Back From New York

Last updated : 20 January 2009 By Jim Bonner
After two weeks having a great time in the United States I'm pleased to say that I'm back despite being jetlagged after having to wait an extra day to return home due to cancelled and delayed flights.

I have been keeping up to date with what has been going on back here though, and rather than spend a long time writing several different pieces on various topics I think it would be much easier to sum them all up here.

Player Transfers

The biggest transfer news when I was away was that Portsmouth had agreed a fee with Liverpool for Jermaine Pennant but the player was not so keen on a permanent deal. Today, Pompey confirmed that Pennant has joined on loan until the end of the season.

I am happy that he has arrived on loan rather than Pompey paying anything for a player who I believe is over-rated and has attitude problems. Whilst we lack any strong right-sided options it makes sense to bring in a "proper" right winger but Pennant strikes me as an inconsistent player who struggles to beat a man and only puts in a decent cross every now and again.

Then of course there's the issue that he clearly isn't keen to play for Portsmouth and given Tony Adams' stance on only wanting players that are willing to give their all for the club I can't see why he has been signed despite knowing him from his days at Highbury.

Mind you, I'm struggling to find any better options around and if he's only on loan then we can send him back if he does turn out to be a frustating flop and he can't be worse than John Utaka, can he?

Staying on the topic of players with bad attitudes brings me to Joey Barton. Many fans, including myself have said they'll struggle to support the team if he is in it with some people saying they'll stop supporting the club altogether.

I'm not sure if I would go that far as Barton is simply one man in a squad and doesn't represent the entire Portsmouth team but I will make it clear that I utterly despise this pitiful excuse for a man and despite being a good player I could only imagine his influence on the club to be a bad one.

Adams has talked about "second chances" but how many chances has this thug had? I would much rather have players of lower quality such as Hughes and Davis who work their arses off for the team in the midfield than someone who is extremely lucky not to be in jail. Stay away please Tony.

The latest news regarding transfers is that Peter Storrie is "close" to agreeing a loan deal for Juventus midfielder Christian Poulsen with a view to a permanent £5 million switch at the end of the season.

Whilst I'd welcome him to the club with open arms having seen him play very well for Sevilla in the past, I'm not sure how much truth there is in this report given that Poulsen has only just returned from injury and has said himself he is completely focused on playing for Juve.

Other players to be linked to Pompey since my time away are Manuel Fernandes of Valencia and Javier Saviola of Real Madrid. I'd be over-the-moon if we signed either of these players.

We all know what Fernandes can do whilst Saviola reminds me of Andres D'Alessandro because he never quite lived up to the hype he was given as a youngster, he's still got the ability to be a success at Pompey and I'd love to see him play up front with Peter Crouch.

I'm not too disappointed that we're not signing Gary O'Neil, Edu or Patrick Vieira either. Middlesbrough and Valencia pulled out of the deals for their players at the last minute but the former wouldn't solve our current midfield problems and the latter had his best days at Arsenal and is too injury prone nowadays. The same could be said for Vieira and he wasn't available because of a new injury, which supports the claim that he shouldn't be signed this January.

The Games

Before I begin, I should say a massive thank you to the New York Pompey fans that pointed me in the direction of Nevada Smith's; quite possibly the best bar in the world. It's full of footie fans from home and abroad, you can watch virtually every Premier League game every weekend and it sells pies and crisps. What more can you want?

I was disappointed to hear that the Man City game was called off because of a frozen pitch. Not just because I had gotten up earlier than usual for a 3pm kick-off, but because at the time City had Ireland suspended whilst both Wright-Phillips and Robinho were injured.

And whilst I'm happy that Kaka won't be seen at Fratton Park for a second time this year I'm not so pleased that we will have to deal with Craig Bellamy again after he tore us apart on Boxing Day. Whilst we may strengthen too, I can't help but think that the weather has just made this game tougher.

Neil, the only Pompey fan from Portsmouth in the bar and myself watched the Bristol City game and we both agreed that we still looked far too open and were outplayed by our hosts at times.

David James bailed us out with a few excellent saves (and even managed to stop a penalty) whilst Peter Crouch clearly juggled the ball in his own area before a brilliant pass from Belhadj set up a swift counter-attack for the "juggler" to slide in the first goal.

Apart from Neil and myself, there was a third Portsmouth "fan" stood behind us all game who often criticised Kranjcar with "American" hilariousness only to applaud him when he scored the second. When we asked him if he was born in St. Mary's Hospital he revealed that he was born in Algeria and was a huge fan of Nadir Belhadj which is why he was a Pompey fan.

Moving on to Sunday's big game and I was nervous just sitting there at the airport waiting for updates from my Dad so I can only imagine how the Pompey fans were feeling!

I always knew that Defoe was going to get on the scoresheet somehow and if it wasn't for another superb performance from David James then we would have been beaten at the Lane for the sixth consecutive time. I was delighted for Nugent to get his first goal in such an important game, especially after he missed a couple of chances earlier.

The performance is hard to rate because it was such an end-to-end game. Both midfields were poor but I thought Campbell and Distin did well. Nugent deserved his goal after such a workmanlike performance and hopefully that'll give him the confidence to go on a scoring run. I'm still worried that we're leaving ourselves too open though and a better team would have beaten us.

I'm happy with the draw despite losing the lead for two reasons. Firstly, it's a better point for us than it is for Tottenham as we stay above them in the league but perhaps more importantly we haven't lost to Redknapp. That would have deeply hurt after he ditched us and I did have a good chuckle when he was bemoaning Darren Bent's shock miss.

We're now in a position where we could go ninth if we win our game in hand, but yet we're still only three points from the bottom of the league! I'm quietly confident we have enough to survive and we're slowly starting to turn it around.

Fratton Faithful

I have to thank Brian for keeping the site running whilst I've been away whilst I am aware of all of the problems that have arisen since the messageboard has been upgraded. The footy-mad team are working hard to resolve the issues and hopefully all the errors will be rectified soon.

I will also respond to all other feedback in the very near future, so please bear with me! Thank you all for your patience.