Optimist Or Pessimist?

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 22 January 2007
Saturday's result seemed to split the opinions of Pompey fans as to how our season is going to go now. I talked to a mixture of optimistic and pessimistic fans after the game and from the responses I received I have written how our season is going to go according to both sides of the coin, so to speak.

The Optimists View

We've been spoilt in the last 5 years. We've walked Division One, claimed two famous victories against Manchester United and also beat Liverpool after our first attempt at them. We've also celebrated the biggest derby victory over Southampton ever, sending them down in the process and although we've been quite close to relegation in recent seasons, we now look like a stable Premiership force going places. The glass is definitely half full.

Saturday's result was crap admittedly but the fact is that every team in the league suffers from these results from time to time. Even Manchester United and Chelsea get shocks, like United's loss to relegation threatened West Ham and Mourinho's men getting beaten by Middlesbrough; who then got tonked by Pompey five days later.

We should have seen the defeat to Charlton coming. All of the focus was on Ben Thatcher, whilst we forgot all about Amdy Faye's past connections. Charlton are also our Premiership bogey team and always seem to nick a result at Fratton Park. If the "bogey" rule stays true then we should have a guaranteed three points in our next league game against Mediocre Middlesbrough; a team we never lose to.

Despite our defeat, we're still 6th in the league which is likely to be a UEFA Cup spot come the end of the season. Our fixture list is pretty kind with home games against mediocre opposition or the big four, where we always have a chance of beating them at Fratton Park. European qualification is still a very achievable target and it's still in our own hands.

Look at our signings now compared to last year. Lauren is a cracking signing once he gets fit, especially for £500,000 and Sol Campbell and David James have been rocks virtually all season. Compare these to the likes of Gregory Vignal, Andy O'Brien and Sander Westerveld.

The pessimists should shut up. Unless you're well over 50-years-old we've never had it so good. Even if we fail to finish in the top 6 or even the top 8 we have still made a huge amount of progress in the space of a year, when we were anything but a stable football club.

The Pessimists View

Pessimism is a natural trait among some Pompey fans. After all, we have had to put up with a lot of dross over the years and there's still some uncertainty about the state of Pompey so it's understandable why we always see our football club as a glass half empty.

We've not had the best of times in recent years. Promotion was amazing but since then, apart from a couple of big results and sending Southampton down we've not had much to cheer about. Portsmouth Football Club has been something of a soap opera during our Premiership tenure with embarrassing managerial appointments coming and going through the revolving door at Fratton Park as well as the whole Harry Redknapp fiasco.

Saturday's result was disastrous. We should be beating relegation threatened sides at home if we want to qualify for Europe. You don't see the likes of Tottenham losing at home to Charlton do you?

We're in bad form in the league at the moment having not won a Premiership game since Boxing Day. The creaks are beginning to appear and eventually we will slide down the table after United inevitably knock us out the cup next week. UEFA Cup football is just a dream and with other teams below us starting good runs, we should be happy with a top 10 finish.

Our fixture list would back this statement up. We've still got to play the big four at home which we just as well write off because they are far better than us and are always at their best in the later stages of the season. It's doubtful we will win during any of our trips to Reading, Fulham, Villa and Everton so we need to pick up as many points as possible now, because they're going to be scarce later on.

Our signings this year are questionable. Niko Kranjcar isn't settled into Premiership football, Glen Johnson is only on loan whilst Campbell and James are hardly signings for the future. Traore is a disaster waiting to happen and I doubt we'll see this Mvuemba bloke in a Pompey shirt at all. We're going to miss out on Fernandes now as it looks like he's going to Everton. We need someone like Nugent or even D'Alessandro back, if we even want to consider Europe.

The optimists need to take a step back and look at the situation realistically. We may be having a good season but that's due to the mediocre quality of the league this year. Our ageing players aren't going to last the pace and we will soon be overtaken as the teams with the better squads such as Spurs and Everton. Those who think we're going on a European tour are going to be very disappointed come May.

...So, which type of Pompey fan are you?

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