Pompey boss feared there would be no KC Stadium return

Pompey fans had to sit and fear the worst at the KC Stadium last season
Pompey fans had to sit and fear the worst at the KC Stadium last season
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Steve Cotterill reflected on Pompey’s Hull return and admitted: We feared we wouldn’t be back.

Last season, the KC Stadium was the setting for potentially the last-ever match for Portsmouth Football Club.

It was on October 22, 2010, when a club statement claimed the Blues were on the verge of being liquidated.

That was the Friday night before Cotterill’s men were to face Hull in Championship action.

The liquidation threat was the dramatic end-game during financial wrangling between former owner Sacha Gaydamak and Portpin, who were in control of the club at the time.

As the drama unfolded, management and players joined fans in fearing Pompey could fold following their Tigers clash.

Yet the Blues somehow shrugged off the concerns to pull off a 2-1 triumph, with David Nugent and Greg Halford both scoring.

Tomorrow, they return to Hull to face Nigel Pearson’s side.

This time, it is a Pompey with new owners, a revamped squad and renewed hope.

Like the fans, though, Cotterill still bears the scars of last season’s scare.

He said: ‘To think there might not be a football club the following day, that was unbelievable.

‘I remember addressing the players around dinner time and said if anyone wanted to go home they could because I needed to give them that option.

‘If there wasn’t going to be a club, there wasn’t going to be any contracts.

‘The players then had to consider injuries because they would have their careers to think about.

‘But, to be fair, not one of them ducked it. They were fully committed.

‘For us, though, it wasn’t just about Portsmouth Football Club. There was football that had to be upheld.

‘Whether we were going to get paid or not, we had to play the game. If not, not only would we have messed up our own club but messed up every other club.

‘There was Hull City with a paying public going to the game, the league tables, the football pools and God knows whatever else.

‘That one had to be played, for sure, for football’s sake.

‘It wasn’t difficult to focus once you are there at the ground at 2pm or are on your way on the bus.

‘The hard part was probably 5.50pm on the Friday night when the news is rolling around Sky that we are about to fold.

‘That was on our minds through the evening meal, through the presentation we do on teams when we are away from home, through the night and maybe the following morning.

‘You go through some tough times in your career – and that was one.’

It is a very different Pompey which will tomorrow take on Hull.

Convers Sports Initiatives have provided crucial investment and stability.

And for Cotterill, the difference is immense.

He added: ‘Thankfully, we are a lot stronger now.

‘There were some tough times last year but we are still here.

‘It has taken a lot of hard work to get us into this shape.’