Vital Football

Pompey season review - May

Pompey season review - May

Summer, August, September, October, November, December 2006, January, February, March and April 2007 have been reviewed. We struggled since Christmas - maybe a little before - but April revived some optimism we could finish with a bang.

May got underway on Saturday 5th, with the penultimate game taking us to Everton. We had to do without captain Dejan Stefanovic, Richard Hughes and Matty Taylor, all due to injury so Noe Pamarot, Sean Davis and Niko Kranjcar came in.

We were not very adventurous on this day - as usual away from home - but we were holding our own until a 3-minute spell in the second half. Firstly Mikel Arteta's 59th minute penalty put Everton ahead, then in the 62nd minute Joseph Yobo added the killer second. The game was over but to add insult to injury Gary Naysmith scored with his first touch in injury time to make it 3.

The 3-0 defeat to Everton rocked us, but the most frustrating thing was the way results went that weekend meant a draw would not have been bad! We dropped a place to 8th and a chance was missed.

With a uefa cup place up for grabs the season ended on Sunday 13th with 20,188 turning out for the must win game - and even that might not have been enough - at Fratton against Arsenal. The one and only change saw Lauren miss out through injury as Richard Hughes returned.

We played like a team that were nervous and despite Arsenal fielding a 'weakened' side - with no first team regulars named on the bench, all youngsters - but we failed to have a go. Arsenal had all the chances and could have taken the lead just before halftime but Julio Baptista had his penalty brilliantly saved by David James. You would have thought that would have sparked us into life, but it did not really. A moment of pure controversy decided our fate in the end as Graham Poll ruled out what we thought was Niko Kranjcar's late winner for offside.

The 0-0 draw with Arsenal was not enough. As it was a win - had Kranjcar's goal not been disallowed - would have been enough to have made the uefa cup the way other results went. As a result we dropped a further place to 9th.

A season that offered so much ended in disappointment really. Yep, we finished 9th, our highest place in the top flight for more than 50 years, a place we would have happily taken a year before but after such an amazing start - albeit against 'easier' sides - it could and should have been so much better.

We can argue all day long that Graham Poll cost us a place in the uefa cup by wrongly disallowing the goal, or more to the point putting the thought into his assistants head that Kranjcar was offside for him to agree, but poor performances on the road and negative tactics - along with late points thrown away and a little too much complacency cost us if truth be told. On Sunday 13th May Poll cost us a win, but over the course of the season we cost ourselves.

It was still a fine season but it is important we learn lessons from our failings in 2006/07 to ensure we do not repeat them in 2007/08 - as if we do it could cost us more than just missing out on a uefa cup place, let alone a finish top 10.


Date:Friday July 6 2007
Time: 8:54AM


I started the Pointless Poll comments. The picture suggests the all time winner.
06/07/2007 10:03:00
Ha ha ha. And who can't forget that magical chant that went up when Poll cost us a place in the Uefa cup by disallowing that 'goal'...don't know if it's worth repeating here as language filters might block it out?
06/07/2007 10:29:00
Not wishing to defend Graham Poll but I have watched the incident over and over again and the ball definitely came back off of Phillipe Senderos and not Hughsie. Poll then went to great lengths explaining to GON and others that he thought it hit Hughes last. If that had been right then Niko was offside. Perhaps it strengthens the arguments for video replays on key incidents rather like is beginning to be introduced in cricket. Glad to see the back of Prima Donna Poll all the same.
06/07/2007 12:41:00
I loved the fratton ends chant (why did everybody always laugh after it...its ok once...)!However, i am, very strangly, going to stand up for graham poll. It was his assistant referee (the one who wenger called a liar) that called it ofside, not poll. Whilst he did not raise his flag, nor did he do the "conventional" thing, and run to the halfway line. It is normal for this to be the case if the assistant does not wish to awatrd the goal (stand still, that is). (the reason for this, is so the pressure is shown to be on the referee, because they are deemed to be able to cope with it :) ) Obviously, in that situation, avideo referee would have been perfect. But, i maintain, we wernt ready for europe, and it would have affected our league form this season, so, generaly, it was a good thing :)
06/07/2007 13:45:00
that chant was amazing, ive heard many wonderful things from the pompey faithful but that poll chant was magic, it left my old mum gob smacked... i could see why it was not given but the thing that i objected to was poll's getting involed anyway! the linesman is meant to make calls on players being offside - he didn't... poll may have thought it came off hughes but that was for the linesman to decide wasn't it, he did not have this thought until poll put the idea into his head that he thought it was a blue shirt that touched it forward... the linesman didn't call it - so it should have counted and would have if poll had not interferred... but hey ho, what can you do...
06/07/2007 13:49:00
Poll deserved all the abuse that he ever got, he was a show pony who thought he was bigger than the main players. You knew whenever he did a game it would feature him at many points during the 90 minutes. To say he was the best we had was a disgrace and he will be no loss to the Premier League. The World Cup cards just went to show what a complete prat he was, but no doubt he was thinking how impressive he was being on the television. Its about time the refs realised we pay to watch the football not to watch them try to dominate proceedings. Come back Kirkpatrick and Hill. Poll can go and join Milford, Thomas and Winter and good riddance to them
06/07/2007 20:44:00
By the way I do agree that it wasn't a goal (that's why I said 'goal'), but my overriding memory was that chant....fantastic. As for Poll's future, hasn't he received an invitation to ref in the Crewe local parks league or something equally amusing? Change your mind lads!
07/07/2007 09:32:00
i never much liked poll, but never much disliked him either, so gone or refereeing in the park could not really care - just thought he was a tosser...
07/07/2007 10:37:00
Good season for Portsmouth i really admire HR as a manager.
07/07/2007 16:16:00
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