Everton vs Portsmouth

Last updated : 13 September 2005 By Keith Allman

"Bill Kenwright, Howard Kendall, Daniel Amokachi, Dixie Dean, Norman Whiteside, the bloke in charge of the 1985 FA Cup final song, Pat Nevin, Neville Southall, oh Neville Southall, Paul McCartney, the gobby one from Atomic Kitten, 'Comedy' Dave - your boys took one hell of a beating!!!!"

There have been some big shocks in the past. I expressed mild surprise at England's defeat to Northern Ireland earlier this week. I let out a large horror film like gasp when James Beattie was selected as one of the best 26 English players in the world no less than four times, and I nay on collapsed when Deidre went down on Coronation Street (make your own jokes!!). Don't get me wrong; I'm not easily shocked. 'Brenda' the transvestite van driver that has moved in down my road has seen to that (she's got stubble and a bald patch - the lot). But all this has steeled me into a hardened unimpressionable man; an essential trait needed by every Pompey fan. But even I of the most optimistic school of thought when it comes to my beloved Blues did not expect a win on Saturday. A draw maybe, but not a win surely?

It was not the best of build-ups I think we'll all agree. One point from four games including a loss to West Brom, Perrin given the dreaded 'vote of confidence / kiss of death' by Milan, stories of dressing room un rest and question marks over Perrin's management style. Throw into the mix four new signings that have barely been introduced to their new team mates (and two of which that don't speak English) and the International break interrupting the 'boot camp' training schedule you could forgive the boys for being a bit overwhelmed.

But what should befall us on Saturday but the most cohesive and dynamic display of the season and (large gasp) a win! And what's more an away win. You can almost hear David Attenborough now;

"This is the most rare of species, a Portsmouth away win, the like hasn't been seen around these parts of Merseyside since the 1950's. Watch in all its glory as it realises its not in its usual habitat and defends on the six yard line inviting trouble. A truly magnificent sight."

There's been much criticism and condemnation of Alain Perrin's men this season so let's have some credit where credit is due. It was a great performance Saturday when all is considered. The only mark against is that we should have scored more after the chances we created. Silva, Diao, O'Neil and the irrepressible Lua all reserved great displays in a performance that suggested we might just be alright. At least with the signings made we have some options, Silva looks to have a good touch and Diao looks as though he's got a point to prove (as Amdy Faye gets another 4 rating for an 'anonymous display' in the national press). Vukic was only given 20 mins so it's hard to judge but I believe he is the key to our season if the promise of midfield goals and creative spark is to be believed. If Collins Mbesuma is half the player he was billed to be (and let's please hope he is, rumours he was not in the squad Saturday due to the ref not permitting his use of a sports bra were refuted by the club!!) when he signed he will be an exciting player hard to deal with and will also feel like a new signing. He is someone I would like to see in action soon at the expense of Norway's very own version of Hamilton Thorp, my friend and yours Azar Karadas.

It's a long season. We shouldn't get carried away with one away win in the same way that we shouldn't get overly depressed with a few defeats. But I can't help it. A win against Birmingham on Saturday (which has got be the target, and is well achievable) will propel us into a healthy position for this stage in the season. The only gripe would then be the lost points against a pretty poor West Brom side that we should be getting something from. My pre season crystal ball (the very same ball which won me a cool £200 at the weekend) had us at 10 points from 6 games after the Brum game. I don't think 7 points from 6 would be anything too shabby and considering we don't play any of the 'big three' until November 29 I don't think there will be too much mis-placed faith in presuming that the mighty Blues could pick up a few more points before then. Maybe as we have swelled the squad we might even dream about a decent Carling Cup run, but let's not get too fanciful. Three points on Saturday would be just fine. For now.

By Chris Pook