Slow start to Portsmouth summer recruitment - but history shows it's not unusual

Pompey’s player recruitment has yielded pedestrian results during a quiet close season.

Monday, 17th June 2019, 6:02 pm
Ibrahima Sonko, Pompey's first signing following relegation from the Premier League, arrived in July 2010. Picture: Barry Zee

Yet far from bucking the trend, it represents closer to the summer shopping norm since the Blues departed those big-spending Premier League years.

Rarely have Pompey initiated a rapid raiding of the transfer market, snapping up bargains at breakneck speed.

During the past 10 summers of existence outside the top flight, three failed to produce a single signing by this stage.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Albeit, in truth, there were mitigating circumstances in each of those pre-seasons.

Presently, just free-agent James Bolton has been secured. Nonetheless, that sole arrival doesn’t signify a worryingly slow Pompey summer when compared to others.

Last year was undoubtedly the stand-out period, with five fresh faces landing by June 11 – Ronan Curtis, Louis Dennis, Craig MacGillivray, Tom Naylor and Lee Brown.

Ibrahima Sonko, Pompey's first signing following relegation from the Premier League, arrived in July 2010. Picture: Barry Zee

Previous summers, though, a little more patience was required, particularly in 2010.

Ibrahima Sonko was the first signing, arriving on July 16 in a season-long loan from Stoke, with Carl Dickinson next – almost a month later.

Of course, the Blues were in administration and couldn’t appoint Steve Cotterill as manager until the CVA was secured, delaying recruitment.

The following campaign, with Cotterill still at the helm, David Norris (June 15, 2011) represented the maiden signing, on a free transfer from Ipswich.

That was followed by £300,000 spent on recruiting Jason Pearce from Bournemouth a week later (June 23).

During the 2012 close season, Pompey were in administration, fighting liquidation and under a transfer embargo.

With administrator Trevor Birch focusing on sales, nobody was signed by boss Michael Appleton until August 16, 2012.

Moving on, newly-appointed Guy Whittingham was presented with a fresh slate in the summer of 2013 under fan ownership.

By this stage, he had recruited seven new players and signed four of the previous season’s team.

Another Pompey Hall-of-Famer, Andy Awford, was manager in 2014, snapping up Danny Hollands permanently, along with Paul Jones and Craig Westcarr by June 14.

Next, with a greater budget to aid him, Paul Cook brought four players to Fratton Park by June 17 in 2015 – Kyle Bennett, Kal Naismith, Enda Stevens and Gary Roberts.

The following year would yield the League Two title, with Danny Rose, Matt Clarke permanently and Carl Baker landing by June 14, 2016.

A summer of upheaval arrived in 2017, with Cook leaving and Kenny Jackett appointed as his replacement, inevitably delaying recruitment.

By this stage, there had yet to be a new face, with the first, Nathan Thompson, signed on June 22, 2018.

So while this summer’s progress has undoubtedly been disappointing, it is far from Pompey's most lacklustre in recent times.