Portsmouth, it’s players, football supporters and Paul Hart showed today what an incredible club they really are. In most grounds around the country, fickle supporters would have booed their team off the pitch after a Premier League record of seven defeats to open a season, but not at Fratton Park. Despite a one-nil loss against Everton, Portsmouth supporters — rightly so — gave a standing ovation to Paul Hart and his entire Portsmouth team.
This was a Portsmouth side today that poured their hearts and souls into the game and treated it like a cup final. Paul Hart got all of his tactics right, and his players did everything they could possibly do to try to win this match. But ultimately, against a very resilient Everton side who put all eleven players behind the ball for periods of the second half, it was almost impossible for Pompey to score.
But Pompey tried. They had a header that hit the crossbar. Tim Howard, my man of the match, pulled off several incredible saves (one with his shoulder that needs to be included in a ‘Best Goalkeeper Saves’ video) and another header that was cleared off the line by Leighton Baines.
Based on the performance that Portsmouth gave today, you can see that they believe in their manager, fellow players and supporters. If they continue playing like that, they’ll definitely stay up as the passion and persistence is bound to pay off in the near future with a much-deserved win. In no way is this a club who deserves to be rooted at the bottom of the Premier League. This was a side that was playing a spirited and physical 90 minutes against a very difficult to beat Everton side.
For Al-Fahim to sack Portsmouth manager Paul Hart would be a travesty. Yes, sometimes sacking a manager turns around a club, but based on the way that Pompey are playing right now, it would be the worst move to make. If anyone out there calls for Hart to get sacked, either they haven’t been watching Portsmouth play this season or they’re just jumping on the bandwagon of the British press who will undoubtedly pile more pressure on Al-Fahim and Portsmouth to sack the manager because it creates headlines and copy that sell.
Paul Hart has to be commended for creating an incredible spirit and passion in this team. Play up Pompey, play up.