Reasons to be cheerful at the start of a new campaign once again

Pompey's new owners, Vladimir Antonov, left, and Roman Dubov
Pompey's new owners, Vladimir Antonov, left, and Roman Dubov
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The sun is shining and the football season is nearly upon us again.

It has creapt up on us through a summer of takeover talk, which Convers Sports Initiatives eventually made good on.

And it’s their arrival which has seen the feeling of optimism which traditionally greets the start of a new campaign coursing through us again.

It’s the lot of the football fan to greet the dawn of a season with the hope that great things lie ahead.

Of course, for most that will be battered into the reality their team hasn’t got a hope of major success within the next couple of months.

But, for now, we bathe in the positivity which took a sabbatical 12 months ago as this club fought for its life. That alone is a monumental reason to be cheerful.

Let’s get things right.

This is a rough, tough and unforgiving Championship terrain Pompey are about to try to negotiate.

The landscape is much, much more inhospitable than it was 12 months, ago, too.

And I’m not just talking about a trip to Smoggie Land this weekend, either.

A look at the climate Pompey will be operating in shows how hard it is going to be.

Blackpool, Birmingham and West Ham came down from the Premier League.

Birmingham have their problems but we all know £36m in parachute payments are coming.

West Ham will be powerful, Blackpool contenders and then there are the promoted teams.

Of those, Brighton aren’t planning to hang around and have sold 18,500 season tickets to boost their coffers at their new Amex Stadium home.

As much as people will not like to admit it, that lot from down the road are going to be competitive, too.

Then there’s those solid Championship contenders who were well conditioned last time around.

Cardiff, Leeds, Reading and Forest are all going to be ready to punch their weight again, and are well primed.

And that’s without taking Leicester into account, with the Foxes lurking with brooding financial menace and my shout to gain an automatic promotion slot along with the Hammers.

Pompey have been busy in the transfer market assembling a squad who can now stand toe-to-toe with their rivals.

There is still an obvious need to improve on that front.

Fifteen senior pros at the last count tells us that.

But the feeling that Steve Cotterill’s men will be competitive from the outset is the one perpetuating optimism.

Whether it will be enough to deliver cause for celebration next May, I’m not so sure.

Cotterill, though, was aiming for that last August amid all the woe, so it’s obvious how high the bar will be raised with him.

The team is now being shaped in his image – a selection of hardy Championship leaders with a smattering of hungry young pros.

It’s the prospect of the star and crescent being done justice by these men, rather the expectation of honours, which has us looking forward to what lies ahead.