Day: April 11, 2010

Portsmouth 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur

It’s a question that many supporters of struggling teams have asked themselves over the years. Would you take a cup final appearance and relegation in the same season over years of relentless mediocrity? As a philosophical question, it taps into something fundamental about the psyche of the football supporter – sustainability versus living the dream, the nature of honour and romance set against the reality of the humdrum existence of the football supporter. Portsmouth supporters were prepared for the worst. West Ham United’s 1-0 win against Sunderland the day before had confirmed their relegation from the Premier League and, even though they had been preparing for this inevitability for a few weeks, nothing can fully quite prepare you for relegation. Today, though, wasn’t about the reality of the gruesomeness of their situation. Today was a day for the suspension of reality. It was a day for the sheer, visceral pleasure of the win. It was Portsmouth’s day in the sun, and it couldn’t have come against much better opposition for them. Much was made of the coming together at Wembley Stadium of Harry Redknapp and Portsmouth, but there were many other sub-plots to this story, with the Tottenham Hotspur team that they were facing being, as it was, peppered with players that had played at Portsmouth under Redknapp. Was it time, perhaps, for a little revenge? Again, the Wembley...

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Portsmouth: Rank Bad Management, But By Whom?

It says a lot, and none of it good, about the Premier League that all the right questions about Portsmouth’s situation are being asked by others, from HM Revenue and Customs to Private Eye magazine. It is becoming clearer by the day that Portsmouth Football Club has become a venue for an entirely non-football fight between two groups of business people. None of whom are called Ali Al-Faraj. In a recent Guardian interview, Ahmed Al-Faraj, the “brother” of the man Pompey fans have styled “Al-Mirage,” asked a pertinent question of those who doubted the credibility or very existence of the man who supposedly owned Portsmouth for over four months: “So who signed the documents with the Premier League and all the things with the banks, if he is not the owner?” Ahmed’s comments were part of an effort to show that his “brother” had “full charge” of Portsmouth and took all the executive decisions while he was the owner. It is difficult to see how this could be true. And not just because his “brother” was quoted, three weeks after buying Portsmouth, as saying: “It is not us who makes the decisions, the club has its admin and its board of directors, (so the decisions) are not in our hands.” Mind you, this “interview” was conducted “via telephone on loud-speaker whilst he was present in Ahmed’s car following the...

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