Number was not up for Pompey

Nadir Belhadj
Nadir Belhadj
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They sat with their dabbers poised.

Sadly, though, on this occasion no numbers were to be marked off.

While West Ham were busily proclaiming ‘house’ at every opportunity, many of their rivals were merely spectators.

Especially Pompey.

This week saw the return of transfer deadline day bingo.

Bumper pay outs and promises of riches awaited all those eager participants.

Yet for once, just once, the Blues emerged from the proceedings empty handed.

Others gambled and gambolled on Wednesday in what has become the traditional last-gasp thrill ride.

In contrast, Pompey steadfastly remained in their seats.

In a transfer window that has witnessed no fewer than 10 new arrivals at Fratton Park, it would be harsh to criticise the current regime.

For the first time in two years, in CSI the club possesses owners interested in investing into the playing personnel.

But the lack of transfer activity on deadline day is something Pompey fans are not used to.

Even after Harry Redknapp had long gone, it had still proven to be a fruitful 24 hours.

Then came Wednesday and its tumbleweed scenario down Fratton way.

For Pompey, it was their quietest transfer window deadline since the concept was introduced back in 2003.

That goes some way towards interpreting general feelings of disappointment among supporters towards Wednesday’s no show.

Even when Steve Cotterill declared earlier in the day that he didn’t expect anyone to sign, fans refused to be despondent.

There remained hopes to cling onto, reasons presented to still follow Sky Sports and The News’ web chat.

In the end, nothing.

Jed Wallace did arrive from Lewes, yet the formalities were completed in the days leading up to the deadline.

That left a big, fat zero in terms of transfer activity on Wednesday, August 31.

Of course, Pompey more than most have been key performers on deadline days of the past.

Even when the club was in meltdown and spiralling towards administration back in September 2009, they managed to retain an interest.

With Peter Storrie as chief executive, Paul Hart had already signed Tommy Smith, Prince Boateng and Michael Brown in the final remaining days.

That wasn’t enough, though.

In the final 24 hours, on September 1, 2009, Mike Williamson and Tal Ben Haim also arrived.

They were accompanied by Hassan Yebda landing on a season-long loan from Benfica.

They were recruits brought to Fratton Park on the back of new owner Sulaiman Al Fahim’s promises of riches.

Unfortunately they merely assisted in nudging the club over the cliff.

To complete a busy day, Niko Kranjcar was sold to Spurs while David Nugent, Matt Ritchie and Tom Kilbey were loaned out.

Ironically, Kranjcar had arrived at Pompey in the first place on transfer deadline day.

That was back on August 31, 2006, on a mixed day for Redknapp.

Unquestionably, the Croatian international would go on to become an inspired signing and a key component of the 2008 FA Cup-winning side.

Sadly Andy Cole and Rudolphe Douala would be rather less successful after arriving on the same day.

Cole would only make nine starts during an injury-hampered spell which saw him depart a year later.

Douala, on a season-long loan from Sporting GP, would make the one start.

Sealing the day’s transfer action, a certain Svetoslav Todorov was loaned out to Wigan.

The Fratton hero would ultimately make one more appearance for Pompey before bidding farewell forever.

Talking of sad goodbyes, on the August 31, 2007, deadline two great Blues servants were shown the door.

Gary O’Neil and Dejan Stefanovic had to be dragged away from Fratton Park kicking and screaming.

Nonetheless, it had been decreed by others their times were up.

O’Neil headed off to Middlesbrough, while Stefanovic joined Fulham.

There was good news, though, with Glen Johnson and Papa Bouba Diop walking in while the doors were still swinging.

Johnson, who had already been on loan for a season, joined permanently and established himself as one of the club’s finest post-war right backs.

Diop had a penchant for taking an easy tumble and errant shooting.

However, he was a steady performer and another involved in that 2008 FA Cup run.

From transfer deadline day successes to failures.

On August 31, 2005, Alain Perrin was busily recruiting for the campaign ahead.

The previous day, Zvonimir Vukic joined on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Yet he saved his best until last with Dario Silva, Salif Daio and Franck Songo’o arriving in the final few hours of the window.

Silva never saw out the season, while Daio endured an injury-ravaged stay. Songo’o would make just four substitute appearances during three fruitless years.

Still, at least on that very same day Perrin managed to shift a certain Aleksandar Rodic out on loan.

Last year, Dave Kitson, Liam Lawrence and £2m arrived from Stoke on deadline day in an excellent piece of business.

Going the other way was Marc Wilson, while Tommy Smith made the switch to QPR.

Continuing the trip down memory lane, anyone remember Valery Mezague? He arrived on August 31, 2004.

Meanwhile, Nadir Belhadj was the swoop on September 1, 2008.

Initially a loan, that was made permanent in the January transfer window after impressing.

Then it is back to when it all began – September 1, 2003.

Pavel Srnicek and Jason Roberts were Pompey’s first-ever deadline day signings.

In addition, Yoshi Kawaguchi was shipped out after just under two disastrous years.

That’s the transfer deadline for you, things seem to happen for Pompey. Never a quiet finale.

That was until Wednesday.