Season Review 06/07: Pre-Season
So we begin the tale back in July 2006. We had all got over the disappointment of England going out of the World Cup on penalties (again!) and were looking forward to a promising domestic season.
Prior to the first pre-season friendly against Torquay Harry had made his first signing in Glen Johnson on loan from Chelsea, Dejan signed a contract extension, Matthew Taylor and Gary O'Neil signed long-term deals at the club whilst Brian Priske left for Club Brugges to the dismay of many Pompey fans.
The biggest news was that Sacha Gaydamak had took full control of the club after purchasing Milan Mandaric's half of the club, that would soon mark the end of an era at Portsmouth Football Club.
19/07/06: Pre-Season Friendly #1: Torquay United 0 Pompey 3
Due to lack of bodies, Pompey fielded a couple of trialists in the first friendly game at Plainmoor. Jaouad Zairi and Berlin took part in a comfortable 3-0 win with Toddy, LuaLua and Berlin all finding the net. After the game it was believed that Manuel Fernandes would sign for the club in a record £7 million deal.
Before the next pre-season game, Lomana LuaLua rejected a new deal whilst the club were linked with a whole host of players including Anelka, Defoe, Curtis Davies and Sol Campbell. The Manuel Fernandes deal was "temporarily off" after he had failed a medical, just the first twist in a long running saga.
21/07/06: Pre-Season Friendly #2: Yeovil Town 0 Pompey 2
Ivica Mornar (Ha!) and Richard Hughes scored for Pompey in another comfortable Westcountry win at Huish Park. Jamie Ashdown also saved a late penalty.
More rumours of LuaLua leaving the club and Juan Pablo Sorin joining Pompey emerged before our next friendly at Roots Hall.
26/07/06: Pre-Season Friendly #3: Southend United 2 Pompey 1
This game got off to the worst possible start as the coveted Freddy Eastwood put the Shrimpers ahead in the first minute but Mornar; determined to prove his worth, equalised only for ex-Pompey man Lee Bradbury to get the winner.
Harry then made his second signing as David Thompson joined the club as a free agent having been released by Wigan. Lomana LuaLua then ended transfer speculation by signing a new deal with the club, as did Richard Hughes. Pompey also unveiled the new away strip for the season ahead of the trip to Bournemouth.
29/07/06: Pre-Season Friendly #4: Bournemouth 0 Pompey 4
A new trialist by the name of "Emiliano" took part in this South Coast smashing. Benjani, LuaLua and Glen Johnson all scored as Cherry Warren Cummings put the ball through his own net to complete the rout at Dean Court.
More transfer speculation made its way through the grapevine as it was believed that Stilian Petrov could be moving South, prompting a load of Celtic fans to swamp the messageboard to tell us how big and mighty they were and how a player of his ability was far too good for such a "tin-pot" outfit. Petrov eventually joined Villa and had minimal impact on their season.
Ironically, Sylvain Distin was also heavily linked to a move to Pompey for a price of £5 million because of his contract situation. Of course, we snapped him up for free not long ago!
Amongst all the transfer speculation Pedro Mendes signed a new deal with the club as Pompey then travelled to West Leigh Park to suffer an embarrassing defeat, friendly or not.
31/07/06: Pre-Season Friendly #5: Havant & Waterlooville 3 Pompey 1
A team consisting of experienced Premiership players such as Andy Griffin, Andy O'Brien, Richard Hughes and Linvoy Primus of all people were completely outplayed by a Conference South side that contained Dean Holdsworth.
The overweight Holdsworth gave the Hawks the lead, Toddy equalised and then Rocky Baptiste and Brett Poate slotted past Nick Jordan to give a side that sit 5 leagues below us a deserved win, albeit against a reserve side.
01/08/06: Pre-Season Friendly #6: Dorchester 1 Pompey 3
Pompey's senior side had to show the reserves how to beat a Non-League side by running out 3-1 winners against Dorchester. Benjani scored a brace and Glen Johnson got the other for Pompey as a mistake by Emiliano was punished for the Magpies to get one back.
The following day, it was announced that Peru Defender Juan Vargas was set to sign for Pompey. However the deal fell through and he joined Catania instead. Jhon Viafara then decided to jump ship and sign for Scummers who are still in the Championship...
04/08/06: Pre-Season Friendly #7: Oxford United 0 Pompey 0
'Arry and Jim were re-united in this bore draw encounter at the Kassam Stadium. The worse news was that LuaLua was injured in a clash with the Oxford 'keeper, beginning a frustrating season full of injury for the DR Congo man.
There was brighter news though, as Pompey announced possibly the biggest name signing in the history of the club as Sol Campbell joined the club on a free transfer from Arsenal, marking one of the bargains of the season. He did not feature in the final friendly at home to FC Porto.
10/08/06: Pre-Season Friendly #8: Pompey 1 FC Porto 2
The Pre-season Friendlies ended on a bad note as Pompey an injury ravaged Pompey were defeated by a classy FC Porto. Prior to the game Sol Campbell was paraded in front of the fans who were awed to see a giant screen above the Milton End!
Lisandro took advantage of a weak Pamarot backpass to give the Portuguese side the lead and then Toddy equalised by heading in a Matty Taylor free kick. Porto won when Linvoy sliced the ball into his own net after trying to clear a free kick.
Prior to the opening game against Blackburn, David James signed for the club to the cries of "Calamity!" and "Past-it!" whilst Kanu also joined to the claims of "Useless" and "Where has our ambition gone!?" These two players would be the perfect example of how wrong some of us can be if we judge far too quickly...
That would be it for the Pre-Season. The ride that is "Portsmouth FC" was just about to begin...
On a final note, if you haven't voted for the Fratton Faithful awards yet, you can do so by clicking here. The winners (and losers) will be announced on Friday June 15th. So make sure you do it by then!