Two Years...

Last updated : 26 November 2007 By Jim Bonner
Two years ago last Saturday, a certain editor of a certain Portsmouth FC webzine wrote his first ever article on Alain Perrin's dismissal from Pompey after standing in the Anfield Road end watching his team take a battering at Liverpool.

Two years later and I was stood with the Pompey fans in St. Andrews, watching Niko Kranjcar belt in a wonderful free kick as Pompey set their new Premier League record for nine games unbeaten as well as recording their sixth straight away win.

Much has happened between these two events. We've got a new owner, we completed a great escape from relegation, we narrowly missed out on Europe the following season, we have England internationals in our side and plans for a new stadium have changed. Twice.

As a stark reminder of how far we have come since that dreaded defeat at Anfield, here's the side that lost to Liverpool two seasons ago.

Of that side, only Jamie Ashdown, Matthew Taylor, Richard Hughes and Linvoy Primus have survived and none of these players can get into the first team at the moment.

Our defence that day consisted of the already mentioned Taylor, Andy Griffin who is now playing for struggling Derby and Andy O'Brien who is now playing for struggling Bolton.

Brian Priske is still at Club Brugge and Gregory Vignal is now conceding lots of goals in the Southampton defence along with fellow Pompey-Scummer Jhon Viafara.

Gary O'Neil played at Anfield that day and now finds himself at struggling Middlesbrough whilst moody Laurent Robert is playing for bottom-of-the-table Levante in La Liga.

Up front we played Lomana LuaLua up front on his own. The DR Congo man is not doing too badly at Olympiakos, having scored 3 goals in 7 appearances.

On the bench that day we had Sander Westerveld who is now playing for Sparta Rotterdam after helping Almeria to promotion in Spain. Giannis Skopelitis who is now at Anorthis Famagusta, Zvonimir Vukic who plays for Partizan Belgrade and Collins Mbesuma is playing for Bursaspor and was recently fined for not getting back to Turkey from Zambia in time!

Perhaps the only man to have made a step up from that day is Alain Perrin, who is currently enjoying his job at French club Lyon who are top of the league, but are at risk of going out of the Champions League in the group stage.

Harry Redknapp is also someone who has come a long way since that day at Liverpool. His Southampton side were 3-0 up at home to Leeds on the same day but they managed to lose 4-3! These days he's seen as one of the favourites to take the England job after what he has achieved with Pompey.

Of course, I wouldn't want him to leave and I doubt any Pompey fan in their right mind would want him to leave for the national job either. Whatever you think about Harry as a person, there is no question that he is a talisman of this club.

When a club loses their talisman, things go pear shaped very quickly. Charlton went down when Curbishley left, Chelsea are unlikely to win anything without Mourinho and Bolton are struggling without Sam Allardyce. Therefore we simply can't afford to lose Harry to England.

So there you have it, a turnaround of massive proportions in just two years time thanks largely to Sacha Gaydamak and Harry Redknapp. If they both stay at the club, who knows what we might have achieved in two years time?