Joe Strange - Soap opera on the south coast
Published: 15 Feb 2010 - 09:11:25
Anyone who's kept an eye on the goings on at Portsmouth this week might be forgiven for thinking that the best writers from Coronation Street, Eastenders and Hollyoaks are on the payroll at Fratton Park.
A week consisting of a crushing defeat, own goals, late equalisers, sendings-off, High Court hearings and a derby victory has helped propel the south coast soap opera to the top of the ratings - in terms of entertainment at least.
Nobody likes to see a football club in the financial situation Portsmouth currently find themselves in, even fans of their arch rivals Southampton might have some sympathy after watching their own club placed into administration last year.
But as awful a situation as it is, there can be no denying that Pompey this season, and particular over the last week, have been fantastic viewing - both on and off the pitch.
Obviously their on-field performances have left a lot to be desired but a scrappy 1-0 away win over Wolves after seven consecutive defeats from the opening seven league games, a home victory over Liverpool and a good run in the FA Cup are just some of the instances when the board room drama has been transmitted to Saturday afternoons.
Off the pitch we've seen unpaid players, tax bills and transfer fees, managerial changes, key players sold, new owners and more new owners.
All in all it's a bit of a mess - and that's being very kind indeed. How and why the owners, both past and present, let things develop to the point where the club is at risk of going out of existence is anyone's guess.
Their problems haven't just appeared overnight. It must have taken a good few years of uncontrollable wage bills, dodgy transfer dealings and other financial misgivings to reach this point.
Writing this now, I feel myself getting frustrated at the abysmal way in which the club has been run in recent times - and I don't even support Pompey.
Yes it is difficult for clubs outside the top four to make a profit with no Champions League revenue to boost the coffers but there is no way any top flight clubs should be on the brink of going out of business, let alone one which lifted the FA Cup the season before last.
Thinking about it now, the last week has almost been a microcosm of Portsmouth's last couple of seasons. First came a crushing 5-0 defeat against Manchester United last Saturday, a game which saw Pompey score an impressive three own goals - a parallel of the many mistakes made by the owners and board members of the last two years.
Then a 96th-minute equaliser from Aruna Dindane snatched a much-needed point at home to Sunderland on Tuesday evening - a continuation of the unwanted drama which has plagued the club since Harry Redknapp's departure last season.
Wednesday brought a high court hearing over an unpaid VAT bill of £7.4 million. The court gave Pompey a stay of execution after adjourning the winding-up order until this week - a situation with similarities to their current league position which sees them languishing at the bottom of the Premier League table six points from safety, relegation looking inevitable.
But then Saturday lunchtime came along and a 4-1 away win over fierce local rivals Southampton in the FA Cup fifth round, cue scenes of delirium among Pompey fans - a throwback to their triumph over Cardiff in the competition's final in 2008.
If the football scriptwriters continue to have their way with Portsmouth's very own soap opera you can be sure there will be plenty of twists and turns right up until the end of the season. Let's just hope someone doesn't decide to kill them off once and for all…
READ JOE STRANGE EXCLUSIVELY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK EVERY MONDAY
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:joe strange
- A product of Brighton University's prolific youth system, Joe Strange has boundless energy and the enviable ability to cover every blade of grass in his Monday blog. Joe has written for a variety of football websites and fanzines and is also a regular contributor to golf.co.uk. Despite being born and raised in Kent, 'Stranger' is a diehard Everton fan and counts his team's penalty shoot-out victory against Manchester United last season as his most memorable football moment. Follow Joe on Twitter @joe_strange.
Previous Blog Posts
- Carling Cup final shakes 'Mickey Mouse' tag
- Jack Wilshere comes of age against Barcelona
- Liverpool and Newcastle risk it all on deadline day
- Darren Bent could prove a shrewd investment
- Does anyone care about the FA Cup?
- Five predictions for 2011
- Everton prove you can't buy team spirit
- Glory glory Tottenham Hotspur
- Carroll set for career-defining England bow
- West Ham troubles show no sign of stopping
- Liverpool crisis is far from over
- Same old England, always boring
- Wenger's morals threaten Arsenal future
- Mancini is the right man for City's revolution
- Hand Chelsea the title now
- Everton v United was a modern day classic
- Rooney allegations are no surprise
- Arteta could have been an England legend
- Sweet revenge for Newcastle
- Ian Holloway is a genius
- Capello has lost the plot
- Bring on the Premier League
- My World Cup XI
- Suarez proved footballers do have brains
- Do-or-die time for England
- Spain are still favourites
- James is the right man for the biggest stage
- World Cup stage set for a King
- Why England will win the World Cup
- Top five Premier League signings of the season
- Portsmouth proud despite defeat
- Ferguson handed Chelsea the title
- Super Frankie Lampard
- Relegation class of 2010 will be long gone
- Is this the greatest Premier League season
- Portsmouth deserved their fairytale
- Manchester United are a one man team
- Ten reasons Zola has to go
- Chelsea confidence is key
- Wayne Rooney has come of age
- Aston Villa are in the ascendancy
- A dark weekend for the Premier League
- Fearless Everton are filthy rich in belief
- Soap opera on the south coast
- Why six clubs deserve to be relegated
- John Terry was already tarnished
- Magic of the Cup is alive and well
- Arsenal reveal their mean streak
- Chelsea prosper as rivals freeze