Grass has not always been greener for ex-Pompey stars

Peter Crouch has found himself out of the first-team picture for England and Spurs
Peter Crouch has found himself out of the first-team picture for England and Spurs
Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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Whatever happened to all the heroes? Those players who could hardly wait to jump ship when Pompey hit the rocks.

Peter Crouch scored a paltry four league goals last season and has lost his way with Spurs and England.

Likewise, Jermain Defoe no longer appears to be one of Harry Redknapp’s favourites, often being excluded for big games.

Niko Kranjcar only plays when first-choice players are injured.

Then there is Glen Johnson, who has never rediscovered the rampaging form he often showed at Fratton since going to Liverpool.

Sol Campbell, Pompey’s FA Cup winning captain, is looking for another club after being released by Newcastle. Sulley Muntari, unwanted at Inter Milan, was a loan flop at Sunderland last season and looks worth a tiny fraction of the £14m Pompey got for him.

David James recently lost his place as Bristol City keeper.

Sean Davis was hit by injury the minute he left and has barely played for Bolton.

The £20m Pompey received for Lassana Diarra was great business. Jose Mourinho appears not to want him at Real Madrid – and he is available at a knock-down £8m.

Yes, Sylvain Distin is an automatic pick at Everton and Matt Taylor had a decent spell at Bolton before moving to West Ham.

But Milan Baros? Papa Bouba Diop? John Utaka? If they have been mentioned in recent dispatches, I must have missed it.

All those players, of course, played a key part in Pompey’s Premier League and FA Cup glory years and deserve a measure of thanks for that.

But is it not also true that once the club could no longer afford their lucrative contracts, most walked away with scarcely a backward glance?

They could plead ‘not guilty’ to disloyalty by claiming hard-up Pompey had to sell them.

But there was a suspicion that their agents were rushing to get them on the first train out.

As it turned out, the grass was not nearly as green as they thought elsewhere.

Why, one or two might even be pining now for the days when they pulled on a Pompey shirt and walked out at Wembley.

It beats being sub or, worse, sitting around for a big club which doesn’t want them any more.

The one-time stars are reduced to walk-on parts now.

Which is why it warmed my heart to see old ‘King’ Kanu, scorer of Pompey’s FA Cup final winner against Cardiff, come on and score against the same opponents on Saturday.

And, of course, good old Hermann Hreidarsson is still around.