Season Review 05/06: Part I: Pre-Season
By Jim Bonner
Updated Wednesday, 10th May 2006
From the very beginning...Now that the season is over, Fratton Faithful takes you on a journey starting right from the first pre-season friendly played under Alain Perrin in what is a running feature of Portsmouth-Mad taking you through what was a turbulent but eventually triumphant season. So sit back, and cast your minds back to Tuesday 12th July 2005 where the story begins.
12/07/05: Pre-Season Friendly #1: Havant and Waterlooville 0 Pompey 6
The start of the pre-season campaign began at West Leigh Park where Pompey played local team Havant and Waterlooville who currently ply their trade in the Conference South. Over 5,000 fans crammed in to see first-hand the new arrivals in the Pompey team but only Laurent Robert would actually take part. A Pompey team consisting of David Unsworth, Ivica Mornar and Arjan De Zeeuw along with a returning Toddy would run rings around The Hawks as they were shot down 6-0 as goals from Robert, Mornar, De Zeeuw, Horsted, Toddy and another from Horsted wrapped up an extremely comfortable win. After the game Laurent Robert said that Pompey should be aiming for a top ten finish, and this thrashing would further raise expectations for the season.
16/07/05: Pre-Season Friendly #2: Yeovil Town 2 Pompey 4
Pompey's next fitness test would take place at Huish Park to take on newly promoted Yeovil Town. The travelling Pompey fans would see another new signing in Gregory Vignal and Pompey raced into a two goal lead with Mornar and Lua Lua scoring for Pompey. John Terry's brother Paul then got one back for the home side before half-time but O'Neil would score Pompey's third to restore a two goal cushion. Way would score in the second half against a much changed Pompey side to make the score 3-2 but Toddy capped off the game with another goal meaning another pre-season victory for Portsmouth.
19/07/05: Pre-Season Friendly #3: Bordeaux 3 Pompey 1
Pompey continued their pre-season preparations in Perrin's homeland against Ligue Une side Bordeaux. More new signings would play their first game for Pompey in the form of Andy O'Brien and John Viafara although it would be defeat for us against the eventual French League runners-up despite Robert scoring his third goal in three games from the penalty spot to really get fans excited about what he could do for us this season. Oh how we were mistaken! Bordeaux eventually won it after goals from Champions League final scorer Vladimir Smicer, Faubert and Balde.
23/07/05: Pre-Season Friendly #4: AS Monaco 2 Pompey 2
The Tour de France ended with a game against one of France's best known sides in AS Monaco. The signings kept coming and funnily enough, this game was probably the best game Azar Karadas had in a Pompey shirt as he scored eleven minutes into his debut. The game was level at half time due to a goal through Meriem two minutes later though we scored again after the break through Lua Lua and we looked like winning until Perrin changed the team almost completely and then Gigliotti equalised. However a draw against a decent Monaco side was nothing to be ashamed of and things were looking up for Pompey.
27/07/05: Pre-Season Friendly #5: Bournemouth 0 Pompey 3
Pompey returned to the South Coast and easily disposed of League One side Bournemouth as we cruised to a 3-0 victory in a comfortable performance which sounds a bit strange considering Sander Westerveld started this game! Goals from Karadas and Robert suggested they were both going to be the real deal and Arjan De Zeeuw sealed the victory late on. If this game could teach you anything about football it's that good pre-season form against lesser opposition means absolutely nothing when it comes to the real deal...
31/07/05: Pre-Season Friendly #6: Pompey 0 Inter Milan 2
This was the big one. The biggest friendly game Fratton Park had hosted in quite some time. Italian giants Inter Milan would come to the South Coast of England despite almost chickening out because of the recent London bombings. This wasn't their reserve side either as the likes of Adriano, Obafemi Martins, Dejan Stankovic and David Pizzaro all took part in the game. The latter two would score the goals that would win Inter the game however our performance showed promise and just that need for a goal poacher. This was also the first time Pompey fans would see the red and gold away kit being paraded on home soil which got a mixed reception. It was a great occasion though and here's hoping an even bigger team play at Fratton Park in a pre-season game next season. Juventus? Barcelona perhaps?
05/08/05: Pre-Season Friendly #7: Pompey 1 ADO Den Haag 0
This game was originally scheduled to be played the following day against Iran however they bottled it and instead a quick re-arrangement had to be made so credit to Den Haag for getting to England so quickly. This game would be significant for Arjan De Zeeuw as it would be the last time we would see him in a Pompey shirt before his transfer to Wigan. The game itself was a pretty dull affair with Karadas wasting a whole host of chances although Robert raised the expectations of Pompey fans of him even higher after he scored the winner and looking very impressive in pre-season. Pompey won 1-0 in this forgettable affair and the minor Pompey crowd would now only have to wait eight days for the proper season to begin.
The anticipation grew ever stronger as the opening day approached with mixed expectation. What would happen this season? I don't think anyone could have predicted the way it would have turned out....for sure.