Figures may not add up to it - but fans expect promotion

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131241-16)
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131241-16)
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Mark Catlin’s Pompey budget revelations at the Football League’s AGM prompted disbelief among his peers.

But it will do little to dampen expectations among Blues supporters going into the new campaign.

The Fratton faithful, quite simply, will expect to see their side bounce out of League Two at the first attempt.

The fact their club’s budget leaves them tucked in the middle of the pack in the division’s hierarchy will not make a jot of difference.

A few key factors are perpetuating those ambitions as we move towards the players returning for the first tentative steps of pre-season training next week.

The enthusiasm generated by Pompey becoming the biggest fan-owned club in the United Kingdom is undeniably one of them.

Season ticket sales continue to flow, with the number approaching 6,000 as fans look forward to the prospect of watching a winning team down at the Park.

There’s a hope for the project among the Fratton faithful which had long dissipated in the tangled web of abuse the club suffered.

Pompey simply being Pompey perpetuates fan confidence further.

Middling budget or not, when was there last a club of the Blues’ stature in the English game’s basement division?

Bradford were seen as heavy hitters last season but you have to go back the best part of a decade to see others like Swansea, Hull and Huddersfield in the same league. Further still for Cardiff and Brighton.

The biggest factor, though, has nothing to do with Pompey’s gravitas or the feelgood factor we’ve welcomed back to PO4.

Simply looking at the business conducted by Guy Whittingham and his assistant Steve Allen in terms of recruitment gives the greatest cause for optimism.

Regardless of a budget of around £1.2m, the duo have excelled themselves in their transfer business to date.

The 13 players recruited look like forming the basis of a powerful squad in England’s fourth professional tier.

The returning squad members will be expected to have a significant impact.

None more so than the strike pairing of Patrick Agyemang and David Connolly, who offered the evidence at the end of last season they are a potent partnership.

Those who know the lower echelons of the English game expect Tom Craddock to weigh in with a healthy goal return, too.

The News’ recent series profiling our new signings also proved fascinating reading.

Fans would be forgiven from not knowing their Danny Easts from their John Sullivans but those who talked about the recruits did so in glowing terms.

The journalists who watched the players week-in, week-out last season delivered universally positive reports on their attributes.

That suggests to fans the due diligence has been carried out and some shrewd business has been undertaken.

Whittingham, as tends to be the want of managers, will do his best to temper what is expected.

He will point to the playing budget, with some justification, as reason for that.

The Blues boss has no quarrel with the money he has to play with, although a promising start and decent gates may change that and have him knocking on Catlin’s door for a few more quid.

The figures may not add up to Pompey being bookies’ favourites for the title next season.

But, as supporters digest their teams fixtures for the 2013-14 campaign, the fact is their ambitions do.