Portsmouth Season Review 2010/2011: Pre-Season

Last updated : 15 May 2011 By Jim Bonner
Portsmouth's 2010/2011 season could be described as a rollercoaster ride that began with a distressing drop that might you might have thought would kill before an exciting ascent that saw Pompey reach heights with a great view before another descent and a slower, boring climb up the track before levelling to a dull but satisfying finish.

Before the ordeal that was Pompey's first season back in the second tier since 2003, there was the eventful-as-ever pre-season shenanigans to take place and the worry that we wouldn't even have a club to support come August.

Following the FA Cup final, Avram Grant departed for (and was subsequently sacked from) West Ham as the various loan players returned to their parent clubs. David Lampitt was then officially welcomed as Peter Storrie's successor, tasked with cleaning up the mess left behind by previous regimes under a reluctant owner.

Andrew Andronikou proposed a CVA to the creditors that would be accepted as some of Pompey's remaining stars as well as past players were participating in a disappointing World Cup.

After much speculation it was Steve Cotterill who would be appointed as Grant's successor. He couldn't prevent Papa Bouba Diop departing for AEK Athens, Lennard Sowah leaving for Hamburg or Nadir Belhadj going to Al-Sadd of Qatar.

This exodus was as predictable as HMRC appealing against the proposed CVA, meaning Cotterill was forced to release other players so he could sign his own targets within the 20-man squad limit.

The first pre-season match was the traditional fare at Westleigh Park with David Nugent and Michael Brown scoring in a 2-1 win for Pompey over Havant & Waterlooville.

The remaining players would then embark on a disastrous tour of the USA, starting with a 2-1 defeat to Mexican side Club America in San Diego as Stephen Jordan joined on trial.

Whilst there were some highs during the tour with Pompey defeating Ventura County Fusion and FC Edmonton to lift the Edmonton Cup, the tour turned into a nightmare for Cotterill and co. as the team's flight to Washington was cancelled, meaning the players had to endure a coach journey with little sleep and no training.

To add further insult, Pompey's kitbag went missing and so the players had to borrow D.C United's away strip for the final match of the tour, played in heat of 40 degrees. Danny Allsopp bagged a hat-trick and Pablo Hernandez found the net in an easy 4-0 win for the hosts.

Pompey returned home and Steve Cotterill finally made his first signing by loaning Ibrahima Sonko from Stoke City. There was more joy for the Pompey manager as his side beat Bournemouth courtesy of a Marc Wilson penalty.

Jamie Ashdown re-signed for Pompey despite being released at the end of the 2009/2010 season after the board withdrew their contract offer for David James, who joined Bristol City instead. Avram Grant also did Pompey a favour by loaning Tal Ben-Haim for until January as the players continued to depart from the club.

The final match of pre-season was Linvoy Primus' testimonial match with Fulham at Fratton Park. Marc Wilson headed in Matt Ritchie's corner to give Pompey a sense of optimism as they ran out 1-0 winners as the start of the campaign drew closer.

However, by far the biggest cheer of the summer was to come on Thursday, August 5th when Mr Justice Mann ruled in favour of Portsmouth Football Club in their battle with HMRC, who decided not to appeal the decision meaning that PFC lived on and would not be liquidated for the time being.

So, after a torrid pre-season that saw many players leave Pompey and the club on the verge of being wound up, the mass of Pompey fans could look forward to the upcoming season that would be filled with plenty of drama along the way.