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Don`t Anyone Say It...

Don`t anyone say 'I told you so`

Gary O`Neil was quoted in the papers recently saying that the next seven days will shape the season for Pompey.

Well, although the games haven`t come against Liverpool and Aston Villa, I would say the season has already been well and truly tied up for Pompey, and although the bubble hasn`t burst quite yet, the air is quickly exhaling and the slip to mid table is about to happen.

Don`t think I`m criticising the Portsmouth squad and Harry Redknapp. Far from it, they`ve overreached themselves already this season, and every fan is rightly glad for it. But what really ticks me off (and I mean ticks in the strongest sense of the word) is the fact that everyone will be smiling smugly at the Portsmouth`s lacklustre performance at Newcastle.

They seem to take delight in the fact Portsmouth have injury worries to contend with, the fact that they haven`t won at St James`s Park in the league for over half a century. The level of expectation, raised by the media and NOT the Pompey fans, has meant Sunday`s lacklustre performance has finally given all the tired journalistic hacks the chance to write off Pompey`s season.

But, hang on a minute; do people forget that this is Portsmouth we are talking about? The new signings are all well and good, but they weren`t exactly world breaking, now were they? The ones that are doing the business, Kanu, Andrew Cole, Sol Campbell, David James et al, are solid, not too expensive journeyman, with a good amount of talent that Redknapp has readily exploited. The new boys, Nico Kranjcar, Manuel Fernandes etc will probably be great for the future but they aren`t going to be lighting up the Premiership any time soon.

And I`ve managed to remain agnostic about the constant rejection of James` England call-up. Until now, that is. It may be because I live with a Tottenham constantly bleating on about how great Robinson and Spurs are, but the fact is that James is ten times the 'keeper he is on current form.

But no, a flap against Watford meant that the world was ready to re-establish his moniker of 'Calamity`, and his chances are more than likely over. Forget the fact that time, time, time and again he has come up with frankly world class saves when other England elects are picking the ball out the back of the net. Forget the fact he is the only English keeper in the top six at the moment, when the rest are languishing around the relegation places.

I used to be behind Steve McClaren`s decision to rebirth the England squad. But with such glaring omissions, I have to question his reasoning and whether he would rather have a squad that was his alone but didn`t actually win much. I`m certainly not saying that James should be given the number one jersey, but surely he should be in the squad ahead of Carson and Foster, who do have bright futures, but they are just that. Futures.

So to all the nay-sayers, those that were waiting with baited breath for the first uninspiring Pompey performance, those that think that the South Coast`s finest are punching way above their weight, I have just one thing to say.

I agree with you, but we are the team that just escaped relegation season after season, who are new to top half of the Premiership. Wait a few more years before you jump on the bandwagon, because otherwise you`ll destroy the chance to see a team actually improve itself, which is something the Premiership, amidst the chaos of high ticket prices, over-inflated wages and egos, and managerial stand-offs, actually desperately needs.


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The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday November 26 2006

Time: 10:27PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
The first 10 minutes we never even touched the ball. well so it seemed. That set the pace for the rest of the game - I went to bed midway through the second half thinking we might be lucky to snatch an undeserved point. We need to buck up as there are no easy 3 point games anymore.
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27/11/2006 02:02:00

I for one never expected anything from th Newcastle game, I've seen us under perform there too many times in the past. Can't agree with the assessment of Nico Kranjcar, he's showing signs of adapting and i think we'll be seeing the best of him in the very near future. Manuel Fernandes is another one who i have no doubt will make the grade sooner rather than later. I'd question Harry's decision to take Mendes off and then move Thompson into his place, surely he should've put O'Neil in the centre where he's best and moved Thompson wide right where he did so well against Watford. I'd also have liked him to try Douala's pace on the left against Solano who's not accustomed to the right back position after all Douala is a natural winger. But the main thing we should remember is if we avoid a battle to stay up this season then the season has been a success. It's far to early to start writing the season off anyway.
Steve C
Report Abuse
27/11/2006 11:23:00

Steve C you are soooo right!!!! it is so easy to get your expectations up, Ive done it myself & have been so disapointed with some results when really I shouldnt be. Dont get me wrong, if we play crap im never going to be happy, but 4th??? 4th.....thats amazing, just to sit back & actually look at the position were in, & consider how many great performance we have had so far this season comparied to last season. This is a long term plan, & im just chuffed about the way our squad is shapping up, after jan & after this season I can see us being a real force! lets not rush them!
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27/11/2006 13:39:00

intresting article and ai agree with a lot SteveC says and wonder why we dont see Fernandes when something a bit different is needed. But Charlie you've joined THE 4TH BRIGADE AAARRRGGGGHHHH, i cant agree, you get 4th by aiming for 2nd, you accept 4th you'll get 10th its the same in any performance driven sport or industry . As for it being too early to write off the season, that depends on what you consider a success, if it is 40 points then that is absolutly right, if it is a European place then 9 easy points dropped will do a lot of damage, particularly with Villa and the hub cap snatchers to come. But once again i come back to the same point just because 40points would be good, why settle for that, accept that at the end of the season. Also remember the higher up that league we are the more of the TV dosh we get.
Report Abuse
27/11/2006 14:33:00

now for a real downer, it seems we are going to recall Griffin
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27/11/2006 16:28:00

NO NO NO!!!!! surley it must be a pleasant suprise to you seeing us this far up the table?? I am 100% happy if we stay up this season. Of course I want more, who dosnt, but I hate seeing the downers people get on when we have 1 bad performance. Im just trying to point out how far we have come over the offseason. I have so much confidence we are going to achieve Europe next season I happy for whatever we get this season. Cadet Chimes of the 4th brigade out!
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27/11/2006 19:05:00

Agree with Steve about Douala. Here's a lunatic thought: Why not try a 4-3-3 with Lua Lua on the right, Douala on the left & Kanu/Cole in the middle. It's not like we have anything to lose v. the scouses & you never know. Also, by all reports, Griffin isn't doing too shabbily at Stoke, so let's not get too despondant too early. Didn't like what I saw Sunday anymore than the rest, but at least the goalkeeping seems solid. Now to get Tony Adams to shut his mouth....
Report Abuse
27/11/2006 19:37:00

Roll on January. That was an awful game to watch. Reminds of the last low, when we lost 5-0 at Brum last season. The fear is that we have a run of tough matches when we are without key players, others getting back from injury & low on form, that we will drop to 9th or 10th & struggle to attract the players we might have had we bean 4th or 5th. Didn't Charlton have a similar start to last season to us?
Report Abuse
27/11/2006 20:37:00

not expecting too much change from liverpool either
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27/11/2006 20:51:00

OK we lost against Newcastle again, at least we didn't lose by three which is what we normally have done - so that's an improvement. The key is our home form - we'll all be happy again if we can get 4 or 6 points against Everton and Villa. And Hey, isn't it nice to be above Liverpool in the table when we meet them!
Report Abuse
28/11/2006 19:53:00

When we meet them yes but 90 or so minutes later we will be behind them.3-0 says the crystal ball.
Report Abuse
29/11/2006 05:51:00


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