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From zero to hero!

He is probably one of the most unlikely of heroes around, yet a true hero he has become for Pompey nevertheless.

This man being Aaron Mokoena.

When we signed the guy last summer to say we were 'unhappy' or 'disappointed' would have been an understatement - I, personally, was livid and made this quite clear. Yet, to be fair, when I stopped and thought about it with some reflection I thought he was not 'all bad,' as he was, and still is, the South African captain and has been for sometime so the guy had something about him.

I think that Moko, I prefer this to 'The Axe' as he is known, himself would be one of the first to admit that when it comes to 'technical footballing ability' this is not exactly his strength. Getting the ball on the deck and knocking it around is not his forte, 9/10 times he will give the ball away if he is given too much time to think and if not given enough can panic and get himself into trouble. His strength is getting his body in the way, putting this on the line and putting the boot, or head, in where it can hurt and other would not - he 'breaks up' the play and is an enforcer.

The thing that I have ALWAYS liked about him from the start of the season has been his undoubted commitment and dedication, to the club, the shirt and the fans, along with his never say die attitude. It has been evident how much he has played for the shirt and the club, a club that he does want to be a part of, all season and to be fair whilst he might not be a 'shouting leader' as such he does have these leadership qualities to make him good captain material all in all.

I have cursed his name, called him this, that and the other and wanted him taken off at time and been left perplexed that he was not on occasions but I have never liked the jeers he has been given when coming on or the cheers when coming off, not to mention the calls for him to be sent off from his OWN fans!

The partnership that he has struck up with Rocha John Rocha in the heart of the defence might, as The News put it, been 'accidental' but it has been fantastic. They were awesome against Blackburn, even more so against Spurs in the semi final - Rocha John Rocha is another that is starting to excel.

Moko is a bloody awful footballer but he is one of us and I will be happy to have him around next season, and most importantly of all I am sure that he WILL want to be around next season.

To be fair most of our squad are, and on the whole have been, 'heroes' this season but speaking of another who has 'defied the odd' to win the crowd over this moment cannot pass without Hayden Mullins getting a mention.

He is turning into a half decent player for us with it seemingly found that full back, be that left or right back, is his best position so like Moko, and Rocha John Rocha, I would be happy to have Mullins around next season.


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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday April 15 2010

Time: 10:00AM

Your Comments

Mullins has always had bad press at Pompey but he always has been a dependable defender. Put his hand up to play at left back where he has never played before either. The Axe can certainly tackle but passing is certainly not his forte but all of a sudden we have a defence that looks sound especially with Marc Wilson sat in front of them. Another AG masterstroke.
I've always thought that he is a better defender than midfielder. He is captain of his national team where he plays at the back. A succesful defence is more about the sum of its parts and we have tried many 'parts' this season. You're right, Rug, his effort cannot be questioned and I would be glad to have in the squad next season.
I was also always perplexed why we insisted on playing him in midfield when he played in defence for his National side. Especially when we have so many other defensive midfielders in the squad to choose from! "John Utaka syndrome" perhaps, to coin a phrase? So very happy to see him doing well in defence. I think Mokoena will do well for us in the Championship. As will Rocha and Mullins come to that!
It has to be said that I have been a Mok and Mullet naysayer from the very start, It still frustrates me when Mok just kicks the fking ball up to nobody and hands possession straight back to the attacking side, but I also have to admit in the past couple of weeks you definately couldnt fault either of these guys, I hope they grow further into their respective roles and continue to do well.! Gingerblue, on the subject of Utaka after watching the game, I thought he was a little lazy yesterday and could of got back to help a bit more defensivley or indeed go and get the basll instead of just waiting for a long ball to get near him, I hope we ship him soon, he costs lots and doesnt seem to put in the effort that the rest of the team does, give me freddy over john any day!!! PUP
Good points, one has to remember with players and managers their performance over a season. Whilst I think Grant's tactical management might possibly be improved by a spell in the Championship. Excluding Ricky the Rock these players will always be championship average. But as Rug has done you have to praise where it's due. Another massive performance at Wembley next time please; and every game between now and then.
NZ_Portsmuff, I agree that Utaka could probably best serve Pompey by getting sold and he has definitely shown his lazy side more times than I would have liked. My point, which is of the rather sweeping, over-generalizing variety, was that on the whole I feel Utaka has played better up front (where I believe he played for Nigeria) than he did when he was out on the wing, and feel that Mokoena is following a similar pattern! On the other hand, I was firmly in the "we're never going to beat Spurs at Wembley" camp, so it's quite possible that I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to football.....
lol Ginger - I think your last statement could be applied to a lot of us in one way or another ;-)
ps I forgot to add that I think your article Rug is spot on. Whatever their lack of abilities you can't fault any of them in respect of their fighting spirit for Pompey that they're showing now.
Gingerblue, one thing we can agree is is the fact that I didnt really feel we would be able to turn over spurs, I feel the same about chelsea, so I might run out and chuck a tenner on us!!!, I agree that Johnny has been much better up front than he was on the wing, no doubt, but I still find him too lazy, I would like to see how many metres he covers compared with some of the other players, I dont think they would stack up.. One more thing I have just thought of, WTF is up with Diop? He spent more time diving to the ground than he did playing the game!!!
Great article. Mullins, Mokoena and Rocha were all players we doubted, but they are all coming good, as said u here. Yes, i would love to have them next season. Mullins is the biggest revelation, he is playing at left back and putting in some decent performances.
Pompey Malta
I've got to say I've was one of his critics critics when he signed. I don't believe that he's a great footballer but he's got great attitude and always gives 100%. He'll be a vital player for us next season

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