Back to square one
And I say bring it on!
I think it is fair to say that Pompey are an 'established premier league side', despite this we go into this season very much with the look and feel of a club that is 'new to the premier league' and like a lamb to the slaughter, a very frightened looking rabbit staring into the oncoming traffic light...
Before I carry on, if anyone thinks that I am, or I will, be throwing the towel in then you have another thing coming!
There have had some fantastic times over the past few years, but these years have often come at a price and continue to come at a price...
We can point to Milan Mandaric, Sacha Gaydamak, Peter Storrie, Jamie's Dad, the players and the fans for reasons why these times have been so good, we can also point to most, if not all of these for reasons why these times have also been so bad at times, and some more than others as to why we have found ourselves in the mess we do...
Milan saved us, but then virtually gave an open chequebook to Jamie's Dad, this left Pompey in a right mess - Sacha came in and tried to sort this out, but again left this chequebook far too open, in hindsight it is oh so easy for us to now say 'what were we thinking', but we were pushing for this to carry on, few of us really - for long enough periods - stood back to look at things and say, 'this is not something that is financially viable or sustainable.'
As it is, we got into a mess, thankfully we stated to sort this out and continue to do so.
Finger pointing is not going to do us any good now though is it, we are in the here and now, so lets deal with the here and now...
I think that we have to be realistic, Dr SAF is coming in but I think we really do have to keep our expectations in check - you never get something for nothing do you so we really, and I mean really, should not be expecting multi million pound transfers, star names for massively inflated transfer fees on over the top, unsustainable and unrealistic wages.
You just have to look at what we are doing, we are getting the biggest earners off the wage bill - realistically we cannot sustain the costs of paying them can we, and until we get the infrastructure of the club in place we never will be able to!
Like I have said before, I still feel that things are being 'slightly' played down, but what I am expecting, and indeed hoping for, is for fully committed players with a decent enough level of ability about them coming in - players that will be good enough for us to build a sound future on before moving forward, and moving forward with something that is sustainable.
Training ground, redevelopment of Fratton and continued funding into the academy set-up.
These things cost money - and whilst we cannot neglect the fact we need to bring in players for the here and now, not just the future, until we get these areas sorted out we can never, and I mean never, realistically do anything, we will be lucky to 'stand still' let alone anything else.
Training facilities: What we currently have are poor, below poor - they are not good enough for non-league let alone premier league! They cause so many injuries, particularly during the winter months, and this does us no good. Top class training facilities will make a world of difference.
Redevelopment of Fratton: You do not have to be a mathematical genius to work out that a bigger capacity means more bums on seats and more bums on seats means more money coming in, more money coming in means more money being made for the club and more to offset against the outgoings.
Less is often more!
So a greater capacity even at lower costs will mean more turn up regularly, it is pointless increasing this capacity and not lowering costs - I would be very surprised if we did not lower the ticket costs when this is done.
Academy set-up: Of course this is a no brainer, you bring players in for little or nothing, develop them into 1st team players - you win some, you lose some, clearly not all will come though but those that do can then be sold for big money if needed. Yep, I know we do not want to be a selling club, but we always will be unless we are a money making machine that is sound enough to be able to fend off the interest, even then even if we do not want to sell players will of course want to go!
Backs to the wall
In all honesty I, and others, will kind of begrudge paying what we have to pay this season, but I will of course still do it. To be honest I, like many others, go because Pompey is in the blood not because of who is in the shirt - Pompey cannot justify the prices at the moment for those we will be watching, so unfortunately this will inevitably put some people off, £40 for what we look like we might have to watch is something many will say 'sod that' too...
When the going gets tough Pompey have usually got going, this is something that we will need this season. Fighting our way through the season is what we need, keeping expectations realistic is a must.
Dr SAF is coming in, so long as issues holding up proceedings can be ironed out, he and his partners, are going to make sure that we get the infrastructure in place to move us on, they will have to, no two ways about it!
Unless these are put into place we will always be nothing more than a 'short-term' team, they are planning long-term as should we - long-term has not been something that has been in the vocabulary of so many of the personalities connected to Pompey over the years, but hopefully this finally is the case, again I say he will come in so long as issues holding up proceedings can be ironed out...
Like I say, we should not be expecting too much too soon, it might be pretty ugly this season but once we start seeing actions on these areas we need to work on - and if we do not then we will go down the pan without a doubt - then we can look forward to this bright future that is forecast.
My main concern about this season, it is like I have said above, I fear that the costs will be a main factor for many - people that do want to be at Fratton just cannot/will not be able to justify paying what is being asked, so, and on the whole I would suggest that the majority of season ticket holders are holders for the right reasons, it is down to us to really make this difference week-in-week-out, because we will be there week-in-week-out.
Yep, we are frustrated, we are disgruntled, we are disappointed, we might even be (more) disillusioned but going back to square one, as we are, means we have to remember something that is very important, we are Pompey 'til I die, right...
PLAY UP POMPEY!