Appy’s the man to rebuild Blues’ fortunes

Michael Appleton thanks the Fratton faithful for their support
Michael Appleton thanks the Fratton faithful for their support

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Relegation hurts, but comes as no shock and gives Pompey a chance to make a new start.

Of course, so much hinges on the administrator Trevor Birch finding a new buyer and a way of avoiding liquidation.

There seems sure to be a fire-sale – yes, another one – at Fratton Park to convert the better players into hard cash.

Not many of this season’s squad will be around in League One next term.

Captain Jason Pearce has, by some distance in my eyes, been Pompey’s player of the season and deserves his anticipated move to Leeds United.

He is too good for the lower divisions and it would have been unrealistic for him to stay, much as his heart is clearly true blue.

So assuming the club can be saved, what will happen next?

Michael Appleton has to stay. He is a promising young manager who already has a plan to take the club forward.

With money tight, his eye for a player and judgment will be crucial in making sure what little cash is available is spent wisely.

There is evidence already that the boss is a shrewd judge, because he picked out four excellent loan signings in Chris Maguire, Scott Allan, George Thorne and Karim Rekik.

Without the points deduction, the form of those players would have helped to keep Pompey in the Championship.

The deduction?

Rules are rules but, in reality, it is hard to see how the club with the smallest squad in the division gained an advantage worth 10 points.

It would seem that Appleton already has several new players in mind.

Of necessity, those potential signings must be uncut diamonds, hungry players who can come cheap and provide value for money.

They will be men perhaps rejected, released or unrated by their present clubs, but who Appleton feels have untapped potential.

Pompey already have kids like Ashley Harris, Sam Magri, and Adam Webster who might well get their big chance next season – if not on Saturday at Nottingham Forest.

It is all a far cry from the heady days of Wembley and the Premier League.

But I am old enough to remember some wonderfully-exciting Pompey campaigns in the lower divisions.

And the club have always found a way back.

Standing on the pitch at Northampton with 8,000 Blues fans celebrating Pompey’s promotion from division four in 1980 is a memory to cherish.

But this has been a torrid and agonising season for anyone who loves the club.

It cannot end quickly enough.

With some better news soon from Birch, Pompey will be back.