Portsmouth Season Review 2011/2012: January
Feature by Jim Bonner
Updated Wednesday, 6th June 2012
A Cala-mitous start to the new year.
If any Pompey fan believed that 2012 would bring a change in fortunes for their football club, they would have been right. Unfortunately, those changes would be for much, much worse.
The year got off to a good start, however. Watford came to Fratton Park and were soundly beaten 2-0 thanks to second half goals from Marko Futacs and Hayden Mullins.
Then came the "big game" of the season as Pompey fans travelled to Stamford Bridge for the FA Cup third round tie.
Pompey gave a good account of themselves and should have taken the lead in the first minute only for Dave Kitson to fluff his big chance. The remainder of the first half saw Chelsea dominate but were unable to break the stubborn visitors down, as the travelling contigent continued to mock John Terry and Fernando Torres in particular.
Unfortunately Juan Mata turned in a cross right at the start of the second half and then two goals from Ramires and a stoppage time strike from Frank Lampard saw the eventual winners record a flattering 4-0 win.
The big off-the-pitch news this month came in the form of Joseph Cala's supposed "bid" to buy Pompey. This chancer had once bought Italian side Salerno but sold after 11 days in charge after defaulting on a payment.
The chances of Cala taking over were as likely as his vision of an underwater casino coming true. He soon "pulled out" of the deal only to put himself back in the frame, and then rule himself out once again.
Amongst this furore, West Ham won 1-0 at Fratton Park thanks to a Mark Noble penalty and some dubious decisions from referee Kevin Friend in what was described by some fans as "the worst refereeing performance of all time" after he sent off David Norris for a two-footed challenge.
The following week saw Hermann Hreidarsson end his time at Pompey and join fellow strugglers Coventry whilst Kelvin Etuhu was snapped up as a free agent after his release from prison.
The next match would see Pompey travel to Wales to take on Cardiff City, who will now play their home games in red following yet another shocking decision from the money men in football.
Kenny Miller gave the Red Dragons... sorry....the Bluebirds the lead early on but Futacs equalised after capitalising on a fumble from David Marshall.
Greg Halford then gave the visitors the lead early in the second half by pouncing on a loose ball in the box. Unfortunately a late crumble saw Mark Huson head in a late equaliser and then Craig Conway smash in a long range winner in the last minute of stoppage time to break all Pompey hearts.
That misery was compounded as HMRC issued another winding-up petition against Portsmouth FC over yet more unpaid tax.
A fire sale was expected to raise the cash but Ipswich's bid for Joel Ward and Jason Pearce was rebuffed as the final match of the month was to be played at Peterborough's London Road, complete with terracing, something a novelty for the younger fan such as I!
And what a result it was too! Erik Huseklepp scored a scruffy opener as Michael Appleton's gameplan to hit the Posh on the break worked perfectly. Jason Pearce headed in a second and Huseklepp bagged another in the second half to complete the rout.
Despite all fears, only Ryan Williams was sold for £400,000 on transfer deadline day. However, we all knew that this wasn't enough money to keep the club going and there would be more financial peril to come in February.