Portsmouth Season Guide
Ground: Fratton Park, Frogmore Road, P04 8RA
Ticket Office: 0871 230 1898
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Away - All dark blue
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|Last Season - Grandstand finish||Position: 13th|
Portsmouth enjoyed a fairy tale start to life in the Premiership. After three games, and a 4-0 thrashing of Bolton Wanderers, the Fratton Park club were top of the table. But they then won only one game in the next two-and-a-half months before dishing out another humbling, 6-1, to Leeds United. Pompey suffered a series of injuries to key players throughout the season, with Steve Stone, Tim Sherwood, Patrik Berger, Svetoslav Todorov and Vincent Pericard among those spending lengthy time on the treatment table. But Harry Redknapp brought in good reinforcements in the January transfer window - Eyal Berkovic, Ivica Mornar, Petri Pasanen and Lomano Tresor LuaLua. Pompey finished the season with a real flourish, losing one in ten with six victories, as Yakubu bagged 11 goals. But a fall-out between manager and chairman at the end of the campaign threatened to undo all the hard work.
|Transfers - In and Out|
Diomansy Kamara (Modena) - £2.5m
Aliou Cisse (Birmingham) - £300,000
Ricardo Fuller (Preston) - Undisclosed
Lomana LuaLua (Newcastle) - Undisc.
Andy Griffin (Newcastle) - Free
Andrea Guatelli (Parma) - Free
David Unsworth (Everton) - Free
Valery Mezague (Montpellier) - Loan
Lee Bradbury (Oxford) - Free
Deon Burton (Brentford) - Free
Lee Molyneaux (Oxford) - Free
Terry Parker (Oxford) - Free
Carl Pettefer (Southend) - Free
Carl Robinson (Sunderland) - Free
Teddy Sheringham (West Ham) - Free
Tim Sherwood (Coventry) - Free
Chris Tardif (Oxford) - Free
Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) - Loan
Ivica Mornar (Rennes) - Loan
Rowan Vine (Luton) - Loan
Gary Silk (Wycombe) - Loan
Warren Hunt - Released
Sebastian Olszar - Released
|First Choice XI|
GK Shaka Hislop; RB Sebastian Schemmel, CB David Unsworth, CB Dejan Stefanovic, LB Matthew Taylor; RM Steve Stone, CM Nigel Quashie, CM Eyal Berkovic, LM Patrik Berger, CF Aiyegbeni Yakubu, CF Lomano Tresor LuaLua.
|The Gaffer - Harry Redknapp|
Redknapp remains one of the most charismatic managers in the game and a constant source of entertainment in post-match interviews. After defying all the critics and leading Portsmouth to the First Division title, he then turned wheeler and dealer to secure Premiership survival. This season Redknapp will look to try and establish Pompey as a top flight club, although he will probably need to bring in a few more new faces to strengthen the squad. Harry loves the transfer market, and has probably been involved in more deals than any other Premiership manager - there should be more to come before the end of the month. It will be interesting to see how his relationship with Milan Mandaric develops over this season after their well-publicised spat.
|Player to Watch - Yakubu Aiyegbeni|
Although the Nigerian international struggled for consistency in the first half of the season, he exploded towards the end of the campaign scoring 11 goals in the final ten games - including a four-goal salvo against Middlesbrough on the final day. Whether he will be able to live up that form is the big question. Although he does possess undoubted skill there is the danger he could be a streak player. And if Todorov fails to find his fitness again after missing the whole of 2003/04, then there will be a lot of responsibility on the 22-year-old's shoulders.
|Young Gun - Richard Duffy|
Duffy, by trade, is a centre-back or a right-back although he is able to generally play anywhere on the park. He enjoyed a remarkable rise in 2003/04, having at one stage had his career threatened by spondylosis of the lower back. He missed more than a year before returning to the Swansea City first team at the start of the season, impressing greatly as the Welsh side enjoyed a fine start. Portsmouth signed him for £400,000 in the January transfer window - with only 24 first team appearances under his belt. He was handed his Premiership debut in May 2004, as a 22nd minute substitute for the injured Linvoy Primus in a 1-1 home draw with Fulham, and looks to be a very good prospect.
|From the Terraces|
Portsmouth will start their second consecutive season among England's elite in high spirits following a tremendous run of form at the end of last season which eased Pompey to safety.
With the rift between chairman Milan Mandaric and manager Harry Redknapp seeming to blow over, the emphasis is back on the footballing side, and although it has been a quiet pre-season, the additions fill one with optimism.
David Unsworth and Andy Griffin should prove great additions to a defence which was at times rocky, whilst Lomana Lua-Lua signing a permanent deal was a great bonus, as it was his partnership with Yakubu Ayegbini which sparked Portsmouth's turnaround last time out.
With a lot of the dead wood cleared out of the squad, Portsmouth look meaner and sharper, and with a new stadium on the horizon, Portsmouth will be confident of their chances of becoming the top side on the South Coast in 2004/2005.
|Best - Top half||Worst - Relegation|
Harry Redknapp would probably himself admit that Portsmouth probably over-achieved last season. He will probably be happy to consolidate with the second season in the Premiership being notoriously hard. Redknapp has yet to make any eye-catching signings, which must surely change, after missing out on Senegal star Papa Bouba Diop. If he gets it right, there is the chance that Pompey could push into the top half, in reality a comfortable finish is more likely. But they really do need to strengthen the squad.