Isle of Wight   Pompey Supporters Club
The Chairman & Old Sage's View on Being a Pompey Supporter, Life & Everything Else  ...

The Old Sage has his say. 

Mid table. I keep saying it, but that’s where I think we will finish. One game up, one down that seems to be the way forward at the moment. A top half finish will represent a good season for me, as we all know this is a step up and a season or two to establish ourselves will be no bad thing. 

The first half was interesting to watch as I and the supporters who sit around me began to work out this league. It became clear to us that things happen quicker at this level, there seems very little time to dally on the ball. Passing has to be sharp. The most notable change in our style is that we now have fullbacks and not wingers. Last season Evans and Stevens spent more time attacking than defending and we could force sides back in that way. It seems now that our fullbacks will concentrate firstly on defending, a solid back four, but that’s not to say they can’t add to the attacking threat when the moment arises as was proved by Thompson’s ball in for the first goal. 

I was delighted to see Ben Close in the starting line up. I like Close, always have done, and just think he has been criminally underused for 2 seasons since he first broke through into the team. Give him a good run in the side and he will develop into a very good player. On Saturday he did the simple things, get the ball and pass it to a blue shirt, I don’t think he misplaced a pass the whole game. A couple of times he was caught in possession but I would put that down to not being quite up to the pace of the game having been sat in the stands, or on the bench, for so long. He seemed to form a good understanding with O’Keefe and in time he and May could do the same. 

It was also good to see Jamal Lowe find the net twice after some missed chances in recent games. His header was obviously crucial as the game was delicately poised after Devante Cole’s superb strike for the Cod Army. Fortunately for us Lowe’s header seemed to take all the fight out of Fleetwood and enable us to cruise to a big win, that didn’t look likely at 1-1. 

Hopefully somebody will also have a little word with Pitman and just get him to stay up front. He’s a goalscorer, he’s not a playmaker. Leave him up front, get the ball to him and our skipper will score goals at this level, as he is already proving. 

The thing that we are going to have to get used to is that KJ wants his players and lots of last season’s heroes are already gone or will only play small parts. That is the way football moves now and although I still think there was a place for the likes of Bennett, Naismith, Rose, Baker etc, the manager doesn’t, and it’s his opinion that counts. 

Onwards and upwards to Scunny, a very tough game. Let’s hope there’s no repeat of our last visit there.

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Last Saturday, away at AFC Wimbledon, was a pleasant surprise. 

By Wednesday morning I was about to draft an apology letter to Paul Cook. 

And by Saturday teatime I was very confused but a very happy bunny!! 

Needless to say the idea of changing my views on the last incumbent of the manager’s chair at PO4 didn’t last too long. But, by the same token, I haven’t been overly impressed with our friend Mr.Jackett...at best, we’ve been inconsistent. 

The day started with a visit to the George with a decent turnout including Mr. Cook the (former) banker, who was a bit too keen to keep everyone up to date with what was happening at Selhurst Park, and Mr.Cook (Old Sage) having a pint or two with the ‘boys’; big Kev was there as per usual, Mr.Webb managed to pop in for a fruit juice although Sandra was making hole in a couple of San Miguels;  my nipper was on a flying visit from Bristol and Macca was there minus Lushington John who had seen an opportunity and was busy focusing on selling sheds to the British Virgin Islands. Nobody was overly optimistic (except my grandson, Billy (he is only 10)) but with Pompey, at this moment in time you just don’t know. 

Saturday was a hard earned victory. 

4-1? A hard earned victory? I hear many of you occasional visitors to Park say...yes, the ones that didn’t invest in a season ticket.  

Yes, hard earned but fully deserved in the end. 

Fleetwood, yet another side from the lower league land of the giants, had spells when they used their physical superiority and good organisation to effectively control large parts of the first-half. For forty minutes the only discussion point was the loss of another left-back. That was until the ‘pork pie duo’ swung in to action with a nicely taken goal at the Fratton End. Half-time 1-0, take that we all thought...we had little idea what the second-half had in store for us! 

It didn’t look any too clever when Andy Cole’s nipper volleyed home an equaliser closely followed by two guilt-edged opportunities to take the lead that had their massive away following (estimated at about 70) on the edge of their seats with anticipation. That soon changed. 

A few minutes later Jamal got round the back on a corner and nodded in at the far post...we didn’t know it at the time because that was effectively game over. What we also didn’t know was that we were about to be treated two of the best individual Pompey goals I’ve seen at home since we boasted the likes of Kanu, Sheringham, Lua Lua, Yakubu and co among our ranks. The first one, our third, by Jamal Lowe was a cross-shot from a ridiculously oblique angle looked impossible from the north side, equally amazing from the south side when viewed on tv/internet...a fantastic finish from an individual who copped a bit of flak recently for his inability to put away the simplest of chances. 

As I say an amazing third and a very very classy fourth from Pitman who resembled someone who had just gone twelve rounds with Anthony Joshua (state of his face not to mention the ridiculously oversized shorts!). Lower North Seat S134 had the perfect view and we may already have seen our goal of the season. 

A splendid day. Yes 4-1 did flatter us but with finishing like that anything can and often does happen. 

On a few other points I thought that Donohue when he came on looked very comfortable; Close is a better bet than Adam May; get O’Keefe and Kennedy signed on as soon as possible; as much as I love him poor old Conor is definitely not a starter and it was good to see Evans back in the fold even if it was just for last twenty minutes or so. 

All back to the George, well half a dozen of us anyway, for a few more pints and the then the 8.00 hover home...splendid. 

Twelth!

Onwards and upwards

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As sure as night follows day, playing away mid-week on a rainy windswept night brings no rewards for our team. It is nice to see that despite the decision to totally decimate a championship winning team we are, at least, maintaining some of the traditions that we developed over the last three or four years! 

Sure all the reports are that we dominated large parts of the game and had we taken our chances we should have had at least five goals and that’s just in the second-half....but we didn’t, we lost against a side that only won their first points just four days ago.

Of course, there’s a few issues here and it is clear that the defence had a poor night but we need to remember that Clarke is just 21 years old and I can’t remember too many poor performances from him in the last two years. However it’s difficult to ‘tear up trees’ when your best two attacking players  (Bennett and Naismith), other than arguably Kennedy who is impressing a lot of fans, are sat on the bench. A respected sage (not Tony Cook) said to me the other day, ‘we have a championship winning side, we must have if we can afford to leave players like Rose and Evans sat in the stand!’ 

Question: What have Bennett, Naismith, Rose and Evans all got in common? Correct. 

Sure we’ve had some bad luck  (Holmes-Dennis and Jack Whatmough) but it wasn’t until the witching hour on transfer deadline day that we got anywhere near replacing Stevens and Doyle, something that should have been a priority from day one. We chose to (nearly) put all our eggs in one basket by bringing in Pitman, someone who is already proving to be a bit of luxury away from home. It would appear the business done on deadline day was that so bad, that is if you’re happy with loan deals, but by then we were well on our way to what can be best described as stumbling start. Let’s be clear, eight points from seven games is not a lot better than relegation form! 

The phrase ‘don’t mend it if it isn’t broken comes to mind’ but I fancy that this has got quite a lot to do with ego. 

I’d have been happy to leave it that today and wait for Saturday but then I came across an article on the News website that includes comments from our manager laying the blame for the result last night on individuals and happy to name them...the sort of thing that should be done in the dressing room or on the training pitch the next day. Very poor man management from someone who has so much experience. 

I’m not going to name names but there is a at least two of our team, the one that started last night, that look decidedly overweight...answers on a postcard please . 

Always look forward to home games (I go to everyone) but I can’t help thinking that we’ve created a problem that is all of our own making. Could be a tense Saturday afternoon; still the weatherman says it should be a nice day! 

PUP

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Please note that the views expressed in this column are my personal views not those of IOWPS



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