On this day - Andy O'Brien: Just like at Newcastle, vicious Portsmouth critics bring us together
On this day in 2005, Andy O’Brien thought there were a few people who had it in for Pompey.
But did it bother him? Not one bit.
Anyone who had spent five seasons at Newcastle was going to know a bit about being in the spotlight and controversy.
O’Brien saw his former club come in for plenty of flak as talk of player revolts, training-ground bust-ups and partying players circulated regularly.
The then 26-year-old thought the stories reached the point where they were just being written because it was popular to knock Newcastle.
And he believed similar things were developing at Pompey back in 2005.
An outdated stadium, basic training facilities, a multi-national squad and foreign boss who was still learning English had all been targeted for attack that season.
But when O’Brien saw people totally unjustifiably coming in for flak it made his blood boil.
He told The News at the time: ‘The results aren’t going that well so people want to stir things.
‘I had a lot of experience at Newcastle of situations with individuals being blown up.
‘It’s happening here, too.
‘We have a hard-working guy here who helps set up the training sessions and takes out all the balls, cones and plastic men everyday.
‘There was a report recently which had a go at him and was totally wrong.
‘That explains it all as far as I am concerned. Some people can’t pick the bones out of a football situation.
‘People will manipulate the fact the training ground’s not painted and the facilities aren’t world class.
‘You have to take it all with a pinch of salt and realise the situation we are in.
‘To pick on one employee who helps set up training is comical really.
‘We know we’ve got to stick together.
‘I wouldn’t call it a difficult time we are going through because the performances and number of chances we are producing show we are not making up the numbers in this league.’
The first two months of the 2006-06 season had provided the kind of ups and downs typical with Pompey.
There had been more low ebbs than high points, but O’Brien insisted an inspection of the team’s performances showed there was nothing to be concerned about.
He added: ‘The mood’s okay.
‘When you analyse the games, the cup result at Gillingham was not good and the first half against West Brom was poor.
‘Apart from that we have created chances in games and had opportunities to win.
‘I just think it’s a matter of time before we get some luck and start picking up results.
‘You can’t keep going on about luck, though.
‘The thing is we’re not coming out of games thinking “Thank god we lost by only one goal”.
‘There’s frustration that we didn’t get results against Birmingham, Aston Villa and Bolton, but we take heart from the fact we expect results against them.’