Portsmouth is now officially the latest English club coming to North America as part of their preseason warm-ups. The south-coast club finished dead last in the EPL, made history by being the first Premier League club to go into administration and have been forced to sell what top-class talent they had in order to stave off collapse.
But despite all of their troubles Pompey will join English clubs Manchester United, Manchester City, Bolton and Tottenham on the other side of the pond. The catastrophe at Portsmouth last season has a thin, thin silver lining when it comes to their overseas trip. The administration, the last place finish and the multitude of owners has raised the club’s notoriety outside of England. Their FA Cup run was something straight out of a Disney sports film and Avram Grant’s willingness to go down with the ship and stick it out until the end has endeared him to the public.
Portsmouth’s trip will be a barometer on how much the English game has permeated into the North American sports psyche. Most Americans/Canadians have never even heard of the Championship, much less seen a game featuring lower division sides. Espescially now that Avram Grant has departed and the FA Cup will be a distant afterthought once the hoopla of the World Cup commences it will be interesting to see if people turn out because Lord knows the club needs the money.
Portsmouth start their North American tour against Club America in San Diego on July 14, travel north to face off with the Edmenton Select on July 21 and finish against MLS bottom-dwellers D.C. United on July 24. Be sure to check out our complete list of preseason friendlies and stay tuned to EPL Talk for full coverage.