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The escape for Portsmouth starts now!

October 4, 2009
Monday, wages in bank account, thanks!

Monday, wages in bank account, thanks!

On the back of a recent article here on AFC Bournemouth and Pompey’s win over Wolves, I can finally start proclaiming the battle to escape relegation officially starts now for Portsmouth. Many pundits, professional and arm-chair pros alike have already written them off, assured that the financial problems weighing the club will eventually spread to the performances on the pitch, but I am a romantic, and would like to see them defy the odds. No doubt I am one of those pundits who predicted relegation for the beleaguered outfit, but I don’t mind being proven wrong every once in a while.

In their defence, many pundits missed out on one factor when discussing their poor form, always relating it to boardroom and ownership problems. While some of it may be true, it is the players that play the game, and not the chairman or owner of the club. Portsmouth, if you remember, did not have the luxury of pre-season games to integrate all their players. Many on their current squad list only joined the club on transfer deadline day, when the season already began. I have not done my research, but I’m willing to bet that half the team that started their pre-season games are no longer at Pompey.

The squad list for Portsmouth also look pretty decent. David James would be the obvious star-name, and would be able expected to do a good job in goal. Playing in front of him, are players which I think are at least of Premier League standards. Tal Ben-Haim, was not so long ago a Chelsea player, bought in to cover for John Terry and Carvalho, and on many occasions, performed a more than decent job in his role. I don’t believe he became a bad player overnight. Kaboul can be a good defender, if he can concentrate on the game long enough and not drift forward thinking he’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Vanden Borre is another good player who I think just need games to show his abilities. I was very impressed with him at the last Euros with Belgium where they kept plenty of clean sheets, and actually thought one of the big European teams would snap him up, so imagine my surprise when I heard he was coming to Pompey.

In midfield, Richard Hughes, Mokoena, Mullins, Michael Brown, can all be called upon to do a good job. None of them will light up the pitch with crossovers and dribbles, but you can expect more hard work and energy on it. Much maligned Kevin Prince Boateng, or as Darren Bent calls him, KPB, is a good attacking player but needs to work on many aspects of his game, especially tracking back. Playing regularly will certainly help him achieve that. Jamie O’Hara, as we all know, was loaned out to Pompey as part of the Crouch deal, and is a very good player himself.

In attack, Piquionne, has been capped by France, and cannot be all that bad with that background. He looks a bit on the soft side, but that is expected as he came from the French Ligue, where men there are a little more gentlemanly in their ways on the pitch. Once he gets a bite of regular cuppas and biscuits, I believe he will pick up some meat along the way. Utaka, Smith and Dindane will also need time to gel and form a partnership. It takes many games to reach a level of understanding with a fellow player, and it has shown, but the win over Wolves showed Smith and Didane finally getting a feel of each other’s style.

All in all, the squad on paper looks good, but I think is a pretty decent squad that lacks the cohesiveness of a team playing together for a while. Who cares if the board is negotiating another takeover? The show must go on, and it is these players who will run the show. Considering the poor quality of the teams at the bottom end of the table, many of these players will certainly have the belief that they should be in a better situation than what they find themselves in. And it is for that same reason that I believe Portsmouth should be able to form an escape plan, which may or may not be too late, but will certainly be very interesting to watch.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. maserati4200 permalink
    October 4, 2009 12:33 pm

    It’s important for South Coast football that Pompey survive financially. With Southampton, Bournemouth and Brighton also having their financial troubles and struggling to stay alive there’s a danger that these clubs may be lost.

    The Bournemouth, Southampton and Portsmouth conurbation is massive and the potential support locally is huge. I’ve often wondered whether a merger of two or more of these clubs would ever be on the cards and if so, whether the fans would ever accept it. Probably not – Bournemouth fans still refer to Saint’s as “Scummers”!

  2. October 4, 2009 3:19 pm

    Great article, J.
    It may get more reads if you add key words in the title like “Portsmouth.”

  3. October 4, 2009 10:11 pm

    Great article! I hope that Portsmouth do stay up.

    I’d like it to be that the bottom 3 aren’t decided before December at the least. It would make it more exciting if this year it was even closer at the bottom of the table

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