With the FA Cup Final only days away, and every Portsmouth fan like myself trying to convince ourselves we have a chance to defeat a club like Chelsea that’s clicking on all cylinders, it saddens me to think that we’ll be going down to the Championship next season. Our time in the top-flight has, at times, felt like being an emigrant on a passenger steamship who snuck into first class to see how the rich lived, only to be tossed back to steerage when discovered. That said, reflection can be a wonderful thing.
Many Pompey fans have nothing but anger for Harry Redknapp, but I would simply thank him for all he’s done and wish him the best in Europe next season. He got and kept the club up when it seemed impossible, guided us in lifting the most historic trophy in the land, and, in turn, booked us a European tour of our own, although Harry didn’t stick around for the thrilling 2-2 draw against Milan.
Besides that glorious FA Cup victory over Cardiff, the reckless spending at Portsmouth did allow us to see some incredible talent come through Fratton Park. This is well-evidenced by the fact that in South Africa this summer, there may be as many as 17 players participating that show Portsmouth on their C.V.
Hopefully an investigator will one day figure out where all the transfer profits went, but our financial freefall did provide an unexpected result – the banding together of a rag-tag group of players, unwanted by other teams, that created an “us against the world” mentality that gave way to Uncle Avram’s exciting attacking football and completely unexpected results one week to the next. The way our starting elevens have looked, if we took on any more loans, one would think Portsmouth FC is a U.S. financial institution that was too big to fail.
With so many great memories to choose from, I’ll just run through five of my favorites:
- Lomana Lua Lua’s two goals against Southampton to secure survival in the Premier League in 2005.
- Benjani, who couldn’t hit the back of an open goal on the training ground after his initial transfer into the club in 2006, not being able to stop scoring in the latter half of 2007.
- Tony Adams signing Theofanis Gekas in January as the answer to our lack of strikers, which seemed to be the final straw in getting himself sacked.
- Club legend Linvoy Primus’ return to Fratton Park against Sunderland in May of 2009 after a long recovery from injury, where his name was chanted as he ran out as a substitute, and the Pompey faithful cheered every time he touched the ball.
- The unbelievable 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the FA Cup Semifinal.
I hope we’ll be able to come right back up, but satisfied creditors and a willing new owner would be enough for me at the moment. In the meantime…Play Up Pompey.