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Pompey: Arsenal's retirement village

Pompey: Arsenal's retirement village
Last season, the average age of our team was very high, we had a great number of players that were "past it" (Andy Cole) or looked like they would be "past it" (David James). In fact, looking at Portsmouth from a neutrals point of view, there hopes for the future seemed very bleak, with seemingly no one under the age of 25. (Well almost). Of course, much has changed since then, we have brought in new, young, players, but how long will we keep the likes of Diarra for? And we still have an ageing captain in Sol Campbell.

The new generation - spearheaded by Sulley Muntari and Lassana Diarra are coming into our team, and right now, our squad looks much younger. However, we still don't have anyone in an u21 team playing regularly, and whilst the academy is making impressive strides towards bringing in players, I would be surprised if saw any youngsters break in for the next few years.

Frank Songo'o looked likely for a while, until a poor spell at Crystal palace saw him drop slightly out of favour. Paris Cowen-Hall has seemingly been in impressive form for the academy side, or at least, his name keeps popping up in the reviews - and Martin Cranie looked very impressive before he broke his leg (or someone broke it for him...I cant remember) - however none of these are really OUR players. Born and bred Pompey. Cowen-Hall joined from Dagenham and Redbridge (I think), Cranie joined from scum (but has been forgiven…by me anyway) and Songo'o came from Barcelona. Our only player to come through our academy, we sold, so it hardly looks like something we can rely on for the future, even with Paul Hart in charge.

The club is making steps towards youth, as we have seen over the last year. Saying (a very sad) goodbye to 29 year old Benjani "the legend" Mwaruwari, in the face of 25 year old Jermain "cup tied" Defoe (yes, I am still bitter). The arrivals of two new youth strikers, and a highly sort after youth goalkeeper were added to our collection of youthful players in January, and Lassana Diarra came in to our now relatively young midfield, to accompany Muntari, who is also 22(ish). Our defence is also getting younger, with Aubey coming in, to add to Glen Johnson - although our aging centre back pairing may need a little improvement.

So despite having the tag "Arsenal's retirement village" - it looks like we are taking steps in all areas of the pitch to build a team of our own, taking a few risks on players who may, or may not succeed, so despite what initially looked a year and a half ago to be an ageing squad, we are beginning to look a much more athletic side, with players wishing to prove themselves, rather than sit back, having already made there point. It looks like there are good times ahead for us...but then; we already knew that didn't we?

To be continued...

Written by pompeycarpet.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

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Date:Friday February 22 2008
Time: 2:51PM


its a good read pompeycarpet - and as requested the 2nd part of his article will be added next week... the arsenal retirment village tag is not something that i an worried about tbh - i quite like it, but as far as the youth set-up goes i feel sure that with people like paul hart involved we will start producing some youngsters in the years to come, clearly not all will make it maybe for everyone that does 5 wont, but we can start start bringing them through...
22/02/2008 14:55:00
Good stuff carpet - Cowan Hall came from Rushden and Diamonds (it was R&D nor D&R). When will the next Pompey boy play for Pompey??
22/02/2008 16:41:00
I'm quite happy to take the crumbs off the big table. Who's next, Gerrard, Ronaldo, Henry?
22/02/2008 17:38:00
ahh, im always getting confusd between the order of the letter dave, sorry! I dont mind nabbing the best players from other clubs as they are looking to end there careers, just so long as they put there heart into it - however it would be great to see some young talent coming through. i suggest me ;-)
22/02/2008 17:49:00
pompeycarpet you are quite right about heart,but I think we have been successful with older players giving 100% in the past. It is the lack of this total commitment which we are witnessing now. On the subject of home grown players, if eastneydave has time I would love a breakdown on how we faired with our winning teams of the 1949/50 period.
22/02/2008 18:43:00
The lack of this total commitment which we are witnessing now??? 8th in the Premier League and in the FA Cup quarter final. Just think how well we will do when we get some commited players then 007 :O)
Pompey Half Pint
22/02/2008 19:19:00
007 you asked, I provide. The twelve players who formed the backbone of the Championship years were mostly locally grown. Flewin, Scoular, Dickinson, Harris, Froggatt and Phillips were are signed either from local non league clubs as kids or direct. Butler and Rookes were both signed as teenagers and Ferrier and Reid both signed straight after the war having been at Barnsley and Stockport respectively. That leaves Clarke and Yeuell who both came from WBA Clarke was 32 and Yeuell 20 on signing. Only Jimmy Scoular and Jack Froggatt left to play football at the top level. The majority of the rest either retired from Pompey or played non league soccer. Hope that answer the question 007. Virtually a home built side.
22/02/2008 20:49:00
very good read 'Carpet -
22/02/2008 21:25:00
I prefer to think of Arsenal as our feeder club as opposed to us being thier retirement village!!! PUP
22/02/2008 22:25:00
You can't compare the forties, fifties and sixties with now in regard to homegrown players. Things have changed so much in all aspects of life that that is an unfair comparison. What has changed is loyalty and commitment and whilst other things may change there is no excuse for lack of either of these from both managemnt and players. You don't bite the hand that feeds you. If you don't like something then say so. If you still don't like it after it has been talked through then get out and don't bring others down with your sulking. This is where the transfer rules need to change. If a player and the club are at odds and both want to move on then the transfer rules should allow them both to tell the FA and then able to put the player up for transfer at anytime during the year.
23/02/2008 08:08:00
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