On this day: Benjani backed to be part of Portsmouth revolution... age just a number for Doyle

Benjani was backed to be part of Pompey's revolution. Picture: Steve Reid
Benjani was backed to be part of Pompey's revolution. Picture: Steve Reid
Share this article
0
Have your say

We take a look back at some of the Pompey stories that were making the back pages of The News on this day...

Benjani backed to be part of the Fratton revolution (2006)

Peter Crouch was closing in on his expected Pompey move on this day in 2008.

Peter Crouch was closing in on his expected Pompey move on this day in 2008.

Harry Redknapp backed Benjani Mwaruwari to play a big part in Pompey’s revolution.

Despite the imminent arrival of Jefferson Farfan, Redknapp expected Benjani to play a key role for the 2006-07 season.

Pompey’s strengthening plans heightened speculation about Benjani’s future.

The Blues may have been tempted to recoup some of the £4.4m they paid for the forward after he struggled for goals the previous campaign. 

But Redknapp wanted Benjani at Fratton Park alongside his new stars.

Pompey were poised to pay PSV Eindhoven £7.5m for 21-year-old Peruvian striker Farfan.

And they were in talks with Fenerbahce about a loan move for striker Nicolas Anelka.

Marseille and Nice were both said to be keen on Benjani.

But Redknapp reckoned Pompey owed their Premiership status to the 27-year-old.

He said: ‘I like Benjani – he’s a good player. I don’t know what will happen, but I’m not looking to get rid of him.

‘People are quick to jump on Benjani’s back. But I’ve seen enough of him in training to know what he’s capable of.

‘Benji’s got a great attitude. He’s a team player. I’ve got a lot of time for the lad.

‘Just because we spent £4.4m on him, people expect him to be a world-beater. But that’s only half what Everton paid for Andy Johnson.’

Signed from Auxerre in January, Benjani had a clause in his contract that would have seen him return to France if Pompey had been relegated.

He scored just one goal in 16 games for the Blues.

But Redknapp said: ‘It sometimes takes time for players to settle in when they come over into the Premiership.

‘He was playing in Auxerre and the people in France were saying only good things about him.

‘We would have been relegated without Benjani. We had hardly anyone else up front. Him and Toddy were the only forwards we had.

‘I always thought he was a threat. Now I’d like to see him go on and score a few more goals.’

Primus confident of Crouch reunion (2008)

Linvoy Primus expected to welcome Peter Crouch back for a Pompey reunion.

Crouch was set to finally clinch his much-anticipated Fratton Park move after the Blues upped their bid to close to £11m.

It would end a lengthy pursuit of the England striker who Harry Redknapp had long coveted.

Shaun Wright-Phillips was another target whose potential arrival was gathering momentum after both Redknapp and Peter Storrie returned from their holidays.

In the meantime, Crouch was expected to be Pompey’s first big-money recruit of the summer.

The Blues were believed to have agreed a fee with Liverpool two days earlier.

And despite competition from Spurs and Newcastle for Crouch’s signature, Primus believed the striker would be wearing the star and crescent for the 2008-09 season.

The veteran defender was the only remaining survivor from Crouch’s first Blues spell in the 200-102 season, although the pair had lost touch.

But the fans’ favourite was convinced they’d be teammates once again in the forthcoming campaign.

He said: ‘It looks like it will happen. I don’t think it’s a secret. I just think the clubs couldn’t agree terms.

‘It’s like Gareth Barry going to Liverpool – you just expect it to happen.

‘I don’t think it was Peter stopping it – it boiled down to the two clubs getting together and sorting it out. That’s usually the reason why these things take so long.

‘Once the clubs agree I’m sure it’s a done deal. I certainly hope so.

‘He’s going to be an asset and I’m sure a lot of fans would like to see him as well.

‘I remember him first time around and he was always destined to go on and do well. You don’t score 18 goals in a struggling team and not go and push on – and he has.

‘Everybody knew about his ability. We used to see it in training every day and it’s no surprise seeing him play for England and scoring goals. It was no surprise when Liverpool signed him.

‘I’d love to play with him again. It’s a case of just making sure that if he does sign, I can be in that team to play with him.’

Norris can be midfield goal threat (2011)

David Norris was the man to solve Pompey's goal-scoring woes.

That was the verdict of steve Cotterill, who had given the former Ipswich skipper a licence to attack this season.

Norris bagged 11 goals from the centre of midfield in 20010-11, all from open play.

It was an impressive return the Blues boss was hoping the 29-year-old could maintain in his new surroundings.

Pompey netted just four times in the final 10 matches as their late play-off charge fizzled out.

Three of those came from David Nugent, who was no longer at Fratton Park having completed his long-anticipated switch to Leicester.

Liam Lawrence was the most prolific midfielder with eight goals, five coming from the spot. But he failed to find the net again after scoring a penalty against Hull on January 3.

Now Norrisarrived to bolster the Blues' squad. And Cotterill was adamant he could provide that missing goal threat.

He said: ‘When you look at David, obviously there are things that stand out.

‘He's a very fit boy. We looked at the stats when we played Ipswich last year and his were well up there with the Liam Lawrences of this world.

‘If you are running as much in a game as Liam does then you are going to be putting a shift in. And he also adds goals to our midfield, which was probably missing.

‘We felt as though we needed more goals in the team, we know that. We need more goals in our striking department, we need more goals from our wide players, we need more goals from midfield.

‘If you have a look at our last 10 games of the season that is where we fell short.

‘We scored four goals in that period which is why we nose dived.

‘We haven't been really free-scoring but David can put that right. ‘We were lucky with David, very lucky. He wanted to sign for us, he was smitten.’

Back the boss (2012)

Pompey's next owners were urged to give Michael Appleton the chance to do his job properly.

Hayden Mullins reported back to the Blues, along with nine other senior team-mates for a return for pre-season training.

And the midfielder called on whoever took the club out of administration to give Appleton the tools to rebuild the club.

Former owner Balram Chainrai looked favourite to assume charge again, after agreeing a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with creditors last month.

But the Pompey Supporters' Trust were still vying with the Hong Kong businessman for the opportunity to take control of their side.

Mullins spent the tail end of last season on loan at Reading as Pompey fought to lower their wage bill and stay alive.

A permanent switch to the newly-promoted Premier League side looked out of the equation.

And although an exit was still likely, the 33-year-old will be at the club's Eastleigh training base as he waited to hear the way forward – for him and the Blues.

Mullins said: ‘I suppose we will have some kind of meeting and we will be informed of what is going on.

‘As yet, we haven't really heard too much, to be honest.

‘We were given a text telling us to come back in on Monday.

‘So until we get back I suppose we won't really find out what is happening.

‘I'm sure I'll have a word with the gaffer. He's good like that. I know the administrator has a lot on his plate with trying to push the CVA through.

‘I'm sure things will start moving with all the teams going back.

‘Maybe that will help push things along. It would be good to know where the club are going.

‘If Chainrai comes in and takes the club out of administration, he has to get it running again. The manager has to be given the chance to do a few deals and get a squad together.

‘Ever since he has come in he hasn't had a chance. For a first job, it hasn't been easy for him.’

Age is just a number (2015)

Super-fit Michael Doyle toasted his Pompey arrival and insisted: My age is irrelevant.

The hard-working midielder completed his long-anticipated Fratton Park move on a one-year deal.

A first-team regular at previous clubs Coventry, Leeds and Shefield United, Doyle was set to turn 34 the following month.

That made him the oldest member of Paul Cook's ever-changing squad.

Not that the Irishman believed his age should have been any concern when it came to performing consistently.

He said: ‘I always look after myself – I haven't missed a day's training in six years. Age is just a number.

‘I think a lot of people thought I was messing the club about (by not going to Portugal) but it just wasn't like that.

‘I came down to training and really enjoyed it, but the manager couldn't commit anything to me at the time.

‘He was quite clear he wanted me but he just wanted to balance the squad first. I understood that.

‘I am glad to be here now and part of the team. Obviously, the club is a draw in itself but coming and speaking to the manager and staff, I just knew we would be perfect for one another.

‘I am a team player. I go about my business, do my job and help everybody else along the way by doing my best for the team.

‘I am able to handle the ball and break up the play – I have worked hard on the defensive side of the game.

‘But I think with the way the manager wants to play,the onus will be on the boys in the middle to get on the ball and get the team playing, so I am looking forward to it.’