Vital Football

Pre-Season Review

Pre-Season Review
Football ceased as usual for its summer hiatus after a memorable day at Wembley in May 2010, however the exception for Portsmouth Football Club was the lingering notion that it may never return. 56 days had passed between the valiant attempt to beat Chelsea in the FA Cup Final and the return to action at West Leigh Park for our traditional pre-season friendly against The Hawks, and many things had changed.

Firstly, the preparation for the upcoming season was for the Championship, after administration the season previous ensured relegation from the top flight. Secondly, the club had seen some massive changes in personnel, with Uncle Avram departing for West Ham, and being eventually replaced by former Burnley and Notts County manager Steve Cotterill.

The squad had predictably seen a major overhaul as well, with bigger names such as David James, Papa Bouba Diop, Kevin Prince Boateng and Nadir Belhadj moving on as well as loaned players such as Jamie O'Hara, Aruna Dindane, Frederic Piquionne returning to whence they came, and with a transfer embargo still handcuffing the Blues from spending, a concoction of loans and freebies were sought as replacements.

Of the 14 players that featured in the Cup Final, Michael Brown was the only one named in the inaugural pre-season game against Havant & Waterlooville, and fittingly he scored the winning goal just before the hour after Mustafa Tiryaki cancelled out David Nugent's early strike. Portsmouth named and used 10 youth-filled substitutes, something we shouldn't get used to.

Following the Hawks game, Portsmouth set off to America to play a string of 4 friendlies in 10 days, in what in hindsight was a disastrous and damaging pre-season arrangement. With barely time to find a postcard stall Portsmouth had to take on Mexican giants Club America in the rather impressive, yet unsurprisingly sparsely populated Qualcomm Stadium.

Again, the Blues named a youthful line-up, with names like Tommy Smith, Richard Hughes and Hayden Mullins used to bolster up the spine of the team. Despite a couple of decent chances for Pompey, the Mexicans went in 2-0 up at the break. Tom Kilbey showed that he may have an input to the season by scoring early in the second half, but Club America comfortably held on in an uncharacteristically heated friendly, with the match finishing 2-1.

Pompey next took on American 4th tier opposition in Ventura County Fusion as Nugent and Hughes were the only senior players in the starting line up. It was a tight game, which Pompey won thanks to a sweet strike from Nugent, after Marlon Pack's goal was followed by a stunning equalizer from Armenian Hagop Avesyan in front of a crowd consisting of a few picnic tables.

Next up was a clash for the coveted(?) Edmonton cup, which saw Portsmouth take on the newly founded FC Edmonton. The game was played in front of over 8,000 fans, albeit in a 60,000 capacity stadium and started horribly. The Canadians scored in the first few minutes through local boy Chris Lemire, and to add to our woes, the promising Jon Stewart and Tom Kilbey were sidelined through injuries in the first 10 minutes, the former with a suspected broken leg, which would rule him out for most of the upcoming season.

Portsmouth responded magnificently as they poured on the pressure, and shortly after the break, Nadir Ciftci prodded home the equaliser which saw the game go to penalties, which Pompey won 5-4 with Ciftci scoring the wining kick and Liam O'Brien the hero at the other end.

The final leg of the American tour pitted Pompey against MLS side DC United, after a nightmare of a journey which included cancelled flights, thunder storms and lost luggage. Playing in DC United's spare kit, a shattered Pompey got battered in the sweltering heat as the hosts dominated. A hat-trick from familiar face Danny Allsopp, and a Pablo Hernandez sitter saw the side from Washington rack up a 4-0 win, despite finishing the match with 9 men. Hayden Mullins and the wonderfully named Santino Quaranta saw red after a scuffle, and Julius James also was given his marching orders late on after bullying Michael Brown.

The nightmare was over, and it was time to return home and perhaps use this time to sign some players, as this trip had taken it's toll on the team, who returned fatigued, less confident and with many injuries. An awful idea to participate in this façade was the general consensus of fans and players alike, and one that arguably had a bearing on the start of the league campaign.

Before the league could start, another trip, this time to Bournemouth was on the cards. A strong Portsmouth side came out on top after the soon to be departed Marc Wilson stroked home a penalty with 20 minutes to go in what was a tight encounter.

Pompey returned to Fratton Park a week before the season started to take on Fulham in the final friendly, a testimonial for the legend Linvoy Primus (a much more worth while cause than the Community Shield, I think you'll agree). The man himself started in a blue shirt, and was manically cheered every time he touched the ball by the rather disappointing 6,000 in attendance. He made way after just 10 minutes to be replaced by the returning Kanu, back from World Cup duties with John Utaka as the side started to resemble one that may be named in the upcoming League season.

Pompey won the match 1-0 thanks to a Marc Wilson header and played an impressive match, which gave the fans some optimism going into the start of the season. Pompey also lifted the "Kappa Cup" following the victory, which meant we were 2 trophies to the good, despite a nightmare of a pre-season. This winning lark is quite easy really.

Pompey now seemed ready for the season to start, but one more victory was to come before the opening bout at the Ricoh, as the ongoing battle with HMRC was finally resolved just 48 hours before the season was set to begin, and it was another victory for PFC. There was no trophy for this one, just the quelling of any immanent fears of liquidation, for now.

Written by PompeyFrippy.

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.

Join the Vital Pompey Debate


Date:Wednesday June 8 2011
Time: 2:03PM


A period to forget but thanks for taking us thorugh it Frippy!
08/06/2011 16:45:00
good, honest and pretty much 'as it was' is what these reviews will be about - and this starts well, from that writing viewpoint anyway...
08/06/2011 18:01:00
How I wish Wilson is still here!
Pompey Malta
09/06/2011 08:34:00
I thought Ciftci was in for a blinder after pre-season/ first month or so. I guess SC had his reasons for excluding him though.
09/06/2011 16:07:00
welcome beijing, nice to see another newbie on here!
i am still bitterly disappointed that ciftci has gone the same way as just about every youngster we had at this club - think cotts' handling of them was wrong in many instances and he has made mistakes with more than a few of the kids he let go, most were as good, if not better, than some of those he shipped them out for but hey ho...
09/06/2011 23:29:00
Ciftci started the season very well, and because of his early goals he stood out as a rising star, but I'm not sure whether this was a stroke of luck combined with a decent spell of form that gained his attention, or if Cotterill genuinely believed there were better players in the team.
11/06/2011 16:43:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Portsmouth Articles

Another loan for Oxlade-Chamberlain

As I think we all know by now Oxlade-Chamberlain is the son of former Pompey winger Mark Chamberlain and the brother of Arsenal's & England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Cook - Notts County another tough game

Pompey's form at Fratton has been impressive this season with our home return coming against Notts County off the back of wins at Leyton Orient and a point at Plymouth last Saturday.

Tollitt confident he'll have a Pompey future

Cook's already said the loan Tollitt is undertaking with Tranmere doesn't mean an end to his Pompey career as this isn't a forerunner to a Blues exit in the New Year.

Vital Pre-Match - League 2, 22nd October

The 2016-17 season continues with the latest round of matches this weekend, which will see us among those having a match in this upcoming schedule with three-points the aim of course.

Archived Vital Pompey Articles

Vital Pompey articles from

Site Journalists

Editor email
Editor email
no email
no email

Current Poll (see more polls)

Pompey v Notts County
Suggested By: pompeyrug
Pompey win46%
Notts County win45%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Plymouth 13 9 2 2 29 10
2 Doncaster 13 8 2 3 26 10
3 Carlisle 13 6 7 0 25 9
4 Luton 13 6 4 3 22 9
5 Portsmouth 13 6 3 4 21 7
6 Grimsby 13 6 2 5 20 1
7 Accrington 13 5 4 4 19 1
8 Crewe 13 4 7 2 19 0
9 Crawley 13 5 4 4 19 -1
10 Morecambe 13 6 1 6 19 -6
11 Mansfield 13 4 6 3 18 1
12 Notts County 13 5 3 5 18 0
13 Colchester 13 4 4 5 16 -1
14 Hartlepool 13 3 7 3 16 -2
15 Yeovil 13 5 1 7 16 -6
16 Wycombe 13 4 3 6 15 -3
17 Blackpool 13 3 5 5 14 2
18 Stevenage 12 4 2 6 14 -2
19 Cheltenham 13 2 7 4 13 -2
20 Exeter 13 4 1 8 13 -5
21 Cambridge 13 3 4 6 13 -6
22 Leyton Orient 13 3 3 7 12 -4
23 Barnet 12 2 6 4 12 -6
24 Newport 11 1 4 6 7 -6
The Vital Football Members League
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
Vital Football Comment

Recent Portsmouth Results (view all)

Portsmouth Fixtures (view all)

Oct 22 2016 3:00PM : Notts County (H)
Sky Bet League Two
Oct 29 2016 3:00PM : Cambridge United (a)
Sky Bet League Two
Nov 12 2016 3:00PM : Mansfield Town (H)
Sky Bet League Two
Nov 19 2016 3:00PM : Cheltenham Town (a)
Sky Bet League Two
Nov 22 2016 7:45PM : Luton Town (a)
Sky Bet League Two
Nov 26 2016 3:00PM : Stevenage (H)
Sky Bet League Two

Vital Members League Table

Write for Vital Football