Date:Tuesday December 26 2006
Before the season kicked off I wrote the following article.
We Have Nothing To Fear
Following a summer of comings and goings the Premiership season is about to kick off, and Pompey can enter it with nothing to fear, and why should we?
Following last seasons disappointing, yet ultimately successful campaign with relegation being spectacularly avoided we enter a new era. In previous Premiership seasons I have gone into each campaign thinking "well there are at least three teams that are worse than us" but will not be thinking that this season.
I can see no reason, especially with the way the fixtures look, if we perform and perform consistently why we shouldn`t be near to the bench mark set for all teams in our expected predicament prior to the seasons kick off of 40 points by Christmas!
Although we can't expect too much, we need to walk before we run and the players shouldn`t be put under too much pressure, potentially we could get far more from this season than most will think? Things are always better in theory and don't always work out as planned but why should we be expecting anything less than mid table? After moving backwards and not forward in Redknapp's absence, with him back at the helm the only way is up again, if not we all know what will happen!
The only teams that I hold out less hope of getting anything from are the obvious "big boys" Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. I would settle for a point against all when playing away, even that would arguably be a bonus against Chelsea, but if we get at them all why shouldn't we upset the apple cart and win? Again, possibly Chelsea aside, we should go into these games after at least a point, if not more when at home.
On paper, and again things always look better this way we are at least equal to most if not all other teams in the league so we should rightly go into games with the expectation of not being beaten, in fact looking to win, for sure at home. It is no secret that we haven't travelled well in the past but if we are realistically looking to step up to another level we have to be taking the points from those we could and possibly even should.
The most important thing for this season is that we do ourselves justice. If we are serious about moving forward, and want to walk the walk we talk we need to take this season to prove we mean business, making a statement to everyone else. We've made our intentions clear with our signings and monies offered for others, but what better way than aiming as high as is realistically possible, mid table, why not bordering on European qualification, which I think we can achieve anyway as I have this feeling about one of the cups this year…
At the time many people pretty much laughed at me for thinking this with most doubting it, well maybe not doubting it but thought it was maybe asking, or expecting too much even (to see comments click here).
We got the away point against Liverpool and Arsenal that I had so hoped we would, we could and maybe even should have had all three at Arsenal. I've always believed this was possible and with 40 points almost achieved albeit slightly after Christmas if we are going to be picky it is time for one final push for the second part of the season.
We've certainly already done ourselves justice so why not continue our move forward and finish right up there and ruffle a few more feathers and get this European qualification position we would so dearly love! If this happens the debate could then begin "are we ready for Europe?"
Date:Tuesday December 26 2006
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