Ex-Pompey captain Michael Brown has been speaking exclusively to 888sport and they've been kind enough to allow me to use some quotes taken from his interview about his time at Portsmouth during the most turbulent time of the club's history and what he thinks about the club's fortunes now.
On Pompey's current season and future
“It’s an understatement regarding a recovery on what Kenny Jackett has done. It’s been an amazing turn-around because the pressure was mounting. It was a real slow start.
But they’re really hit the ground running with fantastic home form. It was an exciting one to get to the final of the Leasing.com Trophy. I’m going to be covering the game against Arsenal on the Monday night in the FA Cup. So they’ve got a cup final, an FA Cup game against Arsenal at Fratton Park, and a promotion push. So it’s really good times.
I remember speaking to the owners last season after they just missed out in the Play-Offs and made the final of the Checkatrade and they were saying that’s football and everything takes time. They seemed to understand that they’re there to try and improve this football club that has such fabulous support. Hopefully they can go up a level.”
On Monday's FA Cup tie with Arsenal
“Fratton Park will be rocking. There is no better atmosphere. It’s a great place to play though yes it can be improved. But when all of those supporters are there it’s a great atmosphere and Arsenal are still in transition with Mikel Arteta still trying to find his formations and tactics. It will be tough for them.
I did Gillingham against West Ham and in the first half Gillingham were excellent. Even though West Ham came out the winners positives can be found from that and Portsmouth will give them a right go.”
On beating Tottenham in the 2010 FA Cup semi final
“It was such a surreal scenario. Nobody gave us an opportunity; no-one thought we could do it. In the build-up that week all the talk was whether Portsmouth would even be in existence. But we got through that and there was so much rivalry with those who were now at Spurs from Portsmouth and vise versa. And they were doing very well being a Champions League side at the time. They had some great players with Bale and Modric naming just two who both went to Real Madrid.
It was a one-off shot to go and do something special and I think for the supporters that was like winning the FA Cup final that day. There were scenes like you’ve never seen. Your club was gone and then you go and beat Spurs to go to the final. I remember running towards the crowd when we scored the goals and you’ve never seen joy on people’s faces like it. That was one of the greatest feelings in football when we won that game. It was remarkable.”
“The game against Spurs was amazing and walking out for the cup final was also a bit special. They’re the occasions but for me it was great leading the Portsmouth team out when captain. I was very proud and honoured to do that. I just thought it was a really good place to play football.”
On dealing with the off-field issues during his time at Pompey
“I was heavily involved because I was the main negotiator as captain. I took on all of the administration side and dealt with the PFA regarding the players. I was trying to piece things together and deliver it back to the players with as much information as possible.
Adversity comes in sport and sometimes all you can do is do your job on the pitch. The rest is out of your control. It’s a shame the league form fell away but the cup was an amazing relief for everyone.”
On how other players dealt with the off-field issues
“There were always a few ones who made things that bit more difficult. When they realized things weren’t going to work out they were always going to go off to pastures new. And there was a couple who could probably have done a little bit more. That’s human nature though where not everybody is up for the fight and look for the easy way out.”
On his contract situation before leaving for Leeds
“It was simple really. If I played another game I was getting a new contract and the club decided I wasn’t playing. All I wanted to do was play for Portsmouth football club. I loved playing for them and it’s a shame me and Richie Hughes were not allowed to anymore at a time when we were needed.”
On how Pompey fans perceive him now
“They’ve got to look at what type of player I was. I gave my all even in adversity. When the doors were almost shut we still did well on the pitch and reached cup finals. People know how I played and how I tried to win but there’s always a couple who look on the bad side of it. I tried to do my best but ultimately it wasn’t possible. You can’t please everybody but I think the bulk of Portsmouth supporters realise how much I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.”
Read the full 888sport interview with Michael Brown here.