Table-topping Portsmouth end 15-and-a-half-year wait

0
Have your say

Pompey have retained top spot during a Football League season – for the first time in 15-and-a-half years.

Kenny Jackett’s side head into Saturday’s visit of Gillingham having led League One since the previous weekend.

Svetoslav Todorov celebrates Pompey promotion in the 2002-03 title-winning campaign

Svetoslav Todorov celebrates Pompey promotion in the 2002-03 title-winning campaign

It represents a standing spanning successive fixtures, following Tuesday night’s 1-0 triumph at Coventry.

And not since the 2002-03 Division One title-winning campaign have Pompey maintained the leadership of any division.

Despite briefly topping the Premier League on two occasions and seizing the League Two crown on the final day, it has taken 15-and-a-half years to occur again.

The Blues, of course, captured the League Two title under Paul Cook in 2016-17.

However, they didn’t rise to the top of the table until the final 32 minutes of the season, claiming silverware in the most dramatic of circumstances against Cheltenham.

Up until that point, Cook’s side had briefly been positioned in second place on two occasions – in September 2016 of that campaign.

In terms of keeping a presence at the summit over successive fixtures, it never happened.

Contrast that to 2002-03, when Harry Redknapp’s side basked in first place from August 26, 2002, following a 1-0 victory at Grimsby.

There was a blip when a 2-1 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in April 2003 allowed Leicester to take over.

Yet 72 hours later, Svetoslav Todorov scored against Burnley in Pompey’s game in hand – earning them promotion and reclaiming top spot.

The Blues were crowned champions on April 27, 2003, following a 3-2 win over Rotherham at Fratton Park.

The following season, on August 26, 2003, a 4-0 victory over Bolton on a Tuesday evening lifted the Blues to the top of the Premier League, just three matches into the campaign.

However, the Saturday’s goalless draw at Wolves ensured they swiftly dropped to third.

Redknapp’s side never scaled such heights again during that 2003-04 campaign, subsequently finishing 13th during their maiden year back in the top flight.

The second – and final time – Pompey topped the Premier League arrived in September 16, 2006.

Lomana Lualua netted in a 1-0 triumph at Charlton, ensuring a fourth win in the opening five matches of the 2006-07 season.

The following Saturday, a 1-0 Fratton Park defeat to Bolton saw Redknapp’s side fall to third. They finished the campaign in ninth.

Now Jackett’s side top the pile in League One following an unbroken 11-match start – and they’ll be hoping to remain there over the season’s entirety.