The Demise of Portsmouth: Part One

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The Demise of Portsmouth: Part One
(Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

In the first of a three-part series, I will look at the demise of Portsmouth through the last two years.

Currently, Portsmouth have gotten off to the worst start in Premier League history, as they have lost all seven of their Premier League matches, and are in the middle of a major financial situation that could cause Portsmouth to become the first Premier League club since Leeds United in 2003-2004 to go bankrupt.

In this first edition of this series, I will look upon the success of Portsmouth during the 2007-2008 season and the beginning of their 2008-2009 season.


Portsmouth 2007-2008 Season in Review

At the beginning of the 2007-2008 season, Portsmouth appeared to be ready to make another push forward to becoming a strong club in the English Premier League after a ninth place finish in 2006-2007.

During their preseason, Portsmouth won the Barclays Asia Trophy on penalties over Liverpool, with David James stopping Yossi Benayoun and Fernando Torres on penalties.

As the season begun, Portsmouth started off by playing strong against each of their opponents, which included draws against Manchester United and Liverpool at Fratton Park, and winning a thrilling 7-4 match over Reading.

As the calendar year of 2007 ended, Portsmouth started to win most of their away Premier League matches, and found themselves as one of the top teams in the Premier League as 2008 begun.

With the new year, Portsmouth started off their FA Cup campaign by beating Ipswich Town and Preston North End, both of which by a 1-0 score, and had to head up to Old Trafford in Manchester to take on Man United in the FA Cup quarterfinal.

During the quarterfinal, Portsmouth shocked Old Trafford by beating United 1-0, and went to the FA Cup semifinal, where they beat West Bromwich 1-0, which secured them a spot in the FA Cup final against Cardiff City.

The FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium was the first for Portsmouth since 1939 (which they won), and in this cup final, Portsmouth once again found themselves victorious, as they won 1-0 over Cardiff City. With their eighth place finish in the Premier League, Portsmouth qualified for their first ever UEFA Cup in what turned out to be one of the greatest seasons in the Pompey's history.

From this season, it appeared that Portsmouth could only go up, but changes were going to hurt the team dramatically.


Portsmouth's New Beginning

After winning the FA Cup and qualifying for the UEFA Cup, it appeared that Portsmouth were going to become one of the strongest clubs in the English Premier League.

To start off their season, Portsmouth went back to Wembley to take on Manchester United in the 2008 FA Community Shield, but lost on penalties to Man United, who were able to win their second straight Community Shield.

However, Portsmouth got off to a terrible start in the Premier League, losing their first three EPL games, but they were able to win their first ever game in Europe over Guimarares 2-0, and beat them 4-2 on aggregate, which got Portsmouth into the group stage of the UEFA Cup.

However, Portsmouth were still playing terribly in the Premier League, and manager Harry Redknapp decided he had enough of this.

Two days after Portsmouth lost their first ever UEFA Cup group stage match 3-0 to Braga, Redknapp left Pompey to travel to White Hart Lane, where he became the new manager of Tottenham Hotspur.

In Redknapp's place, Portsmouth promoted assistant Tony Adams to manager, but everything was now only going to get worse for Portsmouth. 

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