predator' at times last season it was probably right for him to move on.

    A real crowd favourite and a striker that will go down in our history as one of the best - as said missed at times but time took its toll on him and the move was the best thing for him but the fella has no luck as only a few games into his Charlton career he did his knee again and missed the rest of the campaign - if he will come back from this is not yet know but he has signed another contract with them for next season...

  • Lomana LuaLua: The master of the unpredictable, yet rarely one to produce what should be the predictable finally saw time called on his Pompey career in the early stages of August when he was sold to Olympiakos in Greece.

    The first pre-season game at Yeovil he was getting abuse left right and centre no matter what he did. Whilst I do not think he deserved all of it in fairness some was warranted as he had little or no interest, but he did score. From there on in he was like a man possessed as he was scoring goals for fun including a hat trick against Bournemouth I think it was?

    'Rumours' of a move away, probably abroad kept growing though with it claimed Harry Redknapp was touting his services to others, trying to use him as a 'make weight' in several deals, it is also said that he also knew himself that he was 'in the shop window' during pre-season hence his excellent form.

    On his day one of the best around, but I think he pushed it too far in the end as he was not having enough of 'those days', his lack of commitment and efforts and unwillingness to play as part of a team and his off the field activities got too much in the end. We would be fine though as we would have 'John Utaka', our club record signing to replace him... he has turned out to be Lomana LuaLua mark II though! All in all though personally as much as I was sad to see him leave I do not think we missed him.

  • Andy O'Brien: Followed LuaLua out the door fairly quickly, being sold to Bolton.

    I have to confess that he was not one of my favourite players, and the fee we paid for him under Alain Perrin was staggering! He was a regular under him, but he rarely got a chance under Redknapp and suffered the 'you are not one of my boys treatment' if you ask me. Credit to him though until he did leave he did not once did he complain, he just kept his head down.

    You cannot judge a lot from pre-season but he was looking as good as I had ever seen him so I felt he was a little unfortunate to be moved on, and we could have possibly done with keeping him as cover but the offer was good for both him and us and he went. Overall though when all is said and done did we miss him? Only in terms of numbers, but as a player I do not feel losing him was a mistake.

  • Andrew Cole: Ah, the mercenary - I think this alone speaks volumes for what I thought of him to be honest!

    Redknapp fell into the trap of 'I must buy someone that I have always wanted' with him, and offering the 2 year contract that we did when he signed was asking for trouble. An aging forward with injuries adding up who would want almost guaranteed football was not a good move and we finally had to pay up the final year of his contract to get rid.

    He was one of this countries finest strikers, but the emphasis was pretty much well and truly on 'was' even when he signed. By the time last season came round he could not even get involved for pre-season so this proves he was not missed at all - we would have been better served giving Todorov a fairer crack at the whip than signing Cole in the first place in hindsight, which is of course a wonderful thing...

  • Dejan Stefanovic: When both Hermann Hreidarsson and Sylvain Distin signed the writing was on the wall as left back and central defence were strengthened pushing him down the order, when Sol Campbell was handed the captains armband his number was called and he finally made the move to Fulham early on deadline day in August.

    A fantastic servant to the club, who played a major part in getting us to where we had but by the end of the 2006/07 season, and to be totally harsh yet honest it was apparent that 'we had outgrown him' and he was no longer good enough for the 1st team, even Djimi Traore - who would eventually be sent on loan to Rennes in January - was ahead of him!

    As said we cannot fault what he had offered us but it was definitely the right time for us to part company.

  • Gary O'Neil: The closest thing we have come to 'Mr Pompey' in recent times, always a willing and able worker he never shirked his responsibility and always without fail gave 110%, carrying and injury or not.

    Out of the blue he was off to Middlesbrough as the summer transfer window drew to a close, finally completing his move in the dying hours of this in August much to the displeasure of the Pompey faithful who were mortified at his being sold, even more so with Papa Bouba Diop being viewed as 'his replacement', which in all fairness he was not...

    He always looked as though he needed to bulk up a bit more and I always had this feeling that Redknapp never quite fancied him but the thing that let him down most of all was his lack of goals, had he had more of these in his locker I do not think he would have been sold - even though 'the price was right'.

    I maintain the thoughts that out of everyone that was sold he was the one we missed the most, and probably the 'biggest' mistake we made. Had we been able to call on him on the right hand side of midfield we would have done even better than we did I reckon as his work ethic puts John Utaka's well and truly to shame.

  • Matty Taylor: It was not really a surprise when he left in January, the only surprises were that it took so long for him to finally move on and that he went to Bolton!

    How things went so wrong so quickly is anyone's guess really, on the verge of an England call up at the end of the 2006/07 season but could hardly get a sniff at the start of last season and to be honest I was quite surprised that he did not leave last summer. He did not get on with the manager, and this had been the case for a good number of years in all truth.

    Matty has the work rate, effort and commitment that sums up all that has been good about Pompey over the years but in all honesty Niko Kranjcar trumps him for quality and quality triumphs over those qualities. Pace is what he and Kranjcar both lack, if Matty just had a little more and could have been stronger defensively he could, and probably would have been kept and used as our left back even if he could not have got onto the left side of midfield.

    We did miss his goals from midfield and his delivery a great deal as we struggled with this a hell of a lot, but as with O'Neil when all is said and done you have to look at the teams that came in for him and where he eventually went and think 'was he really good enough?' This is something that few of us would have thought a few months prior but that is probably the case when all is said and done.

    In my honest opinion Matty was never quite the same player after long injury lay-off, the player that we saw in our First Division title winning season never fully returned after that lay-off. I maintain my thoughts that had he not picked up that injury he would have been in the England squad in our first season back in the top flight, but then again had this happened the chances are he would have left long ago so would we even be where we are now without him to have scored that decisive penalty in 'that game' against Wigan...

  • Benjani: Loved by everyone at Pompey and we were all left in a state of devastation when he was 'cast aside' following a shock move to Citeh on deadline day in January, well some time after its closure in the end.

    You simply cannot replace someone like Benjani as he really is a unique football and in my thinking the very best player of his type - find a more hard working, and willing hard worker at that and I would like to know who he is? We could simply not replace him, we could merely try to 'fill a void' and in all honesty we struggled...

    The fact that he was made to go and did not really want to is what upset most more than anything but we now live in a footballing world where sentiment has to be brushed aside and tough decisions made. A sacrifice was made in letting him go to get Jermain Defoe, we saw signs that this was the right thing but this did not really pay off last season on the whole but in the long run, and starting next season we will see that the right call was made because as hard as Benjani worked, and as much as he offered us we have now got a guaranteed 20 goal a season man - at least - and with other new arrivals this summer and a slight change in style we will benefit. I just wish that we could have given Benjani the chance to have played alongside Defoe as that would have been a fantastic partnership.

    All in all yep we missed Benjani after he left but as much as the fee he was sold for was disgraceful as the full amount will almost certainly never be received in the long run it will be proved the right call...

    Remember this is merely my opinion; you might or might not agree. I am not saying this is the way it is, or should be I am simply putting forward my own thoughts...

    What are your thoughts on the players that were sold last season?


    Join the Vital Pompey Debate

  • The Journalist

    Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

    Date:Saturday June 7 2008

    Time: 1:19PM

    Your Comments (oldest first)

    Change to most recent first
    Despite getting the winner Kanu needs replacing.
    Report Abuse
    07/06/2008 14:47:00

    Stefanovic was good but lost all credibility when he openly confessed to not trying under Perrin. Utaka has been inconsistent but some foreign players need that season to adjust, Niko the obvious one. Let's see what he's like next season but to me he has pace, a great touch and scores goals. What gets me is that fans seem to think if players run around lots, they're good. Erm, nope. O'Neill and Taylor were loved by the fans but simply not good enough for PFC, hence their transfers to the mighty (ha) Bolton and Boro. Utaka is miles better than both yet he'll get slated because he doesn't run around. So what? Same with Yakubu. Didn't run around and got slated for it but oh, scored lots of goals. Where he is now? In a team which is better than ours.
    Report Abuse
    07/06/2008 14:59:00

    I think in fairness bongo, GON has been one of Boro's stars this past season, he was always one of ours. I see a pattern forming...although we all have an opinion.
    Report Abuse
    07/06/2008 18:44:00

    At the end of the day we lost nearly all the fans favourite players this season and we all ahd a good old moan, but would you rather still have them at the lub or be the team that won the FA Cup? Harry knows what he is doing and if we have to loose players to become better then we have to say so be it.
    Report Abuse
    07/06/2008 19:20:00

    come on chaps - you've sold on some right old crap have you not?
    Report Abuse
    07/06/2008 20:51:00

    No room for nostalgia if you want to improve. We had many great moments with Toddy, Lua Lua, Matty GON & Benji. They will be remembered with great affection but would you swap with what we have now. WE ARE THE FA CUP WINNERS 2008.
    Report Abuse
    07/06/2008 22:16:00

    its a shame some of them left before the FA cup final though isnt it?
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 00:17:00

    would we have won the fa cup had they stayed tho...
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 00:22:00

    Benji going was a mistake. O'Neil-I'm not sure about. I have a doubt that he can step up to the next level but he is a good player. Toddy, whilst being one of my favourites, was injury prone. The rest we were better off without them.
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 00:31:00

    Agree fully with your article fella. The revolving doors of football clubs dictate players leave, players come. 'Sir' Harry has a pretty damn fine record of getting it right overall though doesn't he!? Just one thing. What is it in always referring to Manchester City as 'Citeh'? Don't get it myself.
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 00:35:00

    Would love to have seen Benji at the Cup Final. Don't agree that Utaka is great and does not need to run around aka Bongoblue. Even my inexperienced eye could see he made some some shocking passes, also missed lots of good passes through sheer laziness. One game was so bad, the team would have been better giving up passing to him and playing with 10 men! He just gave the ball away again and again and again.
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 00:36:00

    Merlin, we have only recently survived relegation, just achieved 8th position, won the FA Cup for the first time in god knows how long and qualified for Europe for the first time in our history. I hope we are not so elevated and up ourselves as to call the players who were instrumental in getting us where we are "right old crap".
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 00:45:00

    Well said Gandor regarding both postings, which were different this time!!!
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 11:50:00

    I'm getting the hang of this, 007!
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 13:00:00

    If we had not bought Utaka, we could have kept both Benji and GON, what a team we would have had then.
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 19:12:00

    007, there's a thought!
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 21:17:00

    I agree with you on this we have to move on, everybody loved Benji, but a chance to get a long time target like Defoe had to be taken.
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 21:21:00

    Mbesuma. Went to Turkey, didn't turn up for training. Befriended the local McDonalds youngster with his outlandish claims to being able to score goals for his local Sunday league side in exchange for Double Big Macs and gets dropped by Zambia for being too fat to play in the African Cup of Nations. Mbesuma gets heart disease and retires in the Summer of 2008. His 1 million transfer being the biggest amount paid for him by Portsmouth and to this day it still looks like daylight robbery.
    Report Abuse
    08/06/2008 21:57:00

    Though 007, without Utaka who would have set up the cup final goal? (and I am not including Enckleman)
    Report Abuse
    09/06/2008 09:42:00

    sneakay, without Utaka we would have had someone giving 100%, so possibly more set ups and more goals.
    Report Abuse
    09/06/2008 11:48:00

    Guys, we can only go on what DID happen and, as Sneakay points out....Utaka set up the goal that won the cup for us....say it again loud and slow.....WON THE CUP FOR US! Personally, I'd love have seen Benji stay with us.
    Report Abuse
    09/06/2008 15:20:00

    Yep Benjani is the one I would have loved to see stay, followed by Matty and GON.. but players come and go but PFC remains... We do however need a fans favourite again.. They have all gone.
    Report Abuse
    10/06/2008 07:52:00

    not all - we still have linvoy!
    Report Abuse
    10/06/2008 07:56:00

    I gather Toddy has been offered a contract by Charlton.
    Report Abuse
    10/06/2008 13:50:00

    chix, doesn't Diarra seem to have filled that catergory?
    Report Abuse
    10/06/2008 23:28:00

    Ummm not sure Diarra fills the gap really P4me.. although a great player can you really put him into your heart knowing he'll be off within a year... more 'personal commitment' than 'team' I think... And as for Linvoy yep he's a favourite but will we ever see him in a Pompey shirt again... maybe a cameo in the charity shield but I can help thinking his time is up....He's been great but at his age is he really at the standard age and skill wise to take up forward ... Sad to sa I think not ... So in my book we still need a new 'fans favourite in the Linvoy mould with the skill of Diarra ... and the workrate of Benji....
    Report Abuse
    11/06/2008 08:06:00

    agree, we cannot hold diarra too close to our hearts as he wont be here long enough - tbh im not sure in this day and age we will ever 'really' find a fans favourite like we used to have again...
    dont write linvoy off chixy - you know what happens when people do this, 'if' he has fully recovered he was every inch as good as sol in the season they played together, if not better so im not giving up hope on him.
    Report Abuse
    11/06/2008 09:51:00

    I know he's your favorite Rugmeister, But sadly I agree with Chix, I think we have seen the last of Linvoy in a Pompey shirt, excepting, The Comm Shield and if one of the Central boys gets nobbled. But if we buy another this summer then i really do think his time has come...sadly.
    Report Abuse
    11/06/2008 11:02:00

    We still have Mendes assuming of course that he stays, and I can see Distin becoming a favourite from the work effort that he puts in. To be honest though, the whole team are my favourite after winning the FA Cup!
    Report Abuse
    11/06/2008 13:04:00

    chix, Diarra's name was chanted by all within 10 mins on his debut! Not too many can claim that? But I see where you are coming from re how long will he be here. sneakay, personally dont understand why we have not got a chant for (my player of the season) Distin, and for that matter Herman, can only remember one chorus of Herman Heriederson......
    Report Abuse
    11/06/2008 20:15:00

    I would like Sylvain Distin to have his own chant. He has the right attitude and his work rate is A1, quite apart from his skill. Wot are France thinking of...?
    Report Abuse
    11/06/2008 23:14:00

    After lasts seasons performance it showed Mr Redknapp was right to get rid of the players he did.
    Report Abuse
    12/06/2008 16:22:00

    I miss Toddy. Gary O'neil has racked up 8 yellows this year, and he never scored enough goals for an attacking mid but always admired his work ethic
    Report Abuse
    12/06/2008 20:41:00

    Well maybe we should try and introduce a Distin Chant - I will post something in the Forum about it.
    Report Abuse
    13/06/2008 13:01:00


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