'The landlords' Christmas speech
This past year
What can I say, what a 12 months it has been for each and every Pompey supporter - we have just continued to grow and grow building on the good work we have made over the past few years, both on and off the pitch.
Some statistical facts that I came across recently actually place us in the top 16 clubs in Europe over the past year or so, and another stat shows that on form since Pedro Mendes kick started our 'great escape' towards the end of the 2005/06 season we are the 5th best side in the country... not bad considering 'we're only Portsmouth'...
It took a while for us to get going at the start of 2007 but when we finally did we were within one goal of securing a place in Europe, a goal that we did score to beat Arsenal on the final day of the 2006/07 season, only for that plonker Graham Poll to play his part in getting it overturned and we just missed out... alas over the course of the season we did not do enough so we cannot blame one decision for our failing.
People said that 'we were not ready for Europe' but any side that manages to secure this place over the course of 38 games is good enough, but missing out probably was not a bad thing in hindsight.
We spend £30m in the summer, now for Pompey to have spent that over several years would have been almost unthinkable not too long ago, but to have spent it over 3 months was something that only dreams were made of for Pompey, yet these dreams are becoming a reality.
The year ahead
This season has started remarkably well, and unlike last season - despite a slight blip recently - we have kept this going and are in a great position to mount a serious assault on a European place. Nothing is expected but if we are still in a similar, if not better position come Easter then if we did miss out, considering we have a much 'easier' run in this season than we did the last we would have to be disappointed.
We also have the FA cup, something that we would all dearly love to win, so an extended run hopefully even all the way is something that we can not only hope for, but to a degree expect. So long as we get a bit of luck along the way and play as strong a team as possible we should be looking to be there or thereabouts.
Hopefully this coming year can also see plans approved to get our new training complex sorted out - this is something that we desperately need in order to enable us to continue moving forward and to take us to another level yet still, we are a top flight side going in the right direction so we need facilities to match this ambition, facilities that we will need in order to not only keep, but attract further talent - both in terms of senior and junior talent.
Fratton Park holds many, many special and fond memories for us all, but again in order for us to move forward we need to be able to finally get the green light to start building the much talked about over the years, yet much needed new stadium. This dream, which has been in the pipeline for as long as I can remember is the closest that it has ever been to actually becoming a reality so I beg the local authorities to help us out with all these plans, as I keep saying it will not only benefit Portsmouth Football Club but also Portsmouth as a city...
The year personally
From a personal point of view as a Pompey fan it has been a year that has quite possibly been the best ever in my lifetime supporting Pompey, even though we have had some memorable patches over the years, as a year overall I think this is probably the top one so far.
Away from Pompey, the arrival of my nephew Reece has probably been the best thing to happen not only this year, but in my life - he has brought so much joy to the whole family but Uncle Rug in particular cannot think of many better things that have ever happened in his life than 'little spoons' arrival.
I look forward to 2008 being a top one for myself, my family, my friends and all of my extended family on Vital Pompey's points of view.
I spent the first half of this year 'as a mere mortal' then suddenly and most unexpectedly around June, or July time the call came for me from Vital headquarters asking if I would be interested in making the step-up from 'match day reporter and occasional contributor' to 'the head honcho'... I did not have to give it much thought before accepting, and soon managed to slip into the role and quickly gained my tag as 'the landlord'.
The growth of this site over these months has been nothing short of astounding, literally hundreds of new people have signed up since I took over, and so many of you are regularly contributing be this via votes in polls, comments on articles or in the forum or with the thoughts that you are putting forward with your own articles - something which so many of you are doing, and I hope this continues.
Vital Pompey has established itself in the top 10 of all Vital sites and now is firmly established as the 5th biggest in the top flight... if we continue to move forward as we are we will reel in these others ahead of us and one day could become the top dog on Vital Football, but this will take a long time, probably several years but the true aim this coming year is to firmly establish Vital Pompey as the no.1 site for Pompey fans, which I honestly think it already is.
It has been a tremendous team effort - Paultsmouth does a great job backing me up - and we have all put a lot in and are all getting a lot back as a result. One of my favourite sayings to people when they say 'you have done a great job with this site landlord' is to say 'it is a team effort and there is no 'i' in team'...
Merry Christmas and a Fantastic New Year
I think that all I have said just about all I need to - and have probably given the Queen a good run for her money in terms of speech - so all that is needed to be said is to wish those of you that celebrate Christmas - which I know not all of you do, so I mean no offence to any of you that do not - a very merry one and I also wish each and every one of you the very, very best for 2008.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
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