Teenage Kicks: Fixtures to savour with Pompey on their way
There are few better illustrations of the rapidly changing dynamics of football than the new League One line-up.
Among the sides competing in the third tier next season are six former Premier League outfits – Wigan, Blackburn, Charlton, Bradford, Blackpool and, of course, Pompey.
It wasn’t long ago Wigan versus Pompey was a regular top-flight fixture.
Both sides have won the FA Cup in the last 10 years, while Blackburn are former Premier League champions.
The business that is professional football now regularly produces such falls from grace, for varying reasons.
But the fact is, the release of the new fixture list on Wednesday proved a welcome reality for Pompey fans.
The Blues are finally back playing against some established, big clubs like ourselves.
After four years in League Two, we will now be going to the Valley, Ewood Park and the DW Stadium.
Okay, it’s not Wembley by any stretch of the imagination but it is certain to be a fascinating season.
And in theory, Pompey should be competing at the top end.
Obviously, the clear favourites for the title are Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn.
With a squad full of Championship quality, the pressure will be on them to deliver.
Kenny Jackett has thrived at this level in the past – and on a limited budget, too.
And that makes me optimistic of a successful season.
With the impressive signing of Swindon captain Nathan Thompson, the already settled squad is looking geared up for the challenge in front of them.
Ben Sturt, 19, is a Pompey season-ticket holder and writes a regular column in the Sports Mail every Sunday.