Give us a break

No chance of football at Westleigh Park. Picture: Steve Reid (122393-584)
No chance of football at Westleigh Park. Picture: Steve Reid (122393-584)

Portsmouth delivers yet again with the GSR

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The song blasted out from the dressing rooms at Westleigh Park with perfect comedy timing.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, warbled Eric Idle, as the Monty Python classic drifted across the home of the Hawks.

Yes, someone certainly had a sense of humour as Pompey’s opening pre-season clash with their Blue Square Bet South neighbours fell foul of the British summer.

Because it’s not raining but pouring on the Blues at the moment.

In fact, it’s more of a devastating tropical hurricane that Michael Appleton is having to contend with right now.

You had to feel for the Hawks, who missed out on their annual money-spinning meeting with a Pompey side who (currently, anyway) sit three divisions above them in the football pyramid.

But secretary Trevor Brock’s insistence the game would definitely go ahead this week had an increasingly similar ring to Iraqi information minister ‘Comical Ali’ who remained insistent there were no US or British forces in Baghdad while their tanks saturated the city in 2003.

The blindingly obvious was there for all to see – and so it proved as referee Kris Hames and his team took to the pitch at 2.10pm.

The referee kicked a ball 30 feet up in the air and it didn’t bounce an inch when it hit the turf.

He fizzed a ball across the pitch with the same inevitable outcome, before shrugging his shoulders and making his way to shelter from the latest deluge.

After the week Pompey have had, the metaphors weren’t difficult for those hardy fans trying to stay dry in the Hawks car park to come up with.

The roads and footpaths on Martin Road were now a river as Appleton continued to fight to keep his head above water.

The news of Thursday’s points deduction and sanctions from the Football League against his club has hit the Pompey boss hard.

Appleton knows full well it’s going to up the difficulty of probably the toughest recruitment job any manager has faced in the coming weeks.

Convincing players to come to Fratton Park was never going to be easy, with the uncertainty which continues to surround the club.

Appy’s sales pitch has been to tell them PO4 is a place worth visiting in League One, such is Pompey’s size and potential.

But, with a 10-point hit, the notion it’s going to be a fleeting tour of England’s third tier becomes a harder pitch to make believable.

Yet, players continue to want to wear the star and crescent.

Brian Howard’s presence as the Blues squad decamped to Eastleigh for an impromptu session proved that.

There are others, too, with the expectation striker Izale McLeod and former Doncaster midfielder Simon Gillett will be among the travelling party in Spain this week.

Gillett’s Donny team-mate Mustapha Dumbuya remains, along with former Chelsea man Jon Harley, too.

The current crop of players who need to depart to keep Pompey alive will not be a part of the training camp, however.

As for the FA Cup hero of 2008, the same question, which has been dominating Twitter, still applies – #whereskanu?

So the Blues will now settle into their new base in the Marbella hills in the coming days.

And maybe some of the new faces there will offer a ray of light or two among the storm clouds which continue to engulf the club.