Since The Millennium: Pompey's Seasons Worst To Best: Part II

Last updated : 02 June 2018 By Jim Bonner

After going through the absolute worst of what Pompey suffered through since the year 2000, part two of this feature focuses on those seasons that would sit in mid-table mediocrity if Portsmouth campaigns were displayed in a league two.

Here are the seasons so middle-of-the-road that even Hayden Mullins and Richard Hughes would struggle to be excited about them.

13th) 2001/2002: 17th in Division One

The only reason why this season doesn't feature near the bottom of the pile is because this was the campaign which saw the genius that is Robert Prosinecki strut his stuff around Fratton Park. He and a young Peter Crouch almost singlehandedly prevented Pompey from being relegated in 2002.

Otherwise, the lows certainly outweighed the highs. Aaron Flahavan tragically lost his life after he was killed in a car crash whilst Graham Rix continued to be unpopular and was eventually replaced by Harry Redknapp who had previously been appointed as director of football by Milan Mandaric.

Then there was that infamous 4-1 home defeat to Third Division Leyton Orient, arguably the worst result in the club's modern history. Pompey were fortunate to be put ahead by an own goal but a second half collapse saw the O's romp to victory.

And let's not forget the Milan Mandaric threatening to refuse to pay his staff fiasco. A threat he ultimately retracted but it summed up the mood at the club at the time.

Season Highlights

  • Robert Prosinecki's performances capped by two outstanding goals against Barnsley.
  • The 2-1 win over eventual champions Manchester City was seen as a big deal at the time.
  • Graham Rix getting sacked.

Season Lowlights

  • Aaron Flahavan's death.
  • That Leyton Orient match.
  • Milan Mandaric threatening to refuse to pay the players and Rix after an alarming run of form.
  • The Barnsley game mentioned above where Pompey squandered a 4-2 lead late on to draw 4-4.
  • An eight game winless run at the end of the season meant Pompey slumped to 17th in the table.

12th) 1999/2000: 18th in Division One

There isn't too much to say about this season, partly because it's difficult to remember much that happened because it was so long ago.

Pompey fans said goodbye to two club legends as Alan Knight retired at the end of the season whilst Alan Ball was sacked in December for a poor run of results. On the plus side, cult heroes Steve Clardige and Guy Whittingham's goals helped keep relegation at bay.

Season Highlights

  • A four match winning streak in March, including two key victories over West Brom and Crewe essentially banished any real threat of relegation.

Season Lowlights

  • The thirteen match winless run which put Pompey in a perilous position in the first place. A run which ultimately cost Alan Ball his job.
  • Alan Knight losing the last match he would ever play in a Portsmouth shirt as his team lost 2-1 at Carrow Road in January 2000.

11th) 2010/2011: 16th in Championship

This was the first season back in the second tier for Pompey after a seven year stint in the Premier League and it was as mediocre as they come.

Avram Grant's departure meant Steve Cotterill was given the job of steadying a sinking ship despite a massive turnover of players and he managed to do that job despite everything going on off the pitch.

There weren't too many highlights during the campaign but two execellent runs of form during the season had the more optimistic fans thinking of making a late charge for the play-offs, but it never materialised. Meanwhile, those people behind the scenes were still gambling with the club's future.

Season Highlights

  • Hammering Leicester 6-1 at Fratton Park with Michael Brown scoring a goal that Lionel Messi would be proud of.
  • A six game winning streak in February/March without conceding set a new post-war record for Jamie Ashdown in goal.

Season Lowlights

  • The continued uncertainty surrounding the football club despite coming out of administration. (John Utaka sold himself?)
  • Losing 3-1 to League One Brighton at the Withdean Stadium during a day no Pompey fan will want to remember. Pompey Ryan offering fights to other Blues fans whilst annoying everyone else with his Vuvuzela will forever stick in the mind, however.
  • Losing 3-0 at home to Coventry in a match where you could hear a pin drop, so bad was the atmosphere that evening.
  • Cotterball.

10th) 2015/2016: 6th in League Two

Squeaking into the top ten is Paul Cook's first season in charge of Pompey as he (correctly) stated the aim for his team was to get promoted, only to fall at the penultimate hurdle.

Cook revolutionised the squad and its playing style and that brought its rewards when it worked. His team were capable of playing some excellent football as showcased during their 6-0 demolition of York and a narrow defeat to Premier League Bournemouth in the F.A. Cup having scored a beautifully crafted goal.

However, this season also saw Pompey concede many costly late goals and bottle it when it really mattered. Nothing highlights this better than a 2-1 defeat to Plymouth having failed to hold onto a lead followed by a 3-1 surrender at York who should have been relegated on the night.

Too many frustrating results against poor sides ultimately meant the play-offs for Pompey and nobody wants to relive that second leg defeat at Home Park, even though we'd get the last laugh the following year.

Season Highlights

  • An excellent start to the season saw Pompey unbeaten in the league until the end of September and had fans believing it was going to be our season after the dross of the previous two campaigns.
  • A scintillating second half display saw Pompey thrash York 6-0 and set a modern day record for greatest margin of victory.
  • A rare decent F.A. Cup run which saw Championship Ipswich put to the sword in the third round and a performance to be proud of against Bournemouth.

Season Lowlights

  • Frustrating draws and defeats against teams that Pompey either couldn't break down or conceded late goals against ultimately cost the team automatic promotion.
  • The last-gasp play-off semi-final defeat at Home Park to Plymouth was the most heartbreaking result for any Pompey fan to suffer since the early 90's.

9th) 2017/2018: 8th in League One

Pompey's most recent season earns a respectable ninth place on this list as despite Cook leaving for Wigan, Kenny Jackett came in with the club under new ownership and was able to keep his team in the promotion hunt until the penultimate weekend of the season.

Whilst some fans would have been disappointed that the Blues couldn't quite reach sixth place, to finish as high as eighth with a wafer thin squad which was decimated by injuries is commendable.

The 2017/2018 was a better-than-solid return to the third tier for Portsmouth and has set some strong foundations for what should be an even better campaign next year.

Season Highlights

  • The run of eight wins in ten during November and December, including an important 1-0 win at The Valley, established Pompey as promotion contenders.
  • Shithousing a 2-1 win at stadium:mk with two late goals despite being dreadful throughout most of the game.
  • Beating Paul Cook's Wigan 2-1 at Fratton Park was a sweet, sweet result.

Season Lowlights

  • The "great" January transfer window which didn't see the squad strengthened significantly enough with Pompey sitting in sixth at the turn of the new year was arguably the biggest reason for failing to finish in the play-offs.
  • Too many defeats to poor teams, especially away from home, was the other main reason for Pompey failing to reach the top six.

Check back soon for Pompey's top eight seasons since the millennium!