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.
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...
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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...
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?
PLAY UP POMPEY!