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Still A Season To Remember

With just seven games to play another season is drawing to an end already! The constant link with this star player and that star player with Pompey looking to pay out ten million pounds for one, fifteen for another, which, let's be honest we were never realistically going to pay money like that, seems like only yesterday.

A start that saw us among the countries elite for a good number of months looked as though it could bring us a place in a European competition next season, this kind of thing is unheard of for the little south coast side that is Pompey! Yep, we have slipped away since the turn of the year but whatever happens now it has still been a memorable season and a season I will not forget quickly. It is now easy to say it has been a great season whatever happens but it really has. So many of you were happy for us to just avoid relegation this season, don't try pretending this was not the case, whilst others, including myself never feared this in the slighted and hoped for something more realistic, a mid table finish. Punching above our weight, which is what we have done for the most part this season should see us finish in the top ten for this first time in over 50 years and this would be a remarkable turnabout and achievement.

On the whole we have much the same squad of players, with the exception of a few the same eleven that turned out last season, well certainly the latter stages so it is some transformation. Harry Redknapp has brought in some quality players but when you look, and this is in no way a dig at who he has signed, only two are genuine world class footballers that have been so for a decade or more, with little or no blips during this time, these two being Sol Campbell and David James. Glenn Johnson is quality, but I'm still unsure on him. Lauren brilliant, I am happy for him to replace Johnson. You don't play for Arsenal as long as he did if you do not have the quality he does. Niko Kranjcar will be a star, just hope this star shines at Fratton Park, has shown glimpses with Pompey at times. Kanu has been world class during his career, as has Andrew Cole but both arrived past their prime, Cole undoubtedly. Kanu still has something to offer but is not in the class of Campbell and James. If we can add another player or two with similar quality, ideally the right side of thirty then next season will be even better.

However, the season isn't over yet though!

We still have seven games to play but to achieve the dream that for so long looked possible of seeing Pompey possibly playing on a Thursday night in some dodgy Ukrainian city with an even more dodgy reception on channel five is fading but is not yet done. Sixth will be good enough, seventh, maybe even eighth may very well be enough for a European placing, with seventh, maybe even eighth being the intertoto cup spot so we still have a chance. But for this we will have to realistically win the majority of our games left, and these, although at home include United, Liverpool and Arsenal. Come through these three unbeaten and you never know but with our form since the turn of the year we will need something special. Something like last seasons survival run-in performances to achieve this. The constant stop start of 2007 due to the FA cup and international breaks hasn't helped though, I fully believe this, no momentum could be gained.

So whatever happens now I am still more than proud of this season's achievement, which whatever you think it has been. Adding a mere two players, albeit in key areas with genuine world-class credentials stretching back over a decade to a squad to see such a dramatic turnabout in fortunes can't be bad can it. We've had our highs; we`ve had our lows. It would be great to go out with more highs starting with three points to dent United's title challenge on Saturday. Victory is unlikely but I'll not bet against it.


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

The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday April 3 2007

Time: 10:44AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Any hope of Europe for next season is now just about gone. We wasted our time far too long on the likes of Cole and Kanu when sentiment is all that kept them in a blue shirt. What we needed when it mattered was a proven goalscorer, we didn't get one in the January Sales but we did have Toddy and also Niko - neither had a fair chance to prove themselves. So now our European dream will have to remain a dream - there is of course always next season and hopefully HR will not be so bloody stubborn then and face the fact that Kanu simply can't do nor will do. We lacked conviction, commitment and consistency, which is why we have slipped and others have climbed - it is also why the likes of us will never achieve the dream if we don't apply ourselves more convincingly. Far too many of our players gave up after we reached safety, appearing to use Pompey as a restful place by the seaside. They need to take a good hard long look at themselves and realise that all we want is honesty from our players. I am happy with the fact we are in the top flight again fro another season but I am also disappointed with the way we have crumbled since Christmas. Just one league win since then is all we have mustered, which is relegation fodder under normal circumstances. All we have actually done this season is turn it upside down from those before. We normally have a very poor two thirds start to the season followed by an outstanding last third - this time we've done it the other way round, a good third followed by two poor thirds. Onwards and upwards they say, let's see what signings we make in the summer - get the money out Sasha and stop faffing about with silly points Storrie, Harry you need to wake up a bit too as this should have been an outstanding season according to you. It has been in some ways, but not the way you painted it.
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03/04/2007 11:13:00

We can't always look at the positives, have to look at the negatives also of course but why can't you do this more often TruePompeyBlue... Not trying to be funny mate but glass is almost always half emtpy with you and rarely half full... I feel that we don't always have to put a negative spin on things on this site, nor can we always a positive one (which maybe I do?)... I guess it gains a reaction by doing so though...
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03/04/2007 13:08:00

Well, you are right buddy. If pompey dont reach europe its not the end of my world. Harry keeps hiding behind the excuse that we've done far better than last season - yes we have ...BUT... the team should do!! You play to win and do the best you can do otherwise whats the point. Losing because we have played well and tried to score goals instead of just sitting back im happy with (ie) effort, commitment and determination. Reaching 40 points, losing and playing defencive football without any heart is a total shambles!! You can see the work horses - Taylor, Hughes, O'neil, Toddy, Benji but Harry is too stubborn to use them all. Come on Harry we can see it!! Will You??
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03/04/2007 13:16:00

Maybe we got to safety and some just gave up, I don't know and they shouldn't... This is new territory for us though, we aren't used to having a season end by early January are we and maybe this surprised some? This isn't right as they are paid to do something we would love to do but the pluses still far outweight the minuses. Making one man, in most instances Kanu as a scapegoat isn't fair though... I would love to see Benjani and Toddy up top together, we are now at a point where we have pretty much nothing to lose so give it a go, maybe this could see some hunger return for Kanu and he may put up more of a fight to get back in, if not let him play out his Pompey career on the bench... It was all about building this season, we've started to build let's see what happens next season if we get to a similar position, one that will not be new to us and it happens again I'll be livid...
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03/04/2007 13:29:00

Fair point, but if you look at the wealth of experience its not actually new to the players, (James,Cambpell,Lauren,Traore, Kranjkar,Kanu and even Benji) etc etc have all played some form of top football, whether it may be international, champions league or top ten premier league. For me its not about Europe for me its about performane and keeping it up. This season we must learn from these mistakes and put right next season.
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03/04/2007 13:40:00

No, my glass is always half full Pompeyrug, not half empty. But I've been watching Pompey for over 20 years now and whilst this is without doubt our best season for many years, it cannot and should not gloss over areas of our performance that has been poor. When you look at the likes of the usual top clubs, they focus on the inadequacies and then make their improvements in those areas. are we to sit back and not concern ourselves with these points? Are you going to be happy with mid-table mediocrity for eternity? Any true supporter will always want the best for his club, identifying problems within that club does not make a person negative - more realistic than anything.

But my gripe in general is that of under-performing "stars" who it appears feel they have a right to play in favour of anyone else when in fact they don't even deserve to play in the reserves as their performances have been consistently poor. Hence why I feel Toddy should have a chance.

As far as this season is concerned - yes it's been a good one, one that can and should be built on but only time will tell if this is ever attempted.
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03/04/2007 14:11:00

I will certainly not settle for mid table mediocrity indefinitely but this season I would have, maybe now I will have too… We cannot run before we can walk, I've said it before Rome wasn't built in a day to which some replied 'but it fell in one'… The players have not given enough in 2007; this is not good enough as they get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to do something we would do for free but I say let's see what happens next season, use this as a stepping-stone to something better… We look at our shortcomings but lets not also forget what strides we've made... We were still among the favourites for the drop even after Sol, Jamo and co arrived…
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03/04/2007 16:36:00

ruggers, True pompey blue is right we had it and we are in the process of blowing it. No Rome wasnt built in a day but it pretty much was knocked down in one. Winning is everything in this game or why bother to compete (DOH !! actually this year we havent). Being practical think of the dosh, spondoolies, shekels and euros we would have been able to spend due to the up lift in TV monies received. So its important that we dont slack until the end of the season. as the dapper don said, the fat ****** might be clearing her throat but she aint yet got to the stage.... just before he got life.
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03/04/2007 19:24:00

i think if you look at redknapps transfer record over his time at fratton, he will always rely on seasoned campaigners first and foremost, kranjcar could be the most skillful player in a blue shirt for years, bur harry seems reluctant to risk his flair in matches where it would leave us lacking in midfield, taylor had a storming mid season but seems to have drifted out of the first 11
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03/04/2007 20:42:00

The Best Season for years is not yet proven. We are 9th and can still finish below 13th what with all the top 4 teams bar Chelsea coming to Fratton - and we can't beat alot of the others. The remaining away games are not easy, Watford proved that against Chelsea. I will not really reflect on our season as a whole until it is over. Some horses and greyhounds start off pretty fast, but it is where they end up over the finishing line that counts. Top 10 will be a wonderful achievement but on current form I have my doubts. I am thinking to more like 12th or 13th because we simply won't be a match for the likes of United. My crystal ball sees us scoring in a 1-3 loss.
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04/04/2007 03:51:00

Yes, we've done well to get where we did in the earlier stages of the season. However, isn't mid-table obscurity boring!!! It would be nice to see our players showing some of the passion that they did at the end of last and the start of this season, but I think most are resting on their laurels and waiting for next season as someone already mentioned.
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04/04/2007 08:37:00

Regarding the Toddy 'problem' I wonder how much pressure, self generated and external, HR has been under to play players who are being paid loads a money rather than those who are not? Did he really think Cole would come good? And playing Lauren out of position in place of the guys who got us to 6th place or higher? 13th will NOT prove 'season 2006-07' to have been a good one. So, Harry, if we don't finish 10th or above, I do not want to hear about what a marvelous acheivement it's been for a club LIKE Portsmouth, I want some honesty, like "we let the fans down in 2007" or "the players who switched off on 40 points will be replaced" or "Peter Storrie appologises for being unable to sign a striker that even Newcastle or (for heavens sake) Bolton and Blackburn could" or what about "I made a mistake." I love most of our players and are desperate for them to be sucessful - for my benefit and for theirs. I hate the thought of teams like Bolton, Blackburn, Middlesborough and Reading being better than and above us, in what is deemed a 'sucessful season'. I look forward to the days when 'sucessful season' is in terms of where we finish in the Premiership and not with the tag 'for Portsmouth'. OK, semi-rant over, I suppose, at the end of the day we'll KBO as Churchill said, and accept whatever stuff, good and bad the club flings our way. That's being a supporter, I suppose.
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04/04/2007 10:12:00

er, thats Keep Buggering On for the non historians amongst us.
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04/04/2007 10:21:00

Well said Et_tu_Pompeii, it certainly makes you wonder where we would be right now if we'd been able to field the same eleven for as often as possible instead of messing about with players out of position. That said though, Stefanovic was in my opinion out of his depth but since his return our defence has looked a lot more solid - he is after all well suited at left back.

I cannot say with any conviction though that we would have done well with the same eleven players throughout when our forwards have only scored a total of nine goals between them since November last year - we need to address this problem if we are to be taken seriously. Letting the Yak go was Milan and Storrie's biggest mistake, Perrin was a total waste of space and did nothing to placate Yakubu. Since his departure, we've not even tried to find a suitable replacement for the Yak.
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04/04/2007 10:49:00

Mendes is your key player,without him Pompey lose direction.What"s happened to Lua Lua?He was intresting Liverpool & Tottenham last year but seems to of vanished from the headlines.With Titus Bramble it seems on the way,it could be an intresting defence you have next year.Him & Traore would leave me very nervous..!!
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04/04/2007 23:11:00

You are quite right in your observation of Mendes chalky76, he has been hugely instrumental in our season so far and was with our relegation escape last season too. Thanks to that knuckle-dragging meathead thug Joey Barton, he is now out for the rest of the season - Man City got away with near murder before and have got away with ABH again.

Lualua has been injured for quite some time though has recently been making a bit of a comeback. Some of his problem is psychological and he has also had some very serious personal issues which has dominated his life off the field. Hopefully he is able to put most of it behind him now and look forward rather than back.

As for Titus Bramble, his name was linked with us back in the January Sales largely due to our defensive injuries, but as these have now been resolved I doubt we will see him here - at least, I hope not, the guy is a disgrace, he's about as much use as a pair of gloves are to a man with no arms! Traore already makes most of us so very, very nervous and like Bramble, he was a knee-jerk signing due to our injury problems in defence. Since Stefanovic has recovered, Treore has not got a look in and rightly so.

But going back to Mendes, we desperately need another play maker like him in our side next season, to give us more options and to give us greater creativity. If we can then find a striker who actually knows where the goal is and be able to put that spherical object between the posts and over the line then we may well be in big business for the 2007-08 season.

You didn't mention who you follow, are you interested in the likes of Mendes/Lualua?
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05/04/2007 08:59:00

Yeah Mendes was good at my club Tottenham & would loved him to stay at WHL but he wasnt happy playing second fiddle to Carrick & that should be respected as there are sooooo many others that will happily sit on the bench/in the stand & collect their money whilst contributing nothing.A player who"s style was allways going to make him a favourite with the fans at N17,neat & tidy passer of a football,both long & short.The fact that he plays with his head up means he has a good idea of what he"s going to do even before he has the ball & allows him to change the tempo/angle of attack with great ease.He also doesnt need 7 touches to bring the ball under control like Sean Davis..!!The ball is like a hot potato to him,keeping the ball & Pompey moving forward.Typical "arry" midfielder in the Berkovich,Carrick,Moncur role.Redknapp allways has & allways will preach good football.He also possess"s the best man management skills in the English game,a fact underlined by his taming of Paulo Di Canio & John Hartson.Good Luck
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05/04/2007 13:32:00

Thanks chalky76, some very positive comments there and much appreciated they are too. You are right though, Harry has always been an advocate of good football and we have seen some amazing football here - even in defeat we still generally see our players playing football rather than the big "hoof" so often used by Bolton and Blackburn.

Harry can be frustrating at times, but if anyone was ever going to get us out of the mess we were in last season it was him. He upset a great many of us when we quit and joined Southampton but most have drawn a line under that even if they haven't forgiven him. Me, I have done both, he was big enough to admit he made a mistake and has done a great job for us. I just hope he can improve on what we have for next season as I feel we took our foot off the gas and allowed your club as well as Everton and Reading to overtake us.

Enjoy the rest of the season and once again, thank you for your positive comments.
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05/04/2007 14:35:00

to chalky76 and TruePompeyBlue - what about Niko, he is very good with ball with nice touch, maybe the best in portsmouth.....
andy croat 27
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05/04/2007 14:54:00

This season was better than last. so whatever else you say about it, it's a step in the right direction. We do not have the squad to cope with european football yet. Having seen the way it's affected other teams in the past i'm quite happy to wait while the squad is strengthened. too many teams that have had one good season struggle to maintain league form whilst also competing in europe. Better to establish ourselves firmly in the upper reaches of the table and add quality to the squad ready for a european challenge we can sustain.
Steve C
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05/04/2007 17:15:00

andy croat 27 - I agree with you, Niko is very good with the ball but where he needs to improve is his work rate - he is actually quite a lazy player and is not too keen on fighting for the ball. This is typical at first of many who come over the English Premier League, I am sure he will improve many times over as he gains more experience.

Did you see his goal against Fulham the other day Andy?
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05/04/2007 19:15:00

of course...., but he must play like in the national squad, for croatia he plays on the left side like in portsmouth but with more freedom and with many runs foward, he change places with luka modric(he is player for portsmouth, belive me) and than this two players create chances.... also it's true that he is quite lazy player, for all his career he have problem with this....
andy croat 27
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06/04/2007 06:53:00

for TruePompeyBlue- look litlle story about luka modric and niko kranjcar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui31uLfPfXg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agUK6C_iuMQ
andy croat 27
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06/04/2007 07:02:00

Thanks andy croat 27, made good viewing, very interesting.
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06/04/2007 11:47:00


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