There aren’t many fans that can claim to have had a worse time of supporting their club than Portsmouth supporters.
After establishing themselves as a Premier League club and winning the FA Cup in 2008, things started to go horribly wrong for Pompey. Several key players had to be sold to ease financial problems, but selling the likes of Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Glen Johnson, Sulley Muntari and Lassana Diarra couldn’t stop the club from entering administration and ending their seven year stay in the top flight in 2010.
It got even worse for the South Coasters as they re-entered administration in 2012, which resulted in another points deduction and another relegation. This resulting in the whole squad departing ahead of their first year in League One and a third points deduction followed, which ultimately led them in back-to-back relegations and a third in four seasons.
After years of ownership battles and financial ruin, Portsmouth is now fan-owned after the Pompey Supporters Trust agreed a deal to buy the club in April 2013. Whilst on the pitch, their second season in League Two isn’t exactly going to plan, the fact that Portsmouth are still alive and kicking is an achievement in itself.
Also, with the announcement in September that the club is now debt free, Portsmouth can finally start to look forward to a brighter future. The important thing is to consolidate and getting the club into a healthy position before attempting to push on back up the Football League.
The huge amount of transfer activity at both ends couldn’t have helped manager Andy Awford get a settled squad together and has to have contributed to a poor season at this stage. No win in seven has left Pompey in 16th position and just three points above the relegation zone. They have lost ten of their 25 matches and are struggling for consistent performances and positive results. But with the recent addition of Matt Tubbs and with youngsters such as Jed Wallace impressing, a relegation battle should be avoided this season.
One positive of not having money to spend on players is the ability to rely on the youth system. Allowing players to experience regular first team football from an early age can develop them quicker than at Premier League clubs, where under-21 football is what youngsters can expect. Twenty-year-old midfielder Jed Wallace is the main example of this.
The young winger has already made 90 league appearances, scoring 22 goal.s and has looked extremely impressive, especially this season. Eleven goals in 29 matches in total this term has surely got the bigger clubs of League One and the Championship taking notice of this young prospect. With great pace and a keen eye for goal, it will be a struggle to keep him at the club long term but for now he is key to any hopes this season.
In reality, mid-table consolidation should be the aim, as it is so crucial for the club not be sucked into a relegation battle and face time outside of the Football League, which could finish off the club once and for all.