David Cameron Walker

Posts Tagged ‘Fratton Park’

Pompey – The New Era Begins

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

On the 10th of April at 16:21 papers were signed as the Portsmouth Supporters Trust (PST) reached an out of court settlement with Portpin over the value of Fratton Park, giving the PST the go ahead to complete an incredible takeover.

Weridly, just five days after the takeover, it was 10 years since Svetoslav Todorov sent Pompey into the Premier League. Futhermore the following day, while Portsmouth were playing a charity midweek freindly against club legend Hermann Hreidasson’s side in IBV,  Pompey had their drop to League Two confirmed.

In between this was a game away at Brentford, with 1,700 Pompey fans making the trip to London for a party after the PST were given the go ahead to complete their takeover. A party which was then scarred by a pitch invasion by 100 or so Pompey fans, and the club’s supporters have have come under a fair amount of criticism for this. I was there and didn’t go on the pitch but you have to say there are two sides to the story. The Brentford statement blaming the Pompey fans didn’t mention the flare that their fans threw on the pitch or them having to move some fans due to getting too wound up either. At the end though, this is all irrelevant and pointless.

The new era begins for the biggest community club in the UK, and surprisingly some fans would think the optimism couldn’t be higher right now in the Pompey community. The club starts debt free, we finally have a loyal squad of players who fight for every ball and we own our club.

Next season no one knows what will happen ahead of next season. We could end up signing the entirety of the current squad onto long term contracts and return to League One at the first time of asking. We could sign up a few, still have to build a squad and not go up, but with the revenue of our club through tickets and merchandising once the trust sort out all of the things that they can, there should be plenty to spend on the squad.

Whatever happens now we have amazing passion in this city, the fans have saved the club and no matter what anyone who doesn’t favour the trust says, just ask this;  could it be run any worse than it already has been? The finances at the club are a business nightmare and now it can only be run better by people who love it.

The effort by the fans is almost unbelievable, so much money raised through pledges and no one can forget the people at the top of the Supporters Trust. Ian McInnes, Mick Williams and Ashley Brown, the non stop work and fighting from those three people who refused to let their football club die, we can give no more respect to people for doing what they know is right.

For the fans of other clubs, don’t pity us getting relegated, we’ve saved our club and we’ll be back before you know it. The future is bright.

We did it, we all did it.

Written by Lawrence Hall, We Are Going Up’s Portsmouth blogger

Lawrence tweets at @LawrencePFCHall

The future at Pompey, is it finally looking up?

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

On the 10th and 11th of April the future of Portsmouth Football Club will be decided. The administrators of Pompey (PKF) will go to court to decide the value of Fratton Park and if they lose, the club will be liquidated. If they win, Pompey will finally have a future where we aren’t looking at being pushed almost out of existence by dodgy owners.

On the pitch everything is finally looking up also. On Saturday Pompey beat Coventry City, a club with similar problems off the pitch. Coventry, who are still chasing the playoffs, would’ve been expected to win the game but thanks to Simon Eastwood’s penalty save and a great performance from the rest of the team, Pompey emerged 2-0 winners. The win means that in the last nine games Pompey have won more points than anyone else in the bottom five of the table. Pompey have taken 13, Hartlepool and Oldham 12, Scunthorpe nine and Bury six.

It’s a huge turn around from Portsmouth, a club that not so long ago went 23 games without a win. This can be attributed to the current side having more fight and determination than we’ve seen in years. A few youngsters have come into the side too, and it seems that Jed Wallace and Dan Butler aren’t escaping the eye of some Championship and Premier League clubs.

Wallace has scored four goals and claimed two assists in his short Pompey career, while putting in some very credible performances even when not chipping in with goals or assists. His impressive performances led him to being put on standby for England Under-19′s in the week.

Butler has very recently come into the side at left-back after the club released Jon Harley and has been good value for the decision to recall him back from his loan at Havant and Waterlooville. Many solid performances have strengthened his place in the side, although he was rested due to fatigue against Coventry. Also, no one can miss the warhorse that is Johnny Ertl, the man who gives 110% every game. Ertl is the best captain we’ve had all season and barring Sol Campbell, Linvoy Primus and Jason Pearce,  the best captain we’ve had in a long while. A midfield general and a character, it’s almost a pleasure to have him at Pompey.

The manager is also to thank for this revival. He took the club on a large amount of the 23 game winless run and now we’re back on the rise. Guy Whittingham, or Corporal Guy as he’s also known, is Pompey through and through and has fought for this club ever since he was asked to on an interim basis, which is commendable.

A top Guy is Guy, but the long run without a win cannot be ignored for next season. Whittingham has had the hardest job in football but unfortunately there’s nothing to say he’s a great manager. There’s also not much to say he’s a particularly bad one due to the situation at Fratton Park, so we’ll have to wait and see what the club’s hierarchy decide to do with him next season.

While Guy has been as loyal as he has, you have to remember that the most loyal servants to Portsmouth Football Club are the fans., We still travel up and down the country to follow the team despite their awful form, the administration and everything that has contributed to the disaster that has been Pompey of the last few years. From over 1,000 fans at Leyton Orient on a Tuesday night to the 11,000 that still arrive at Fratton Park and continue to make the atmosphere what it always has been – loud and enjoyable.

Pompey are still five points behind Oldham Athletic in 20th place, with Pompey having played 40 matches while Oldham have played just 37. With a possible ten point deduction possibly on the way it seems survival is impossible, but this is Portsmouth and, as we learnt in the great escape season of 2005-06, anything is possible when you’re Pompey.

The future at Portsmouth Football Club is starting to look up. With the Portsmouth Supporters Trust about to take over a new beginning is finally on the horizon. The team are finally winning and with young starlets beginning coming through, the fans can start talking about football again in the near future. With the club finally being run sensibly Pompey can look up instead of down, even if it is in League Two.

Written by Lawrence Hall, We Are Going Up’s Portsmouth blogger

Lawrence tweets at @LawrencePFCHall

Manage Portsmouth: Get A Promotion

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Of all the things you are told to put on your CV in order to get a job, from being an all-powerful prefect at school to joining the ever-crucial debating society at Uni, there is one thing you need on there in the football world to guarantee you an improved career path – Manager of Portsmouth Football Club.

Amid the turbulence that has seen Pompey tumble from the heights of lifting the FA Cup in 2008,through financial crisis to end up in the lower reaches of League One, one thing has been a constant, any manager who has failed to stop the rot has been rewarded with a very attractive job elsewhere.  Unfortunately for this trio of south coast failures, their lack of success followed them to the next port of call, but what was it about their time at Portsmouth that attracted chairmen around the country?

The story starts with Paul Hart in 2009 who, in fairness, kept Pompey in the Premier League when he took over as caretaker at the back end of the 08-09 season. Unfortunately he followed being offered a permanent contract with the worst start any team has ever made to any Premier League season, losing seven straight games.  Understandably he didn’t last long but his reputation was fully intact and despite this record breaking failure he was almost immediately ushered in at the newly mega-rich and highly ambitious Queens Park Rangers.  It didn’t go well, lasting less than a month. He then suffered similarly short spells at Crystal Palace and Swindon.

Hart’s successor at Fratton Park was the difficult to warm-to Avram Grant, who had the first ever points deduction in Premier League history to deal with, but given they finished eleven points adrift at the bottom of the table, even without the deduction it would have finished been last place for Pompey.  It was clearly an incredibly difficult situation for the Israeli, but ultimately he failed nonetheless and the club went down.  Grant though seemed to be held in higher regard at that point than he was when he took Chelsea to a Champions League final and second in the Premier League, and he was immediately offered the West Ham job in the top flight.  Like Hart, this next move was a disaster as he took the Hammers down in his only season at Upton Park.

Steve Cotterill was the man to take the reins at Portsmouth after Grant, again in tricky circumstances but with a decent Championship level team to work with.  The former Notts County manager had a half-decent season, stabilising the club to a degree and finishing a non-descript 16th.  Not going down was an achievement of sorts due to the madness that was going on around the club, but as mentioned there were some good players there, 16th was nothing special and Portsmouth fans were far from enamoured with the style of football he introduced.  It was enough for Nottingham Forest to come calling though after the resignation of Steve McClaren and duly Cotterill returned to Nottingham to take charge at the City Ground.  Again though his move away from Fratton Park was not fruitful, he lasted less than a year at Forest after finishing 19th.

Now we find Michael Appleton in charge at Pompey in League One after they were relegated from the Championship last season.  He has arguably had the most difficult job of all, having to deal with a ten point deduction, which if had not been in place would have seen Portsmouth survive, and then losing nearly his entire squad before the start of this season.  The side are now in the bottom half of League One, and although you would be a fool not to recognise just how difficult the job Appleton is doing is, a relegation and encampment in the bottom half of the league below is not really working miracles.  However, he is now being linked with a return to the Championship and is one of the favourites for the job at Burnley.

So what makes these men who have effectively done little to halt the demise of Portsmouth such attractive propositions for management posts?  Well it seems that it has been their attitude and demeanour during what has been a torrid time for the club that has kept their profiles up.  They have all been dignified, not moaned and complained about what is a shocking situation for a manager to find themselves in and just got on with it.  It seems that getting on with it is what appeals to chairmen and they don’t seem too fussed that it was done with no great success.

The comparison could be drawn with a man mentioned earlier, Steve McClaren who arrived at Nottingham Forest, spent a decent amount of money for Championship level, lost a few games and was off again in no time at all.  Although he got his old job back in Holland, there will have been few chairmen in England who would have been keen to offer McClaren a contract after he displayed that kind of spineless attitude.  It seems that like the tenacious full-back that has no real talent but works his socks off for the team and will always be a fans favourite for it can still be a role applicable to managers.

Appleton may be the one to buck the trend – he has a lot about him, is young and is building a good reputation in the game.  Let’s just hope he doesn’t become the latest in the line of much heralded but ultimately unsuccessful men to manage Portsmouth.

Written by Phil Haigh, We Are Going Up’s Barnsley blogger

Phil tweets at @philhaigh_

All Change at Fratton Park…Again

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Another new season, another new owner for Portsmouth FC. Pompey have been through a rough time through the past few years – with well-documented financial troubles, player sales, relegation, owner changes and manager alterations. In recent years it’s seemed to be never a dull day at Fratton Park. However, with new owners that look like they’re in for the long term and an ambitious young manager in Steve Cotterill, Pompey finally look on the up.

With Luke Varney arriving from Derby County, David Norris coming in from Ipswich Town, Greg Halford from Wolves and Jason Pearce from Bournemouth all signing for Portsmouth over the summer break, Cotterill is finally beginning to shape the squad to fit his vision, and to get them playing the sort of football that has seen his previous teams reap success in the past.

While the new signings are an encouraging start, more players are needed in critical positions, as the depth of the squad is a continuing issue. Full-back and striking positions are in desperate need of reinforcement, and a lot can be said about the loan market to fill the gaps, if only on a short term basis. Loans have proved to be critical to Portsmouth in the past, and while the Sheffield United chairman proclaimed the over reliance on loan players contributed to their demise last season, without the loans players that came to Fratton Park, we could have been seeing League One football this season.

Gael Kakuta and Patrick Van Aanholt of Chelsea both rumoured with links to Portsmouth this season. With only a month left of the transfer window remaining, time is certainly of the essence and Portsmouth chairman David Lampitt has even hinted there could be new faces at Portsmouth before Saturday’s season-opener at Middlesbrough.

Some will point to the departures of key players such as David Nugent and Michael Brown as reasons for Portsmouth to struggle this season, but there are some great young players knocking on the door of the first team. Many Portsmouth fans will certainly keep their eyes out for the pacey Australian winger Ryan Williams and England U-17 International Sam Magri to potentially grab some minutes this season – both impressed this summer in pre-season and the U-17 championships respectively.

Pre-season this year consisted of another trip to America, immediately bringing back painful memories of last years doomed trip which consisted of endless travelling, constant flights, injuries and poor games and facilities. A lot of people focus on the importance of pre-season, but for Portsmouth it was mainly about building fitness to ensure the club can hit the ground running away at Middlesbrough for the season opener. Charleston Battery provided the opposition over there, and surprised Portsmouth with their ability and fitness, with Greg Halford commenting on Twitter at his surprise of the abilities and facilities in the US.

Coupled with a traditional visit to West Leigh Park to play Havant & Waterlooville, and an embarrassingly cancelled game against La Liga side Real Betis, pre-season has been pretty kind to Portsmouth this year. Sure, there hasn’t been the glitz and glamour that other teams have had in pre-season, but Pompey have quietly gone about their business.

So, what are the odds? Sky Bet have Portsmouth at 33/1 to win the Championship outright, 9/1 for promotion, and 6/1 for relegation. What does that all mean? Mid-table, most likely. Sure, Pompey will push for a playoff place, but I think survival in the Championship coupled with two wins against Southampton will keep the majority of Portsmouth fans happy this year.

Play up Pompey!

Written by Chris Robinson, We Are Going Up’s Portsmouth Blogger

Chris tweets at @gingerboyo