COMMENT: Get ready to ride again on the Pompey rollercoaster

For all football fans, whether you support Real Madrid or Gosport Borough, there is nothing like the start of a new season, nothing like the air of anticipation which hangs in the air prior to the first ball being kicked in anger.

The pitches never look greener than on the day the curtain rises on another nine months aboard the emotional rollercoaster which is perennially the life of most supporters.

For some, the fevered expectations felt today will '“ come next April and May '“ be realised with promotions and titles. For many, though, the feelings at 2.59pm today '“ the opening day of the 2018/19 Football League season '“ will be as good as it gets until this time next year.

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At Fratton Park, 14,000 season tickets have been sold and most of their owners will expect a serious push for promotion in Kenny Jackett's second season in charge.

The bookies have installed Pompey as third favourites for the title behind fallen giants Sunderland and Barnsley, and how often are the bookies wrong? Well, quite often as it turns out. The odds-layers also have today's Fratton Park opponents Luton as fourth favourites, so three points against the Hatters will no doubt further raise hopes and expectations of a second promotion in three seasons.

Pompey slipped from the top tier of English football to the fourth in very quick time, and the climb back up is taking a little longer than some would like or expect.

But Jackett acted quickly this summer to bring in a host of new signings to join a squad that finished two places and five points off the play-offs last term in a bid to reclaim Championship status for the first time since 2012.

A play-off place '“ ie, the top six - is almost certainly the minimum requirement in 2018/19. So over to you, Kenny and co ...