Knight: Pompey professional to the end despite partying

Mick Quinn scored in the 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United on the final day of the 1986-87 as the Blues missed out on winning the title
Mick Quinn scored in the 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United on the final day of the 1986-87 as the Blues missed out on winning the title
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Sarah Standing (170841)

Pompey encouraged by player interest

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From experience, it is very easy to sit back on your laurels a little once promotion has been secured.

Not intentionally, of course, but it can happen – especially having celebrated aplenty!

So full respect to Paul Cook and his side who stayed professional and focused to pull off a really good win over Cambridge United.

Victory was thoroughly deserved. In fact, the scoreline could have been greater than the 2-1 result.

Back in 1986-87, I was part of the Alan Ball side promoted to Division One when not even playing.

Oldham lost to Shrewsbury in the week – and how we celebrated around Kenny Swain’s Denmead home!

Our final match of the season was at home to Sheffield United – and we never trained ahead of it.

No wonder we lost 2-1, although Mick Quinn did give us a first-half lead.

For us it was utter relief after missing out in agonising circumstances the previous two seasons.

We were more or less the same group of players, so promotion meant the world.

We didn’t realise it at the time, but going up split us – success changes things.

Pompey needed investment and Bally wasn’t given that backing by John Deacon, so it turned into a nightmare. We were relegated back after a season.

We could have taken the Division Two title in that final match against Sheffield United and it was a real party atmosphere – but had celebrated a little too heavily.

Bally had been having the biggest party of everyone, while we spent all of one day drinking in the Pompey pub. It was just about total relief.

So it puts into perspective the achievement of Cook’s side to win against Cambridge on Saturday.

I read afterwards that Shaun Derry thought his team were unlucky not to get anything, but I was very disappointed in them.

That’s not taking anything away from our lads, of course, the Blues deserved the win, no question of that.

With 25 points from a possible 30 since Crewe, suddenly it has opened things up within League Two.

There is the title still up for grabs, while I would love us to beat Plymouth for second spot.

It will be interesting if the manager gives a few others a run out, just as he did Stanley Aborah and Nicke Kabamba.

Aborah was fantastic against the U’s, economical with the ball, with some of his pass defence-splitting.

It was difficult for Kabamba in that lone striker role, but I thought he did okay.

Now it’s onto Mansfield as Pompey continue to remain focused.