D3D4 Portsmouth Correspondent Dan Hooper gives his thoughts on Pompey’s pre-season business…
Although being a fan of any football club is akin to being on a rollercoaster, few can match the highs and lows that is fandom of Portsmouth Football Club. And in typical fashion, Pompey followed a smash and grab heist of the League Two trophy with big off-season headlines.
As the dust settled on the League Two campaign, a significant majority of the fan owners of the club voted to approve the takeover bid by former Disney executive Michael Eisner, thus securing the funds to compete at a higher level than would be possible under fan ownership. Two days before the first game of the season, it was announced that the takeover of Portsmouth by Eisner’s Tornante Group was completed. Portsmouth have gone from being a Mickey Mouse club to Mickey Mouse’s club.
The big departure of the summer is manager Paul Cook, who left for fellow League One competitors Wigan Athletic, and slightly souring his achievement of promotion and winning the league in the process. The club acted quickly in securing a replacement in the form of the former Swansea, Wolves and Millwall boss Kenny Jackett, a reliable name with a track record for promotion.
The other big departure was the popular captain Michael Doyle, who left for Coventry after Pompey failed to make an offer to keep him on the south coast. Otherwise, those exiting Fortress Fratton would largely comprise more peripheral players like Noel Hunt, Amine Linganzi and Stanley Aborah, leaving the League Two winning side largely intact.
In the arrivals column, Pompey have recruited in a few key areas. Journeyman striker Brett Pitman has joined from Ipswich on a three-year deal. The defence is shored up by goalkeeper Luke McGee, a Tottenham academy product, joining on a three-year deal and promising young defender Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, on a season long loan from Huddersfield.
After a few seasons of League Two football and little to go on besides an encouraging pre-season, it would be wildly optimistic to expect Pompey to mount a realistic challenge for the League One title, though I would not be too surprised if we made the play-off places. Realistically, I think we have a squad good enough to at least make the top half of table but after all that has happened in Portsmouth’s recent history I would be happy just to stay in the league. Call me pragmatic…
words Dan Hooper