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Season 08-09 - PFCGino's take on everything!

Season 08-09 - PFCGino's take on everything!

Well guys, the season is over, the turnstiles are closed for another season and we can all finally sit down and have a cup of tea and relax safe in the knowledge that we will be playing Premiership football next season.

Looking back on the season as a whole, it's as if we've been watching two completely different sides, and to be honest the beginning of the season has been almost forgotten to me. The last half, particularly the past few months have been absolutely nuts, and it really has taken the wind out of me as a Pompey fan!

We started the season with high hopes, and looking strong. We had a decent team, a fantastic attitude having just won the cup and people were expecting a lot from us - probably too much in my opinion. Defeats against Chelsea and Manyoo brought us back down to earth, as did the 6-0 defeat at the City of Manchester Stadium. Those games aside, we played generally well, with a 3-0 away win at Everton a highlight.

The excitement continued as we played in an exciting UEFA Cup encounter against Vitoria Guimaraes, and it was the icing on a very big Pompey cake to progress to the group stages. People who travelled to Portugal no doubt still talk about that game. However, Pompey's next trip to Portugal ended in a 3-0 loss against Braga, and the departure of 'him'.

This seemed to bring everything crashing down around us. Everyone at the club was suddenly unsure of the direction we were heading in, and our form on the pitch showed this; we became withdrawn and Adams tried his hardest but just couldn't get anything right on the pitch. Diarra and Defoe, our two better players, left us, with others including Distin and Kranjcar considering their long-term futures.

The only highlight, in my opinion, of Adams' reign was the AC Milan game. I won't go on about it, but we really went at them and I'm convinced we really did have a 12th man at Fratton Park that night and this spurred us on. We were unlucky not to get the 3 points, but I don't think anyone cared - we were 2-0 up against one of the world's biggest teams!

January came and went, with the most notable arrival being the very average Hayden Mullins and more poor results in both the league and FA Cup saw Adams lose his job on 9th February 2009. With temporary manager Paul Hart bringing in Brian Kidd, the team beating Manchester City 2-0 gave us fans a false hope as Pompey continued to drop points unnecessarily. Games we should and could have won were either drawn or lost, and it wasn't until two games before the end of the season safety was assured.

On the whole, it's been a very 'exciting' season, albeit not in the right way. The more appropriate word I guess would be 'stressful'! We have underachieved this season, and the team at the start of the season just crumbled away. There were only two shining stars for me this season: Glen Johnson and David Nugent.

Glen Johnson has been on the form of his life and without him we could really have been in bother. His attacking play has been second-to-none in our team, which says a lot for our attackers that a defender has been better. Nugent has been played out of position, on the left or right midfield, and fair play to him he adapted well and produced some VERY solid displays. He thoroughly deserved his goal at Spurs, and to be honest I didn't rate Nugent at all at the start of the season but now I really think he has a future at the club, such is his attitude and work ethic.

What does the future hold for Pompey then? Is the club for sale? Is there a buyer? So many questions, hardly any answers, and unfortunately we're in for a difficult summer. Keeping hold of Johnson, Kranjcar, Crouch etc will be difficult, but we definitely need to keep some if not all if we are going to go back to being a difficult team to beat next year.

I don't think Paul Hart is the right man to lead us forward. Too many dropped points, and although we had a few good results under him (namely Everton, Bolton and Sunderland), we were still very poor in games we should have won, and quite frankly I blame it on his inability to recognise that 4-5-1 DOESN'T work and playing players out of position is not only naive but dangerous. Nugent adapted well, but others haven't. Not only this, in interviews Paul Hart has made some ridiculous comments about Pompey 'overachieving for years' which is ridiculous - we won the FA Cup because we deserved to and we had a squad totally capable of achieving VERY great things.

If we are going to be any good next year we need to make some decent signings as a sign of intent. Granted, difficult to do when you have no money, but Michael Owen (albeit high on wages) and Viduka are available on frees this summer, and I think either of them would be great for us. We just need a manager like Bilic who can get the best out of our squad and inject a bit of passion. Aaron Mokoena is a step backwards in my opinion, and I don't think I could handle us being mediocre every season. It's frustrating when you know the quality is there but nothing's being done with it!!

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Date:Tuesday May 26 2009
Time: 3:19PM


Gino you have done really well to get the story of the season into such a readable article. It is one you could easily write a book about and still missed something. But I for one am glad it is all over.
26/05/2009 16:37:00
Hard to disagree with the sentiment Gino. I think we're all a bit down at the moment but the new season will have us all up for it again, despite what the break may bring.
26/05/2009 17:26:00
Brilliant article Gino, and sums up my thoughts in an easy-to-swallow package. With luck and a bit of hope, if we keep shining that spotlight on the horizon, we might see something good come over it...
26/05/2009 18:09:00
Thanks for the comments guys - I've been busy the past few weeks with exams and what-not, but I'm back now and thought I'd put together my version of events! Still can't get over this season and what it's been like - Last August to October seems so much longer ago - so much change in such a short space of time. Here's hoping this summer is a bit better in what is Pompey's Annus Horribilus!
26/05/2009 18:25:00
This is my "football naivety" showing again, but tbh, I don't really mind us going down a notch and playing people like Makoena. At least he is a worker and will have the right attitude. And anyway, where have all the "big names" got us this season? Look at Fulham - they haven't got any big names and they are in Europe. I agree that we need a capable high profile Manager - but we won't get one, cos we got no money. So if we start next season in the frame of mind we are in, then we won't be disappointed, will we?
26/05/2009 20:27:00
PS: Cheer up all - next year we only have to best 14th, last year it was 9th (I think), so much more difficult!
26/05/2009 20:29:00
Great article Gino, it was certainly a roller-coaster ride this season, pity its left everyone so down. If it hadn't been for Europe the season would have been a bit disastrous (not totally disastrous, we stayed up), but Europe and especially the Milan game made all the difference. I'm determined to stay optimistic - things will pick up, I'm sure they will.
26/05/2009 21:03:00
Never glad to see the end of a season to be honest but when all is said a done we finished 14th - Three years ago we would have been really pleased with that. I'm still of the opinion that other teams kept us up more than PH's tactics .. but hey-ho the job was done and I'm grateful. Serious 'down to earth' time now and in my opinion Pompey are best when our backs are against the wall - I just hope we appoint a Manager who can tune in to what Portsmouth (the city and the club) is all about.. and even if he can't take us forward demonstrates that he understands the passion around the place
26/05/2009 21:20:00
Excellent round up that Gino. I don't want to sound like an old codger but I can't believe how quick this seasons gone! Just remember everyone, we're still the holders of the FA cup til Saturday afternoon. Reckon I might 'pour out a little liquor' for old big ears on Friday night.
26/05/2009 22:30:00
Well done Gino. We have had a quick fall back to ground since our highs of last season and start of the Europe campaign.Lets hope we can get back on our feet again soon. The summer break will soon unfold. Its only 21days before the premier game schedule is made(17thJune) I am pleased we managed to keep our premier status for another season. A chance to improve things.
26/05/2009 23:59:00
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