This season has been a traumatic one for anyone linked to Portsmouth FC. The club has lurched from one disaster to the next and are truly on the brink of complete meltdown. Rumours are persisting that they will be forced into selling their players to avoid administration and if this turns out to be true, then relegation is surely a certainty; Even if they manage to keep all their players, the odds are that they would still finish in the bottom 3. They struggle to pay their players on a regular basis and face a difficult second half of the season if they cannot get their transfer embargo overturned.
The team that now turns out for Portsmouth is almost unrecognisable from the side that lifted the FA Cup in 2008. That side was built on shaky foundations; money was spent when it shouldn’t have been; and now Pompey are paying the consequences. They must look around the Premiership with envy as former players like Defoe, Crouch, Johnson and Kranjcar enjoy life at more illustrious clubs in the top-half of the table. Amidst all of the chaos; the players deserve a lot of credit for how they have conducted themselves.
The men in charge of Portsmouth have shown remarkable levels of incompetence; but the players have done their fans proud. Yes they are sitting rock-bottom of the league; but they are by no means adrift of the rest just yet. And yes, the likelihood is that they will go down. But the team has actually performed well on numerous occasions this season. The defeat of Liverpool came as a surprise to many, but this Portsmouth side have players capable of springing a surprise. In fact, they are only lacking a striker who can be relied upon to finish well. Their main weak point is the fact that neither Frederic Piquionne nor Aruna Dindane inspire much confidence. Both have scored goals; but both waste most of their chances and this is what is undoing Portsmouth. A reliable finisher and this side would fancy themselves to stay up comfortably, such is the hard-working nature of the rest of the team.
Players like Jamie O’Hara, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Asmir Begovic and Nadir Belhadj have all performed admirably this season. They have not let the off-the-field problems have an impact on their football and should be applauded for their professionalism. Many players faced with not being paid could have kicked up a fuss, but the Pompey players have dug in and keep giving their all for the club. Normally when a team is relegated, the players have failed; but if Pompey go down, it is the club’s hierarchy and not the players who should shoulder the blame.