From despair to elation - How 10 days have transformed Portsmouth expectations and dismissed relegation predictions

The metaphorical tumbleweeds could be glimpsed cartwheeling through Pompey’s newly-purchased training ground.

By Neil Allen
Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 5:00 pm
It had been an agonising wait, but four signings in 10 days have transformed Pompey optimism for the season ahead. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages/PinP
It had been an agonising wait, but four signings in 10 days have transformed Pompey optimism for the season ahead. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages/PinP

Not all were lapping up the grand announcement that the Blues now owned their training home. After all, where were the players to occupy such premises?

Granted, teenager Liam Vincent had arrived, albeit stoking growing hysteria that Danny Cowley was solely training his sights on the non-league market.

While Haji Mnoga’s 12-month clause was activated to prolong his Fratton Park stay, although nobody could possibly have anticipated a different outcome.

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Oh and Jayden Stockley. Then again, perhaps let’s leave that particularly disappointing episode buried in the past.

Still, that was your lot. One newcomer from Bromley in 44 agonising days since Pompey’s League One season ended in such abject circumstances against Accrington.

Then, suddenly, four in 10 days.

A dramatic burst of new signings, a flurry of fresh faces to transform sagging spirits and dismiss gloomy predictions among those claiming a relegation campaign was lying in wait.

How swiftly expectations can be readdressed. That’s all it took – transfer arrivals.

Incidentally, none of which have emanated from the non-league game. Instead three from the Championship and one from the Premier League.

Perhaps Vincent really was one for the future rather than paving the way for likewise non-league folk to form the foundations of a League One team. Who knew?

Still, Clark Robertson, Shaun Williams, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Gavin Bazunu bolster playing numbers to a more encouraging 17.

More recruits are desperately required, including another centre-half, several central-midfield options, an additional goalkeeper, two more strikers, a number 10 and maybe a couple more full-backs.

That doesn’t even take into account potential exits for Ronan Curtis and Michael Jacobs, while at one stage Ellis Harrison was heading for Oxford United.

There can be no winding down of Cowley’s activity in the transfer market, despite the recent sprint for signings. The finishing line has yet to be glimpsed, keep on running.

Nonetheless, Pompey have now got off the mark during a transfer window widely regarded by those within the game as barely possessing a pulse.

This is no malaise exclusively afflicting Fratton Park, clubs across the country are being impacted. Rarely have managers, chief executives, players and agents been as unified in that belief.

So here we are, four signings inside 10 days, with Pompey’s pre-season kicking off next weekend against the Hawks.

Admittedly, triallists may feature, but since when has that ever been an accurate gauge of transfer failings and inability to recruit?

Amdy Faye, Gareth Evans, Ben Davies, Matt Clarke, Amine Linganzi and Noel Hunt had to start somewhere.

Anyhow, let’s not worry, there’s a whole week to go until then.

Who knows, there may be another explosion of transfer activity at Fratton Park before Saturday, July 10.

As we have already seen, the lurch from despair to exhilaration can be dictated by a single signature.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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