After 15 games, are Pompey on course for success?

Pompey fans line the streets to toast Alan Ball's 1987 promotion heroes

Pompey fans line the streets to toast Alan Ball's 1987 promotion heroes

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Paul Cook’s Pompey class of 2015 are just one point behind Alan Ball’s 1987 promotion heroes at the 15-game mark in the season.

While most accept that the Blues have made an encouraging start to the campaign and are flying high in second place in the table, there have been a few critics – especially of the club’s patchy home form.

But before the trip to Notts County, Cook’s men have notched up 28 points from their first 15 games with seven wins, seven draws and just one defeat.

Ball’s team, which went on to secure runners-up spot in the old second division with a points haul of 78 from 42 games, had a very similar start to the campaign with eight wins, five draws and two defeats to reach the 29-point mark at the same stage.

With Ball at the helm, the team had actually got off to better starts in the previous two seasons but eventually missed out on promotion in the days before the safety net of the play-offs when there were three straight automatic promotion places up for grabs.

In 1984-85, Pompey rattled off nine wins, four draws and two defeats to clock up 31 points at the same stage and were in second place.

But they missed out by finishing fourth with a total of 74 points from 42 games.

The following season, it was an even better opening to the campaign as they raced to 35 points from 15 games with 11 wins, two draws and two losses.

But their early form – that included seven straight home wins and saw them top of the table by eight points at that point in the season – fell away and it was another fourth-place finish with 73 points.

Interestingly, Bobby Campbell’s 1982-83 division three champions were actually one point worse off from their opening 15 games and were in fifth place at the same point in the season.

They started the campaign with eight wins, three draws and four defeats.

But they went on to take the title with 91 points as Alan Biley ended the season as top goalscorer with 23 league goals, while Neil Webb burst on to the scene.

Under Jim Smith in 1992-93, Pompey’s early form was only good enough for 10th place with 22 points from their first 15 games.

But they then embarked on a long unbeaten run and hit a rich vein of form late in the season that so nearly took them to automatic promotion, only to lose out in the play-offs.

Harry Redknapp’s division one winners of 2002-03 went on to achieve a huge 98 points in the season, losing just six games overall.

They had already stormed to 38 points from their first 15 games with 12 wins, two draws and just one defeat and maintained that sort of form over the course of a memorable campaign.

Meanwhile, Cook’s record overshadows Andy Awford’s at the same point last term.

Awford’s side were eight points worse off after 15 games with five wins, five draws and five losses as the club eventually finished 16th in League Two.

At this point in the season, it bodes well.

But as Cook will point out, there’s a long way to go before we know how this season will pan out.

Selected seasons after 15 games (including end of the season points tally and finishing position)

1982-83 – 27pts, 5th place (91pts, 1st)

1984-85 – 31pts, 2nd place (74pts, 4th)

1985-86 – 35pts, 1st place (73pts, 4th)

1986-87 – 29pts, 2nd place (78pts, 2nd)

1992-93 – 22pts, 10th place (88pts, 3rd)

2002-03 – 38, 1st place (98pts, 1st)

2006-07 – 24, 3rd place (54pts, 9th)

2007-08 – 27, 6th (57pts, 8th)

2014-15 – 20, 13th (57pts, 16th)

2015-16 – 28, 2nd

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