Pompey players look emotionally drained

Pompey's players show their frustration against Brighton
Pompey's players show their frustration against Brighton
Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

VERITY LUSH: Leave me to browse the make-up counter in peace

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Pompey are stuck in a kind of twilight zone where results hardly seem to matter.

Only the survival of the club counts now.

Even probable relegation to League One has become a side issue, making defeats seem almost pain free.

Yet even with senses numbed by endless disappointment, the brilliant fans still sing.

Impossible to believe that the air of chaos and hopelessness has not affected the players.

Professional pride dictates that they will fight for every point and be endlessly optimistic in interviews.

But this, frankly, sickening season must have left some of them emotionally drained.

With 10 points deducted and a squad forcibly robbed of too many key men, manager Michael Appleton does not have the fire-power to win matches.

Saturday’s home match against fellow strugglers Bristol City may, realistically, be a last chance to start a revival.

But I watched the recent games against Ipswich, Leeds and Reading, and on that evidence it is hard to see where the required points might come from.

Relegation is beginning to look a near-certainty for a team who, while giving most sides a good fight, never look like scoring.

Most players are on money the club cannot afford and know they might be loaned out at any moment, or sold in the summer.

If Pompey survive somehow, a wage ceiling of something like £2,500 per week for each player may have to be imposed.

Youngsters like Adam Webster and Sam Magri, plus a few rejects and hungry wannabes would be the backbone of a new Pompey .

How the club must be wishing they had hung on to Gosport boy Matt Ritchie, right, now of Swindon, and just voted League Two Player of the Year.

In a previous financial crisis in the 1970s, Pompey were forced to blood a young centre half called Steve Foster who went on to play for England.

Back then, the club slipped into the old division four and eventually climbed all the way back, which is why mere relegation this season would not be the end of the world.

I can’t go along with those who are pushing for Pompey to be liquidated and reformed in the Blue Square Bet South as AFC Portsmouth.

It is a long way back from there, with no guarantees of success.

If there is no buyer, Pompey may have no choice .

But it should be a last resort.

Better to try everything and anything to stay in the Football League and buy some time.

League One may feel like the promised land compared to the grisly alternatives.