Black Friday: Portsmouth's 10 best bargains since the US tradition made its way over to Britain

Anyone who’s checked their emails this week will know today is Black Friday.

Friday, 29th November 2019, 12:00 pm

Inboxes have been peppered with special offers to try to coax consumers into buying goods at a cut-price. Television advert breaks the same.

Since Walmart-owned supermarket ASDA brought the US tradition to Britain six years ago, its become mainstream.

Everyone loves a bargain – and it's the same in football. Sometimes a free transfer proves just as good as splashing the cash on a big-money purchase.

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And when they do pay off, they’re always that bit more satisfying.

So since the American trend made its way across the Atlantic in 2013, we’ve had a look at who Pompey’s 10 best discount signings have been during that period...

Enda Stevens

The left-back joined Pompey on a free transfer in June 2015 after being released by Aston Villa.

From left: Ronan Curtis, Matt Clarke and Gareth Evans.

Stevens enjoyed two superb seasons at Fratton Park and his attacking displays made him a fans’ favourite.

The Irishman scored one goal in 99 appearances and he was an indispensable member of the League Two title-winning side in 2017, as well as being named The News/ Sports Mail Player of the Season.

Christian Burgess

Moved to Pompey from Peterborough in June 2015 during Paul Cook's first summer in charge.

The Blues paid £150,000 for the centre-back and they’ve certainly got their money’s worth out of him.

Burgess has made 185 outings and netted eight goals during his four-and-a-half years on the south coast.

He was a regular in the team that clinched the League Two crown, while he’s started 19 of his 20 games this term.

Gareth Evans

Turned up on the south coast as a triallist in the summer of 2015 after leaving Fleetwood.

Evans was eventually given a Pompey deal after considering walking away from the club while he was still a free agent.

The midfielder has etched himself into the Fratton Park history books.

He scored in both the League Two promotion-winning game at Notts County and in the 6-1 routing of Cheltenham which delivered the Blues the title.

Evans penned a new two-year deal in February and reached the 200-appearance mark at AFC Wimbledon last month.

Michael Doyle

Joined Pompey in July 2015 after departing Sheffield United and was appointed club captain.

He was the linchpin of Paul Cook’s side, giving the middle of the park bite and nastiness.

Doyle led by example on and off the field and was the man who lifted the League Two title aloft.

He left at the end of that season, however, and rejoined Coventry having made 96 appearances and netted three goals.

The Irishman was also named The News/ Sports Mail Player of the Season in 2016.

Matt Clarke

Probably the best bargain of the lot – and quite possibly will be for a long time.

After spending 2015-16 on loan from Ipswich, Clarke made his switch to Fratton Park permanent as a makeweight for Adam Webster moving the opposite direction.

The centre-back was key when Paul Cook’s men won the fourth tier and continued his rapid progress under Kenny Jackett.

Clarke inevitably departed during the summer following 175 appearances and nine goals, after he was named The News/ Sports Mail Player of the Season and named in the League One Team of the Season.

Jamal Lowe

The winger put pen to paper with the Blues in October 2016 joining for an undisclosed fee after shining for non-league Hampton & Richmond.

Despite Eastleigh outbidding Pompey, it was Fratton Park where Lowe moved to.

The ex-Barnet man would make hurtling progress on the south coast. His brace earned the Blues promotion from League Two at Notts County, while he also netted against Cheltenham.

Under Kenny Jackett, Lowe became a regular starter and finished as last season’s 17-goal top scorer and was named in the League One Team of the Season

Pompey’s failure to reach the Championship meant he left during the summer, though, eventually moving to Wigan after a protracted transfer saga.

Nathan Thompson

The defender was Kenny Jackett’s first signing, although the legwork had been done by Paul Cook before he left to take charge of Wigan.

He arrived on a free in June 2017 after turning down a new deal with Swindon.

Thompson’s whole-hearted displays, penchant of winning free-kicks with his trademark flop and general s***housery meant he was popular among supporters.

He netted the equaliser in Pompey’s Checkatrade Trophy triumph against Sunderland last term – his only goal for the club in 78 outings.

Although he left on a sour note during the summer after rejecting a new contract and signing for Peterborough having wanted a move to the Championship, he still proved a good deal overall.

Ronan Curtis

He was a name no-one had even heard of when reports emerged Pompey were interested in him.

But now Curtis is recognised as one of the most exciting wingers in League One.

The London-born ace was unearthed from Derry City and signed for a fee believed to be around £100,000 in May 2018.

Curtis enjoyed a fine maiden Football League campaign, netting 12 goals in 49 appearances.

Craig MacGillivray

Another unknown quantity when he was recruited in June 2018.

The keeper had just 20 Football League appearances to his name after being No2 at Walsall and Shrewsbury.

He’s featured 75 times, with his form earning him a breakthrough into the Scotland set-up.

Tom Naylor

The midfielder enforcer had a host of clubs chasing him when he decided to leave Burton following their relegation from the Championship in 2018.

Sunderland were interested in Naylor but he opted for Fratton Park and penned a three-year deal.

He’s been a superb signing, adding bite and nous in the engine room.

Naylor was named Players’ Player of the Season last term, while he was made club captain just weeks into this season.

In total, he’s bagged five times in 74 matches for the Blues.