Vital Football

It came, we watched, it went.

It came, we watched, it went.

What are we talking about? Well the January Transfer Window, which is more commonly referred to as the January Sales. At one time it was regarded as a rummage at the jumble sales, but now, most of the top flight managers have got used to the idea and use it well. It affords an opportunity for a manager to make relegation saving signings, or to make that final push for Europe or the silverware that little bit easier. For some, it can spell the end as players slap in transfer requests and desert their sinking ships like rats.

It is therefore a bit of a surprise to many that Portsmouth Football Club had a reasonably quite January this year. Manager Harry Redknapp had already stated that he was not expecting to sign any more players over a week ago - so why did people think that there would be a last minute signing? Well, because it`s Pompey, what else.

Over the recent years under the managerial brilliance of Redknapp, Pompey supporters have grown to learn how he manipulates the media, using them to cover up other transfer deals that he wants kept quite by using a smokescreen. This time, he has proven that there can be smoke without fire by doing exactly as he stated - he has not signed anyone else.

The month has not gone by without signings of course. Redknapp has brought in left-back Djimi Traore from Charlton for £1million, central midfielder Arnold Mvuemba on loan from Rennes and a major signing in the shape of Cameroon international full-back Lauren from Arsenal on a two-and-a-half year deal. So if anyone was to say that Pompey has been quiet during the transfer window then they are sorely mistaken.

But the question really is should Harry have signed a more aggressive striker, given the current poor form from those already at Fratton Park? Some would feel that this is surely the case, for as mentioned in another article it is some time now that the current contingent of strikers have made any real impact. Indeed, records show that only two goals in the last nine matches have been scored by the front line, the rest from midfield or defence.

Pompey`s form over recent years is something that tends to drop during January. Certainly since the days of winning Division One in the 2002/03 season there has been a trend; of the seasons played since and including then, Pompey have played eighteen league matches, winning just one of them. Of the remaining seventeen, they drew seven, losing the rest. Only ten goals have been scored whilst twenty seven have been conceded, this of course with strikers such as Sheringham, Yakubu, Lualua, Fuller, Todorov, Pericard and Burton.

So maybe now is not the time to panic, it does appear to be a phase that Pompey go through - every team has a bad run, it`s how they get out of the run which is important. Naturally Pompey fans have a right to air their views and concerns, without them there would simply be no Club, no atmosphere either. They pay good money, hard earned money to watch their heroes who are on more than three times their annual wage in some cases, so have every right to feel aggrieved when they see a poor performance similar to that of the Charlton match.

Some feel that this season is the best yet, maybe it is but only time will prove that. At this present moment, it is almost the same as all the previous seasons, only it is being done the opposite way round this time. Points were hard to come by before Christmas during previous seasons, a hard battle to gain them after the New Year and Easter periods. Now, the points have been gained but any hope of getting more are appearing to be increasingly difficult to come by.

A lot more energy, fight, determination, effort and ability is required from Pompey`s front line if any real attempt on Europe is to be made. Perhaps it`s time that Lualua and Benjani were given a chance to show what sort of partnership they could forge together, leaving the two more aged strikers in the shape of Kanu and Cole to be used as game-changing substitutes. Perhaps as some have mentioned, that Harry Redknapp has tinkered too much with the side and should play the same eleven that he had at his disposal some four months ago.

There is no use complaining about it though, the window has been firmly shut until the 1st of August and now every side must do what they can, with what they have - so let`s get behind the players and give them the support they so richly deserve. I wouldn`t book your travel tickets to Europe yet, but it may well be worth making sure your passport is up to date!

Play Up Pompey!

January Transfer Deals

Djimi Traore - £1million (Charlton)
Arnold Mvuemba - Loan (Rennes)
Lauren £500k (?) (Arsenal)

David Thompson - £ nominal (Bolton Wanderers)
Dean Kiely - £ undisclosed (West Bromwich Albion)
Andy Griffin - Loan (Stoke City)
Richard Duffy - Loan (Swansea)
Marc Wilson - Loan (Bournemouth)

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Thursday February 1 2007
Time: 7:28AM


No striker, no new money??
01/02/2007 08:23:00
Yep, acceptance by Harry, Sasch that a mid table finish is acceptable. Dissapointing after a fantastic start but can only see top 10 now I'm afraid.
01/02/2007 08:31:00
Oh for God sake, why are yo all born drips. We are still 6th. We have a fantastic squad. We were fighting relegation last year. Get a bloody life.
01/02/2007 09:02:00
We are a few players up on last season & they have made a massive difference but it will take an amazing run of performances to keep it up. The last month we have been ordinary at best. At best we will finish 7-8 at worst 12-13. The expectations are too high too soon. Lots of issues as always, some short term, some long term. The answers are the same, God only knows!
01/02/2007 09:28:00
i might live to regret these words (and in a way I hope I do). Not signing a striker might prove fatal for our chances of qualifying for Europe. Either that or get the strikers we have got to up the tempo.
The Rabbi
01/02/2007 09:48:00
this has the "potential" to be a fantastic season
01/02/2007 10:51:00
I still believe that our problem is an annual one; we seem to achieve very little during January, perhaps it's too much of the festive cheer catching up on them? Either way I am confident that things will pick up soon. But neither am I blind to that fact that our forwards really are not delivering.
01/02/2007 13:19:00
no they are not, could it be due to the fact that Harry doesn't know what his best partnership up-front is?
01/02/2007 13:53:00
May well be, but one thing is for certain - the Kanu/Cole partnership was never going to work. I would like to see Banjani and Lualua given a couple of matches, I am sure that between them they could create mayhem for the opponents.
01/02/2007 14:13:00
Agree with true blue, you need a trickster and a shooter, not dissimlair to Jols big man little man plan, therefore you want Benjani with Kanu or Cole and Lua Lua with Kanu and cole or how about this for a totally mad plan - 3 up front 4-3-3 LL, Benjani and take your pick from Cole / Kanu / Toddy (if he's up for it - personally I think at best he's a super sub)
01/02/2007 16:28:00
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