Date:Monday November 6 2006
Back down to Earth
"It wasn`t our day today".
Joe Jordan after the defeat to Manchester United. It may not have been our day, but it`s going to take many days and nights of going to Old Trafford before we can finally call it 'our day`.
And that`s not because Portsmouth were a bad side, or deserved to lose, or anything like that. The result against Manchester United put the whole season back clearly into perspective, and hopefully reminded a lot of people that we are just Pompey, albeit Pompey on probably their best run of form since the beauty of the sides in the 1940`s and 50`s.
A win at Old Trafford might have actually done more harm than good. I know that`s a contentious idea, but if Pompey had come away with three points, the confidence would be up too high, and the whole bubble would be stretched to bursting point. Forget UEFA cup, we would be expected to get into the Champion`s League and do so probably by Christmas. I bet there would be a few people predicting the 'title push isn`t over yet for Portsmouth`.
But, thankfully, that never happened. Now we can go back to life at Fratton Park Farm knowing that we were simply outclassed by a Manchester United that is firing on all cylinders again, and on this form should win the Premiership over Chelsea. Portsmouth showed themselves well, and no credit should be taken away, especially for a side missing three of its for key defenders.
But we are still Portsmouth, a team that barely escaped relegation last season, and has flirted with the drop year after year after year. It will take much hard work and team rebuilding to create a fully developed side year in, year out. How often does a team overreach itself, make Europe at the first go, and then plummet out the Premiership the next season because the team has too high expectations, and doesn`t have the resources or players to back it up? (if you need help, think Ipswich 2000-2001).
Portsmouth may have a good first XI, but desperately need to strenghten, especially in defence, and perhaps another 'keeper. Good reserves are key to any team, as strength in depth makes a season, not a brilliant first team. If Chelsea lost half their team to food-poisoning, the players to step into the void would play just as well in all likelihood. Portsmouth aren`t in Chelsea`s category, and may never be, but they are in the Premiership, and the same applies.
Hopefully Portsmouth can now build a solid season having got the two hardest games out of the way. Hope and positivity are amazing things to have in a football team, and confidence being high is always a good thing. But let`s not forget that if someone had offered a top ten finish at the start of the season, then we would have pulled their hand off.
Give it five years. The Champion`s League will be on its way to Fratton (or wherever the ground is by then.)
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