Maybe we’ve been spoiled but this was a disaster

Jermain Defoe on his first day at Pompey
Jermain Defoe on his first day at Pompey

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Truth be told, Pompey fans have been spoiled by the transfer window.

Admittedly not in the last one but, overall, Fratton Park has often been the busiest of places on transfer deadline day.

Perhaps that’s what made January 2011 such an unmitigated disaster in the eyes of most.

Although maybe not joint-owners Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir, whose hesitation to invest has prompted such a backlash.

This football club has become accustomed to its flurry of deadline-day activity.

And now, when Pompey really needed a major influx of players most, nothing happened.

There can be no excuses, it is simply not good enough.

The result is the smallest squad in the Football League remaining the smallest squad in the Football League.

That and the fact Pompey were one of only three Championship clubs who failed to recruit a single permanent signing during the transfer window.

A stark contrast to those heady days.

It was just three years ago when Jermain Defoe arrived on the south coast within an hour of the January transfer window closing.

Sky cameras captured the moment as he scurried down Frogmore Road, released a few platitudes and then jumped into a waiting car.

No grand unveiling but it was headline news in English football and a reminder of Pompey’s spending power under Sacha Gaydamak.

Of course, Defoe wasn’t the only one to arrive in January 2008.

A certain Lassana Diarra had signed a week or so before the striker following a frustrating spell at Arsenal.

Pompey was his third club in a season, having previously been on Chelsea’s books.

Diarra went on to become one of the greatest-ever midfielders the Blues fans have seen in modern times and 18 months later moved on to Real Madrid.

There were also two loan signings during that window – Milan Baros and Lucien Aubey. The former, unquestionably, was a major name who had seen service with Liverpool and arrived via Lyon.

Ultimately, he failed to score in 16 Pompey matches and the option of a permanent deal was never taken up.

He did, however, appear as a substitute in the Wembley final, yet never took part in victory celebrations the following day having already returned home.

Then there was Aubey, the Lens defender who arrived on loan until the end of the season but made just the three appearances.

His only start in an unconvincing spell came in a 2-0 defeat at Spurs.

We also must not forget the arrival of a promising starlet by the name of Danijel Subotic. Well that is what we were told, although there can be no doubting his name.

He landed at Fratton Park on a three-and-a-half-year deal from FC Basel and a wage packet of a reported £3,000-a-week.

Subotic was shown the door earlier this season, his contract cancelled by mutual consent after he failed to impress. Such had been his woeful impact at Pompey, he barely even featured for the reserves and was not rated by a succession of coaches.

Mind you, Pompey fans would welcome his arrival now. Anyone’s arrival, more to the point.

Obviously, as Gaydamak pulled the plug on the finances, there followed a dip in transfer deadline dealings.

Still, under Tony Adams there were dealings in the January 2009 window.

Nadir Belhadj’s loan spell was turned into a permanent £4.4m deal having impressed since his summer arrival.

The Algeria international had caught the eye with some exhilarating displays down the left flank and he was to stay until last summer.

There was also the recruitment of Hayden Mullins from West Ham, a player described rather unflatteringly by Adams as ‘a dog’.

After failing to win over the fans initially, the midfielder has gone on to establish himself as a key performer this season.

Then there was Angelos Basinas, a long-standing target for a succession of Pompey managers over the years.

He didn’t shine, however, making a mere 20 appearances in his one-and-a-half years before being released last summer.

Finally, Pele came on loan. He played one reserve match and returned back to Portugal at the end of the season.

Rumour has it Adams didn’t have a say in any of those signings, despite his position as manager.

After handing over a wish list to Peter Storrie, he was allegedly told he couldn’t have any of them and, instead, the then-chief executive did the wheeling and dealing.

Not that Adams lasted much longer, regardless of who brought them in. He was sacked five days after the transfer window shut.

Last season, finances were even tighter, which might explain why nobody arrived at all.

Although, admittedly, it was actually down to a registration embargo which had been in place since the previous October.

At the time, Pompey’s director of spin glibly claimed it would be lifted in days and was nothing to worry about.

Well, it was finally removed permanently more than a year later on October 23.

So here we are then, waving goodbye to the January 2011 transfer window with no registration embargo to restrict the manager and joint-owners we are told want to stabilise the club.

Yet nobody arrived on a permanent deal. Not even a Subotic or Basinas.

For Steve Cotterill, his mission impossible continues as he looks to wring every last drop out of his threadbare squad.

Sadly, there has been no help from the owners. Don’t expect it when the emergency loan window opens on Monday, either.

Have Pompey fans been spoiled by the January transfer window over the years? Probably.

But one thing is for sure – they definitely deserve better than what was delivered last month.