Sunday, April 16, 2006

The problem with Portsmouth

In the non-league there is a strict system of ground grading. If you get promoted, but your ground doesn't match up to the standards for the next level, you don't go up. So how is it that Portsmouth is able to get away in the Premiership with an open terrace with seats bolted on buffeted by winds from the Solent? Colchester United has one of the poorest grounds in League 1 but even they have cover over their away ends.

We're constantly told that Portsmouth are going to rotate their ground by ninety degrees. But a lot of money went on boosting the squad during the January transfer window. And at last it seems like they're playing together effectively. Pompey are 3rd in the form league and look likely to escape relegation, so we shall have to put up with their away terrace for another season.

With Portsmouth on song and Charlton faltering, it might seem that the script is written for an away win tomorrow. If so, it will be the first time that the Addicks have been defeated at The Valley since Boxing Day.

The signs don't look good. Myhre seems to have hit a bad patch. Darren Bent seems to have mislaid his shooting boots: is he carrying a slight injury? And Spector is a failure at right back, although there is no real alternative. I remain unconvinced that Sankofa would be any better. The sad fact is that our Academy has not been producing players of Premiership quality for some time with the possible exception of Sam who needs to regain match fitness after a long time out with an injury.

Nevertheless, I don't believe that the match is a foregone conclusion. We shall, of course, have to put with Pompey's fanantical support. There is certainly quite a contrast between the noise they make and the quietness of the home crowd at The Valley much of the time. However, I am not sure that I would want the Addickted to adopt their style of undiscerning support.


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