Norwich loanee Gassan Ahadme earns 23-year-old Portsmouth record amid scintillating goalscoring pre-season
Not since John Aloisi has a Pompey player plundered goals so prolifically during a pre-season.
Yet, 23 years on from the Australian’s remarkable feat, Gassan Ahadme is threatening to surpass him.
The Norwich striker has rattled in eight goals from four appearances after bursting onto the Blues scene.
It’s a stunning haul from the 20-year-old, whose exploits have unsurprisingly earned a season-long loan at Fratton Park.
Since Aloisi in the summer of 1998, no Pompey player netted as many times during a pre-season schedule.
Although the former Australian international’s outstanding return of 11 goals from nine fixtures still puts him clear of Ahadme.
Nonetheless, the Moroccan has potentially at least two more games to beat that tally, with matches against Chelsea under-23s (Tuesday) and Peterborough (Saturday, July 31).
In addition, there’s a Pompey fixture against Bournemouth under-21s on August 3, although that is not likely to involve first-team contenders.
Aloisi’s pre-season tally of 11 goals was even more remarkable considering it came off the back of Alan Ball declaring he would not be in his Blues first-team and wanted to replace him.
The striker shrugged off that bombshell to register in seven different friendlies, while bagged a first-half hat-trick in a 7-0 triumph at Irish side Monaghan United.
Unsurprisingly, Aloisi forced his way into Ball’s plans and, by December 1998, was sold to Coventry in a cut-price £690,000 deal which kept financially-stricken Pompey alive a little longer.
Since that summer, notable pre-season hauls include five from Guy Whittingham (1999), Peter Crouch (2001), Yakubu (2004) and Lomana Lualua (2007).
In 2008, Jermain Defoe scored six in eight appearances, in addition to netting his penalty in the Community Shield shoot-out defeat to Manchester United at Wembley.
Curiously, in 2012, there were eight joint-top scorers in pre-season – all with one goal.
They were Dan Thompson, Izale McLeod, Kieran Djilali, Liam Lawrence, Ashley Harris, Luke Rodgers, Liam Walker and Jack Compton.
There was another quirk in 2017, when Nicke Kabamba led the scoring with seven goals, albeit with five of them arriving in one game against Newport Isle of Wight.
Until Ahadme arrived on the scene, Brett Pitman had scored the most during pre-season since Aloisi.
That was in 2019, when the Blues skipper bagged seven in six matches, including a hat-trick at Irish side UCD in an 11-0 victory.
Now Ahadme is the closest to Aloisi – and there’s still time to add to his superb eight goals.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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