The end of the rollercoaster ride

May saw the end of another exciting season for Portsmouth Football Club, but there were no goals and just a single point as Pompey just missed out on a place in Europe. The month began with a vital 6 pointer at Goodison Park.

05/05/07: Premiership Matchday #37: Everton 3 Pompey 0

Pompey travelled to Merseyside with a much weakened defence as Sol Campbell was ruled out for the rest of the season. James Vaughan and Gary O'Neil missed great chances to put their respective side ahead in the first half but it ended goaless. Come the second half and we would shoot ourselves in the foot as Glen Johnson brought down Vaughan in the box and Arteta just squeezed the penalty in past James.

The game was over when Joseph Yobo was allowed a free header from a corner to double Everton's lead and further salt was rubbed into the wounds when Gary Naysmith added a third in stoppage time. This was a major missed opportunity as results went our way which meant an even more miserable trip home for the travelling fans.

No Good At Goodison

Prior to the final game of the season, David James extended his contract with the club and we knew that to qualify for Europe we would definitely have to beat Arsenal and hope that Reading failed to win at Blackburn and Bolton failed to beat Villa at home.

13/05/07: Premiership Matchday #38: Pompey 0 Arsenal 0

It was a story of "what might have been" had Graham Poll not ruled out Niko Kranjcar's goal that would have won us the match and gave us a place in Europe for the first time ever. The Croatian tapped in from close range but was eventually ruled out as apparently Richard Hughes was offside when he made the pass to Kranjcar, although the ball looked to have come off Senderos before reaching Niko. David James had also brilliantly saved Julio Baptista's penalty in the first half.

Poll called time on the game, our season and his Premiership refereeing career as the result was made even more sour by the fact that both Reading and Bolton drew meaning we would have qualified if Poll had not disallowed the goal or if Harry had bothered entering us into the Intertoto Cup.

Poll-Axed

So the curtain came down on another dramatic season in the Premiership for Pompey which culiminated in our best league finish for over 50 years having finished 9th. The highs of being top of the league early on, going 2-0 up at Arsenal, having a great home record and beating United again were matched by the lows of losing to Watford and the other gutless away performances, meaning we surrendered a UEFA Cup place that looked highly probable at the turn of the year.

Still, the strengthening has already begun with the arrivals of Sylvain Distin, Hermann Hriedarsson and record signing Sulley Muntari. If we can sign a couple of quality strikers and a pacy right winger without losing key players, I wouldn't bet against us improving on last season's points tally of 54.

There's a very bright future ahead at Portsmouth Football Club.

Final Premiership Table 2006/2007

6th: Everton - 58pts
7th: Bolton - 57pts
8th: Reading - 55pts
9th: Portsmouth - 54pts
10th: Blackburn - 52pts
11th: Aston Villa - 50pts