Tag Archives: Portsmouth

Great Goals: Kevin Nolan – BOLTON WANDERERS vs. Portsmouth (September 2005)

Kevin Nolan’s best season at Bolton Wanderers was arguably in the 2005-2006 season. He scored a flurry of great goals which saw him linked with a possible England call-up from Sven-Goran Eriksson; a cap he was destined never to receive.

Nolan showed off his acrobatic range with this overhead kick against Portsmouth in September 2005. It was a game low on quality and chances but Nolan did produce a worthy moment to settle the match between the two sides.

After 24 minutes, Henrik Pedersen looped a ball into the penalty area which was kept alive by his strike partner, Kevin Davies. Davies’ header reached Nolan but it was behind him so the midfielder improvised with an awesome overhead kick that left Portsmouth goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown motionless.

Bolton’s 1-0 victory took them to third place in the table and this was part of Nolan’s qualities in his game, especially during this purple patch of form during his spell at The Reebok Stadium.

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Premier League Files: Benjani

Premier League Career: Portsmouth (2006-2008), Manchester City (2008-2009), Sunderland (2010), Blackburn Rovers (2010-2011)

Benjani became only the third Zimbabwean player after Bruce Grobbelaar and Peter Ndlovu to play in the Premier League. He played for four clubs in the top-flight between 2006 and 2011, though it was his spell at Portsmouth for which he will forever be associated with.

Benjani began his career playing in South African football before moving to Europe in 2001, joining Swiss outfit Grasshoppers Zurich on-loan. A year later, he moved to a talented Auxerre side and made the most of an injury to Djibril Cisse, settling down and scoring goals quickly for Guy Roux’s side. He scored seven times in his debut season and experienced UEFA Champions League football for the first time. 11 goals followed in the 2004-2005 campaign but when Jacques Santini succeeded Roux as manager, he tweaked the formation and Benjani was made surplus to requirements.

Marseille expressed an interest to sign him but Benjani liked English football and went to Portsmouth instead. The south coast club paid a club-record fee of £4.1 million to sign him in January 2006. Harry Redknapp made the purchase after receiving a recommendation from Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger.

Benjani was instantly ridiculed by pundits for his lack of goals but the fans loved him at Fratton Park, impressing with his high work-rate and setting up chances for his teammates. It took him 15 games before he found the back of the net for Pompey but it was a crucial goal in a 2-1 victory away at Wigan Athletic, helping Portsmouth to avoid relegation from the top-flight.

His best season undoubtedly was in 2007-2008. In the encounter against Reading in September 2007, Benjani scored a hat-trick in a thrilling 7-4 victory for Portsmouth which remains the highest scoring match in Premier League history. In January 2008, he scored another treble as Pompey came from behind to defeat Derby County 3-1. That took his tally to 12 goals for the season, surpassing his target of 10 that he’d personally set. However, it would be the last goal of his first spell at the club.

Sven-Goran Eriksson was interested in signing the player and on transfer deadline day, Portsmouth accepted an £8 million bid from Manchester City. Benjani was reluctant to leave but Pompey had already agreed to sign Jermain Defoe from Tottenham Hotspur and planned to finalise the transfer by selling Benjani. Despite missing two flights to Manchester for a planned medical, the move did eventually go through.

He made a great debut, scoring a header to win the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford for his new club. He added further goals against his former club Portsmouth and Fulham. However, Eriksson left in the summer of 2008 and along with injuries and added competition from the likes of Robinho and Craig Bellamy, Benjani’s amount of game time became seriously limited.

He was allowed to leave in the summer of 2009 but failed to agree personal terms over a transfer to Hull City. He remained at Eastlands until a loan move to Sunderland in February 2010 which didn’t materialise into a permanent switch. Released by Manchester City in summer 2010, Benjani joined Blackburn Rovers in August 2010. He did score twice in a 3-1 victory over Liverpool FC in January 2011 but although Blackburn were interested in keeping him beyond 2010-2011, he turned a new contract down and made an emotional return to Portsmouth, who were now playing in the Championship.

However, he couldn’t replicate his form from his previous spell at Portsmouth and was released after just a year. He finished his playing career in 2014 after a spell back in South African football.

Seasonal Stories: Portsmouth (2003-2004)

Lucky 13

In 2003-2004, Portsmouth made their Premier League debut after storming to the First Division title in the previous season. Former West Ham United manager Harry Redknapp was the man behind the revival at Fratton Park, ably supported by ex-Derby County boss Jim Smith.

Portsmouth made an incredible start, staying unbeaten in their first five matches and topping the table briefly in mid-August. A catalogue of injuries in mid-season threatened to derail the campaign but a South Coast Derby victory over Southampton in March was the catalyst for a brilliant run towards the end of the season. Pompey finished in a creditable 13th and ahead of some bigger established sides too.

Squad: Shaka Hislop, Pavel Srnicek (Left in February 2004), Harald Wapenaar, Linvoy Primus, Boris Zivkovic (Left in January 2004), Dejan Stefanovic, Hayden Foxe, Arjan de Zeeuw, Sebastien Schemmel, Richard Duffy, John Curtis, Petri Pasanen, Kevin Harper, Tim Sherwood, Nigel Quashie, Amdy Faye, Matt Taylor, Carl Robinson, Steve Stone, Richard Hughes, Gary O’Neil, Alexey Smertin, Patrik Berger, Eyal Berkovic, Vincent Pericard, Svetoslav Todorov, Deon Burton, Ivica Mornar, Lomana Lualua, Teddy Sheringham, Yakubu, Jason Roberts (Left in January 2004)

Early experience pays off

In pre-season, Portsmouth ensured that they would have some useful experience amongst their ranks. First to arrive was former Czech international Patrik Berger, whose contract had expired at Liverpool FC. Berger was also joined by Teddy Sheringham who was in a similar predicament after his second stint at Tottenham Hotspur had come to an end. Neither cost any money and Redknapp wasted no time in getting both added by the end of June.

Further experience arrived from abroad. Boris Zivkovic was another free capture transfer from the Bundesliga. He’d helped Bayer 04 Leverkusen reach the UEFA Champions League final in 2002. Also arriving before the big kick-off was Amdy Faye for an estimated £1.5 million from Auxerre and ex-Sheffield Wednesday defender Dejan Stefanovic from Vitesse Arnhem for £1.85 million. Portsmouth had done some smart business in the summer transfer window.

However, one of their talismanic figures from the previous season wouldn’t be sticking around. Despite captaining the side to their First Division title success, Paul Merson left in July, returning to the second-tier with Walsall. The main reason was to move closer to his family who were based in the Midlands. When paying tribute to his departing captain, Redknapp admitted: “He doesn’t feel he can play in the Premier now and I think he knows himself better than anybody. He said he played in the Premier League two years ago and found it difficult, so he certainly didn’t think it was going to be easier now.”

Portsmouth made a brilliant start to their maiden Premier League campaign and only their second top-flight experience in the last 45 years. They kicked off the campaign with a Saturday lunchtime kick-off at home to Aston Villa. Sheringham opened the scoring before half-time and Berger finished off a flowing team move to double the lead just after the hour mark. Gareth Barry did score a late consolation from the penalty spot but was sent off before full-time and Pompey had their first win on opening day.

The form continued in their next home match, where Sheringham truly rolled back the years. The veteran forward scored a second half hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers and the first treble of the 2003-2004 season. The 4-0 victory took Portsmouth briefly to the top of the table for 24 hours. Three away draws made it an excellent opening and one of those points gained was at Highbury. Sheringham again scoring to keep his rich vein of form going and Arsenal’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw was through a disputed penalty where Robert Pires went down under the challenge of Arjan de Zeeuw even though it looked like the Frenchman had tripped himself up. Thierry Henry converted the spot-kick and Redknapp was not amused. Nevertheless, it was a very encouraging start.

TABLE ON 15th September 2003

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Arsenal 5 4 1 0 11 3 +8 13
2 Manchester United 5 4 0 1 9 2 +7 12
3 Manchester City 5 3 1 1 12 6 +6 10
4 Chelsea 4 3 1 0 10 6 +4 10
5 PORTSMOUTH 5 2 3 0 8 3 +5 9
6 Southampton 5 2 3 0 5 2 +3 9

Slipping down the table

Portsmouth’s first defeat in their Premier League history came a week later when they were beaten 2-1 by Blackburn Rovers on home soil. At Fratton Park, they were formidable and not many sides enjoyed great success on the south coast throughout the season. In fact, they lost only five home matches all season and out of the teams that struggled all campaign, only Leicester City and Everton left with all three points.

Home form saw a couple of major scalps along the way. Liverpool FC visited Fratton Park in mid-October and left with a 1-0 defeat against their name. Against his former club, Berger scored the only goal of the game after four minutes. Three weeks later, Leeds United were destroyed 6-1 in a result that saw Peter Reid lose his job as Leeds boss. The win still remains Portsmouth’s biggest margin of victory in their Premier League history. Gary O’Neil scored twice on the day and he was one of the most consistent performers in the squad all season.

It was a different story away from home with a familiar tale of no points and no goals to show for their efforts. Redknapp and his team endured pointless and goalless trips to Birmingham City, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Chelsea.

When Southampton cruised to a 3-0 victory in the first South Coast Derby match of the season just before Christmas, Portsmouth had dropped into the bottom three after a run of one win in eight games. The early season optimism had somewhat got sour. With a growing injury list, fresh faces were added to the ranks in the January transfer window.

Still no away joy

Boxing Day did bring some light relief. A second half double from Berger helped Pompey to a 2-0 home victory against an out-of-form Tottenham Hotspur side. The opening of the January window gave the experienced Portsmouth manager the opportunity to refresh and reenergise his side.

Creative midfielder Eyal Berkovic was the first addition, coming in after he’d fallen out of favour with Kevin Keegan at Manchester City. Berkovic was one of six additions in a busy window. Also arriving were Lomana Lualua on-loan from Newcastle United, defender John Curtis on a free transfer from Leicester City and Croatian international forward Ivica Mornar for £400,000 from Anderlecht.

Exiting the club was Zivkovic. The Croatian had featured 18 times in the Premier League but a public spat with Redknapp led to the defender being released. A return ticket to the Bundesliga awaited him, as he joined VfB Stuttgart who were still competing in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds.

However, there was still no away joy. Portsmouth put in one of their best away displays of the campaign at White Hart Lane in early February against Tottenham. They equalised three times on the afternoon with new signings Berkovic, Lualua and Mornar all finding the back of the net. However, Gus Poyet’s 89th minute strike gave Spurs a fortunate 4-3 victory. By 20th March, Portsmouth were in desperate trouble. Just one win in 2004 in the Premier League left them in the bottom three with 10 games to play and two points adrift of safety. Victory was paramount in their next fixture against bitter rivals Southampton.

South Coast Derby revenge

On an afternoon in mixed conditions with sunshine and hailstorms, Portsmouth simply had to win the second South Coast Derby of the season. It was only Paul Sturrock’s second match as Southampton manager and he ended up on the losing side. Steve Stone’s cross found Yakubu and the Nigerian settled a scrappy contest in the 68th minute in Pompey’s favour. The 1-0 win was the lift-off needed for a fantastic end to the season.

A week later, the away hoodoo was finally broken. Yakubu, who would finish as the club’s top scorer in the league with 16 goals, struck the decisive goal in the 82nd minute for a 2-1 win on the road at Blackburn Rovers. It was a massive victory for the travelling faithful and took Portsmouth out of the bottom three for the first time since mid-January. They wouldn’t fall into it again for the remainder of the season.

In fact, Portsmouth lost only one of their last 10 fixtures and that was on the penultimate weekend away at already relegated Leicester City. Survival had already been clinched a week earlier by a 1-1 home draw with Fulham, whilst other results condemned the Foxes and Wolverhampton Wanderers. One of the season’s main highlights was a home victory over outgoing champions Manchester United. Stone scored his only goal of the season in the 1-0 win. Out of the division’s final top 10 – only Chelsea and Charlton Athletic claimed all three points on their visits to Fratton Park.

Portsmouth and in particular, Yakubu finished the season in the grand manner at home to Middlesbrough. The forward scored four goals and Sheringham concluded his one-season stay with an 80th minute goal in the 5-1 win over Boro. Portsmouth finished in 13th and ahead of four clubs on much bigger budgets in Tottenham Hotspur, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Everton.

It had been a very successful debut season in the Premier League for Portsmouth and a reminder of how good a manager Harry Redknapp was.

FINAL 2003-2004 TABLE – 11th to 16th  

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
11 Middlesbrough 38 13 9 16 44 52 -8 48
12 Southampton 38 12 11 15 44 45 -1 47
13 PORTSMOUTH 38 12 9 17 47 54 -7 45
14 Tottenham Hotspur 38 13 6 19 47 57 -10 45
15 Blackburn Rovers 38 12 8 18 51 59 -8 44
16 Manchester City 38 9 14 15 55 54 +1 41

The Managers: Harry Redknapp

Premier League Clubs Managed: West Ham United (1994-2001), Portsmouth (2003-2004), (2005-2008), Southampton (2004-2005), Tottenham Hotspur (2008-2012), Queens Park Rangers (2012-2013), (2014-2015)

Harry Redknapp’s career in professional football has spanned a staggering six decades. He had moderate success as a player but in management, has become one of the English game’s most charismatic and enjoyable characters to witness. He remains the last English manager to win the FA Cup when he guided Portsmouth to the trophy in 2008 and in 2018, become the star of the ITV reality programme I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! Redknapp became King of the Jungle.

His son, Jamie Redknapp played under him at both AFC Bournemouth and Southampton whilst the football connections continue with him being uncle to Frank Lampard, who is now making his first steps in management at Derby County.

In his playing career, Redknapp was a midfielder. He began his career at Tottenham Hotspur before moving to West Ham United at the age of 15. He broke into the Hammers first-team in the 1965-1966 season and would spend the next seven seasons in the East End of London. His best campaign was in 1968-1969, where he was a regular fixture in their team, scoring three times in 42 appearances. In total, he made 175 appearances in all competitions for West Ham.

He dropped into Division Three in 1972, joining AFC Bournemouth, spending four seasons on the south coast. In 1976, he got the opportunity to experience the American game, joining Seattle Sounders as a player-coach, reaching the play-offs in his first season out there before losing in the Division Championship final to the Minnesota Kicks. By now, Harry’s playing career was winding down but his time in management was about to get its first significant scalp.

Taking United’s scalp

He began his coaching time as an assistant manager, first to his former teammate Bobby Moore at Oxford City in the Isthmian League, then with David Webb at AFC Bournemouth. When Webb left midway through the 1982-1983 season to take the vacant position at Torquay United, Redknapp applied for the position but the board elected to give the position to Don Megson. It didn’t work out for Megson and when he was sacked with the club in the Third Division relegation zone, Harry was hired as his successor in October 1983.

Months into his first management post, he took a huge scalp as Bournemouth stunned mighty Manchester United in the FA Cup third round, beating the cup holders 2-0. This gained big national publicity and increased his rapport with the supporters which remains today whenever he comes back to The Vitality Stadium as a spectator.

Redknapp’s first major honour as a manager came in 1987 when he guided Bournemouth to the Third Division title when they broke their own club record for most points in a season, amassing 97 by the season’s end. The Cherries stayed at Second Division level for three years before being relegated in 1990. Fate was about to play its part in the next chapter of his career.

Road accident twist

At the 1990 World Cup finals in Italy, Redknapp experienced an event that would change the course of his career. On 30th June in Rome, he was on a chauffeur-driven minibus that was involved in a head-on collision with a car that was carrying three Italian soldiers.

The minibus was flipped onto its roof in the accident and doused in petrol, Redknapp was pulled to safety by York City owner Michael Sinclair, who was travelling with him at the time. He suffered a fractured skull, cracked ribs and a broken nose and also lost all his sense of smell in the accident. Tragically, there were four deaths in the crash. The soldiers in the other vehicle were all killed as was one of his best friends, the Bournemouth managing director, Brian Tiler. Had it not been for Sinclair’s intervention, there is a good chance Redknapp wouldn’t have survived.

Scarred and shattered by the experience, Redknapp returned to Dean Court in time for the new season but the zest had disappeared and he chose to resign from his position as manager at the end of the 1991-1992 season. He decided to return to the other club he’d represented as a player, West Ham United in a reduced capacity.

Redknapp returned to an assistant manager’s role, serving as no.2 to club legend Billy Bonds. It was a role he would hold for the next two seasons and a position he seemed more than comfortable with. However, with his former club Bournemouth keen to rehire him as manager in the summer of 1994, the West Ham board made a decisive decision. They decided to offer Redknapp the managerial position and move Bonds into a role upstairs. Bonds was furious and promptly quit on the eve of the 1994-1995 campaign beginning. Redknapp was now the boss at Upton Park. It damaged the relationship between the two to a point where they didn’t speak to each other for years afterwards.

Redknapp admitted: “It wasn’t a situation I wanted, I was happy working with Billy. I had nine years managing Bournemouth and didn’t want the aggro. But I suppose I came round to it.”

Stabilising the Hammers

Harry Redknapp would remain West Ham manager for seven years and for the majority of that time, enjoyed plenty of success, whilst ensuring the football played at The Boleyn Ground was often exciting for the supporters. Redknapp was keen to see youngsters come through the academy and the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole all made their breakthrough into the senior team under his tenure as Hammers boss.

It was an initial early struggle after succeeding Bonds and West Ham were at the wrong end of the table for the majority of the 1994-1995 season. However, the goals of Tony Cottee kept them safe from relegation, finishing in 14th place at the season’s end. There were crucial victories in the run-in at home to Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool FC and on the final day, their point at home to Manchester United denied the Red Devils a third successive title with the Premier League championship heading to Lancashire and to Blackburn for the first time in 81 years.

West Ham finished in the top half of the table in four of the next five campaigns with their best-ever Premier League finish being recorded in 1998-1999. A 5th place in the table ensured qualification for the much-criticised UEFA Intertoto Cup. West Ham came back early for pre-season that summer to win the competition and earn a place in the UEFA Cup.

However, tensions would rise in his final campaign with the club in 2000-2001. After an underwhelming season with the club in the bottom half of the table, he departed one match before the end of the campaign. It wasn’t until 2007 that Redknapp admitted that he had been sacked by owner Terry Brown. Brown had offered him a four-year contract but when Redknapp made some comments about him to a fanzine, those comments were leaked and reached the owner. Brown was less than impressed. Redknapp said: “I walked into his office expecting to sign the contract and walked out without a job!”

From Pompey to Saints, then back to Pompey

He returned to the managerial dugout at First Division Portsmouth in March 2002, replacing Graham Rix with the club struggling to avoid relegation. Redknapp was already at the club as Director of Football and he moved downstairs after a string of poor performances that even had owner Milan Mandaric threatening not to pay the players. He eventually did after mounting pressure.

After guiding them to safety, Redknapp added experience to the squad with the useful addition of Paul Merson and ex-Derby County boss Jim Smith joined him as assistant manager. Portsmouth stormed to the First Division title in 2002-2003 and were about to embark on Premier League football for the first time.

Survival was achieved in 2003-2004 after an excellent run towards the end of the season that saw the club finish 13th and be the only side out of the three promoted clubs that campaign to avoid the drop. The signings of Teddy Sheringham, Patrik Berger and Steve Stone played a significant part in their impressive debut campaign.

The 2004-2005 season started positively. There was a 4-3 win over Fulham and a super 2-0 success at home to Manchester United, with Yakubu in great goalscoring form. Two wins and two draws from four games in October 2004 saw Redknapp win the Manager of the Month award. He seemed a happy man. Or so we thought?

Mandaric was keen to hire Velimir Zajec as Director of Football and this was something that led to a major disagreement between the chairman and his manager. The off-field issues started to effect on-field performances. Portsmouth lost meekly to Aston Villa, Southampton and Manchester City in quick succession and after another row with Mandaric over the desire to move his assistant manager Smith on, Redknapp elected to walk away in November 2004.

Just over two weeks later, he turned up down the road at south coast rivals Southampton, replacing Steve Wigley as the club’s new manager. In the eyes of the Pompey supporters, Harry had just committed the ultimate betrayal. T-shirts were printed, calling him “Judas” and “Scummer” and it took a while for Redknapp to realise how angry the supporters felt towards him because of the fierce rivalry between the two clubs.

He admitted on the eve of his first return to Fratton Park after his departure in April 2005: “I’m not looking forward to it. It will be a difficult day. I will be glad to get it out of the way to be honest.”

He was right. Portsmouth supporters goaded him all afternoon and his new side were well-beaten 4-1. Defeat on the final day at home to Manchester United confirmed the Saints’ relegation to the Championship after a 27-year stay in England’s top-flight. It was his first Premier League relegation too.

He stayed on at Southampton that summer but was unhappy with chairman Rupert Lowe’s decision to add former coach of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup success, Sir Clive Woodward as technical director. With the club failing to sustain any consistency in the Championship to become promotion contenders, he walked out on Southampton in early December 2005.

To complete the south coast soap opera saga, he returned to Portsmouth after they had sacked his initial replacement, Alain Perrin. The club were in relegation danger and in early March 2006, looked almost certainties for the drop. Then, two cracking goals from Pedro Mendes helped Pompey to a vital 2-1 home win over Manchester City. Further wins followed over West Ham United, Fulham, Middlesbrough and Sunderland and on the final Saturday of the season, a 2-1 success away at Wigan saw them escape relegation at the expense of Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion. For now, Redknapp was a hero again with Portsmouth supporters. It had been a crazy few years.

Spurs come calling

Portsmouth finished ninth and eighth in the next two Premier League campaigns and with more money to spend following a takeover by Alexandre Gaydamak, they became a formidable side capable of challenging for the European positions.

In 2008, Redknapp led the side to victory in the FA Cup. After knocking out favourites Manchester United with a stunning quarter-final victory, Portsmouth saw off West Bromwich Albion in the semi-finals and Cardiff City in the final with Kanu scoring the winning goal. It was the club’s first FA Cup final in 69 years and to this day, Redknapp remains the last English manager to win a major English trophy.

During the 2007-2008 campaign, Newcastle United had made an approach to Redknapp but Harry turned down this opportunity to stay at Portsmouth. He couldn’t do that though when Tottenham Hotspur came calling in October 2008. Spurs were in dire straits, bottom of the Premier League having collected just two points from their first eight league fixtures. Daniel Levy had dismissed Juande Ramos and approached Portsmouth for Redknapp’s services. A £5 million compensation fee was agreed and Redknapp was on his way to White Hart Lane, returning to the club where he had started his playing career.

There was an immediate turnaround in results. Tottenham beat Bolton 2-0 in his first game as manager and days later, they produced a remarkable turnaround from 4-2 down in the closing stages to draw the North London Derby with Arsenal 4-4 at The Emirates. Five players were added in the January transfer window, including swift returns to Tottenham for Pascal Chimbonda, Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane. They eventually finished well clear of danger, achieving 51 points for an eighth place finish and the club reached the League Cup final, losing on penalties to Manchester United.

In 2009-2010, he led Tottenham to the UEFA Champions League for the first time, finished in a brilliant fourth place in the table. The qualification was secured by a late Peter Crouch header to defeat major rivals Manchester City 1-0 at The City of Manchester Stadium. Redknapp received a soaking afterwards whilst conducting his post-match television duties from some of his players, especially David Bentley, who barely played for the club again afterwards. His efforts saw him become only the second manager to win the Premier League Manager of the Year award despite not winning the title.

Tottenham beat Swiss club BSC Young Boys in the play-off round to reach the Champions League group stages and they went on to beat both Milan clubs on their way to the quarter-finals where they eventually bowed out to Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid side 5-0 on aggregate. The 2010-2011 season was slightly less successful domestically with a 5th place finish meaning UEFA Europa League football for the following campaign. However, this was the campaign where Gareth Bale started to make his major impact and won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year whilst the supporters enjoyed a first victory at Arsenal in 17 years.

The 2011-2012 campaign started slowly with two big defeats to the Manchester clubs but Tottenham quickly recovered to become the closest challengers from outside the city. They were third for much of the campaign but faded dramatically after a 5-2 North London Derby defeat to Arsenal. Issues were starting to play their part away from the game.

In January 2010, he had been charged with two counts of tax evasion along with his former chairman at Portsmouth, Milan Mandaric. The charge related to a £189,000 payment made by Mandaric to Redknapp via a bank account in Monaco. The trial began in January 2012 and he was eventually acquitted of both charges two weeks later. Later that day, England’s manager Fabio Capello resigned after seeing his skipper John Terry stripped of the national team captaincy for the second time following allegations of racial abuse during a fixture between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea. Redknapp was the overwhelming favourite and admitted it was tempting to take the position if it was offered to him. However, he was overlooked and the FA chose the West Bromwich Albion manager Roy Hodgson as Capello’s successor.

Tottenham ensured a fourth place finish for the second time in three years on the final day of the season but Chelsea’s victory in the UEFA Champions League final a week later against Bayern Munich meant they took an automatic spot and relegated Spurs into the Europa League. In June 2012, he was dismissed by Tottenham after talks broke down over a new contract.

A tough time at QPR

Harry remained out of the game until November 2012 when he agreed to take over struggling Queens Park Rangers, who were winless when they appointed him to replace Mark Hughes. The task looked immense and he could only guide the team to four league victories during his time with a heavily imbalanced squad and a team that looked short on confidence. In April 2013, a terrible game at Reading saw the match finish goalless and both clubs relegated to the Championship.

Redknapp stayed on and guided QPR back to the top-flight at the first attempt, as Bobby Zamora struck a dramatic late goal in the Championship play-off final against Derby County. However, the Hoops struggled on their return back to the Premier League in 2014-2015. Despite the goals of Charlie Austin and a decent home record, their failure to claim a single point on their travels, plus failure to capture the players Redknapp desired in the January transfer window led to his resignation in February 2015. The reason for his departure was an imminent knee operation and he felt he couldn’t focus 100% on the job.

This turned out to be Redknapp’s last appointment in the Premier League but he has managed again since. He got his taste of international management with Asian country Jordan. He coached two matches in March 2016 – an 8-0 win over Bangladesh and a 5-1 defeat to Australia. A brief tenure followed at Birmingham City where he managed to guide them to Championship safety in 2016-2017 after two wins from their last three games of the season. However, a run of five straight defeats early on in 2017-2018 led to his sacking and admittance from Redknapp that this was likely to be his last position in football management.

His public persona has continued though when in October 2018, it was confirmed he was heading into the Australian jungle to take on the challenge of the ITV reality show ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ He was much-loved by his fellow campmates and also, the voting public. He beat former star of The Inbetweeners Emily Atack in the final to be crowned The King of the Jungle.

He has since managed a team of England legends including Merson, David Seaman and Robbie Fowler to victory against a team of German legends in ‘Harry’s Heroes…The Full English.’ Later this summer, he will be going on a nationwide tour, sharing some of his amazing experiences in the world of football.

He might be light on honours but with bundles of experience and knowledge of The Beautiful Game, Harry Redknapp has had an amazing career and has to be considered easily as one of the best English managers in Premier League history.

Premier League Files: Hayden Mullins

Premier League Career: West Ham United (2005-2009), Portsmouth (2009-2010)

Hayden Mullins is like many other former professionals in the game who is now experiencing the side of coaching and management. Since his playing days ended, he has been doing his coaching badges and now manages Watford’s Under-23 team. His time as a Premier League player was predominately with West Ham United before playing for Portsmouth for 18 months before their relegation in 2010 from the top-flight.

He came through the youth system at Crystal Palace, joining as a trainee in 1996 and signing professional terms two years later. It was ex-England manager Terry Venables who would give him his first-team debut and Mullins impressed at a young age, scoring in only his second league game in a 3-1 loss to Birmingham City in August 1998.

He admitted later that Venables played a major part in his career, saying: “I learnt a lot from him. He took a lot of time with us on the training pitch. He made me feel totally comfortable and didn’t pressure me into it at all.”

He would make over 200 appearances for Crystal Palace and with financial difficulties surrounding the Eagles; they had to rely on youth prodigies like himself and Clinton Morrison to excite the supporters. Crystal Palace made the semi-finals of the League Cup in 2001 and he won the Player of the Year twice for the club including in his last full season at Selhurst Park in 2002-2003. He was even made captain that season by Trevor Francis.

Birmingham tried to sign him in January 2003 but a £600,000 bid was rejected. However, when he decided to turn down a new deal at the end of the season and with his contract running into its final year, Palace had to sell him to recoup some form of transfer fee. He moved to West Ham United in October 2003 for the same fee Birmingham had offered nine months earlier. Mullins became Alan Pardew’s first signing as manager.

He helped the Hammers reached the Division One play-off final in his first season but they lost 1-0 to his former club Crystal Palace and consequently, missed out on promotion to the top-flight. No mistake was made in 2005 with promotion achieved via the play-offs and Mullins was a pivotal figure in the Hammers midfield. He made 37 appearances from 46 league matches and the club were back in the Premier League.

He had a fantastic debut Premier League campaign too as West Ham finished ninth in the table and reached the FA Cup final. However, he missed the showpiece event after being red-carded along with Liverpool FC winger Luis Garcia in a Premier League fixture between the two finalists a few weeks before the cup final. West Ham appealed the red card but like Liverpool, were unsuccessful in getting the dismissals overturned.

The signing of Javier Mascherano at the start of 2006-2007 put Mullins on the bench in the opening weeks of the season but West Ham’s worst run of results in 74 years saw him back in the starting XI towards the end of October and he scored his first top-flight goal in a 2-1 triumph over Blackburn Rovers. He remained at the club through Alan Curbishley’s reign but when Gianfranco Zola took over as manager in September 2008; he wanted to give younger players a chance in the first-team such as Zavon Hines, Jack Collison and Junior Stanislas.

Despite this, Mullins was still a regular in the side, so it was a shock even to him to see Zola allow him to move to Portsmouth in January 2009. He admitted: “I trained on (Sunday) with West Ham and then it all happened very quickly, but I’m very pleased to have joined. It was a great experience to have worked under Gianfranco Zola but it’s a great challenge here to come and work with some really talented players.”

Mullins made 35 Premier League appearances for Pompey but their dire financial position led to administration, a nine-point deduction and relegation from the top-flight in 2010. He did get his chance though to feature in the FA Cup final, having missed out because of suspension four years earlier. Hayden played in an unfamiliar left-back role in Portsmouth’s narrow 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.

He stayed with Pompey despite relegation and was voted Portsmouth Player of the Season for 2010-2011. After a loan period at Reading which ended in promotion to the Premier League, Mullins finished his career with Birmingham City and Notts County. He retired from football at the end of the 2014-2015 campaign.

After hanging up his boots, Mullins returned to Reading, overseeing the development of young academy players who were getting their first experiences of playing first-team football whilst out on-loan. In July 2016, he joined Watford as assistant to Harry Kewell in managing the Under-21 side and was promoted to manager of the Under-23s when Kewell left to take the managerial position at League Two Crawley Town. It is a role Mullins still holds down today.

The Managers: Avram Grant

Premier League Clubs Managed: Chelsea (2007-2008), Portsmouth (2009-2010), West Ham United (2010-2011)

Avram Grant has spent the majority of his career coaching and managing in Israel, enjoying plenty of success in his homeland with a host of league titles and cup victories with different teams, including Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel-Aviv. However, he has also experienced three seasons coaching in England. He came within a kick of landing the biggest prize in European club football before experiencing a lost cause at Portsmouth and an underwhelming season in the dugout at West Ham United.

Four decades in Israel

Avram Grant began coaching as an 18-year-old all the way back in 1972 when he became a youth coach at his local side, Hapoel Petah Tikva. It was a spell that lasted a staggering 14 years. He made the big step into first-team management in 1986 when he was promoted into the role at Hapoel. He turned them into regular title contenders but they missed out on the top prize to Maccabi Haifa. Grant did enjoy back-to-back victories in the Toto Cup in 1990 and 1991.

His next stop was Maccabi Tel-Aviv where they won the league championship in his first season in-charge of the club, taking the top honours by 13 points in 1992. He repeated the success three years later before taking the position at Hapoel Haifa at the end of the 1994-1995 season. This was an unsuccessful spell as the club finished just fourth in the championship. He returned to Maccabi Tel-Aviv but couldn’t replicate the success of his first spell, only achieving one cup victory in 1999.

At the start of the new millennium, he went to Maccabi Haifa, coaching there until 2002. Maccabi enjoyed a dominating period under his tenure, winning consecutive league championships. However, they missed out on a potential place in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League after fielding an ineligible player in a qualifying tie against FC Haka of Finland.

Having led most of the major clubs in Israel, Avram moved into international management in 2002, becoming Israel’s youngest-ever boss in the process. However, they failed to qualify for both the 2004 European Championships and the World Cup in 2006. That was despite an undefeated qualification campaign in the latter but six draws from 10 matches saw them finish below France and Switzerland.

Off to Chelsea

In June 2006, Grant resigned as Israel manager after electing not to extend his contract. He moved to Portsmouth to become Technical Director whilst Harry Redknapp was in his second spell as manager there. However, he was also a close friend of Roman Abramovich and when the Russian billionaire offered him the position of Director of Football at Chelsea; it was an offer he simply couldn’t turn down. His arrival in July 2007 was believed to be another maker in the increased fractious relationship between Abramovich and Jose Mourinho.

In September 2007, Mourinho left as Blues manager and Grant was given the opportunity to move downstairs into the management role at Stamford Bridge. His first game ended in a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, just three days after taking control of the team. In doing so, he became the first Israeli coach to manage in the Premier League.

The fans and players initially weren’t happy with the appointment, all still upset with Mourinho’s departure but Avram managed to win them around, steering the club onto a 16-match unbeaten run in all competitions following the reverse at Old Trafford which included a 6-0 thumping of Manchester City. That was enough for Abramovich to give him a contract extension and he added Branislav Ivanovic and Nicolas Anelka to the squad in the 2008 January transfer window.

In February, the Londoners reached the League Cup final but lost in extra-time to Tottenham Hotspur to a goal from Jonathan Woodgate. A month later, Chelsea’s FA Cup defence ended with an embarrassing 1-0 loss in the quarter-finals to Barnsley. However, the Blues and the manager were showing great resilience in the other two major competitions. Late season victories domestically over Arsenal and Manchester United put them right in contention to win the Premier League title whilst Liverpool FC were beaten over two legs in a gruelling UEFA Champions League semi-final. Grant had achieved something Mourinho failed to manage – guiding Chelsea to a Champions League final.

May 2008 promised so much but ultimately produced heartbreak for everyone connected with Chelsea Football Club. Manchester United’s final day victory away at Wigan Athletic ensured they successfully retained their Premier League title whilst Chelsea could only draw at home to Bolton Wanderers.

Less than two weeks later, United and Chelsea went head-to-head in the first all-English final in the modern era of the UEFA Champions League. The game went to penalties and when Cristiano Ronaldo had his spot-kick saved by Petr Cech, skipper John Terry had a chance to win the competition for the first time for Chelsea. He lost his footing, slipped and his kick hit the post. The penalties went to sudden death and when Edwin van der Sar saved from Anelka, it was Manchester United who became the Kings of Europe. Chelsea had missed out on the biggest prize in European club football by the smallest of margins. Three days later, Grant was sacked.

Keeping the sinking ship going at Pompey

After 18 months out of the limelight, Avram returned to Portsmouth in October 2009 as their new Director of Football. Less than two months later, he was appointed manager, replacing Paul Hart in the hotseat. He took over a sinking ship. Portsmouth were bottom of the table with just seven points gained from 13 matches and the club were in desperate financial trouble.

He quickly installed some confidence into the players with home victories over Burnley and Liverpool FC and the players kept fighting, even with the huge problems off-the-field that were threatening to engulf the club’s existence. When Portsmouth were docked nine points in February 2010 for going into administration, relegation was virtually guaranteed. However, the supporters kept faith and a sensational run to the FA Cup final put smiles on the faces of the fans. They beat Birmingham City and Tottenham Hotspur to reach the Wembley showpiece where ironically, they would face his former club, Chelsea who were chasing a league and cup double. Didier Drogba’s free-kick decided the contest in Chelsea’s favour but Grant’s reputation had been enhanced in such troubling times for Portsmouth.

At the end of the season, he resigned as manager – deciding to embark on a fresh challenge but that didn’t stop the connection he felt with the supporters which he admitted to in an open letter to the fans.

“Portsmouth has given me a feeling of home away from home. I might be leaving Portsmouth physically, but you cannot take Portsmouth away from me and my heart. It’s been both a difficult and complex year for us at the club, but, at the same time, it’s been a wonderful and uplifting professional and personal experience. I have been inundated with letters and emails from fans. Many have brought tears to my eyes – and, take it from me, it takes a lot to do that.”

The Hammers nightmare

Two weeks after resigning as Portsmouth manager, Grant was appointed as West Ham United’s new boss, succeeding Italian playing legend Gianfranco Zola. However, it didn’t go well. He led the club to their worst-ever Premier League start, recording four successive defeats at the start of the season, scoring just twice and conceding 10 in that period.

His first win for the Hammers came in a London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur but by the end of November, West Ham were bottom and had enjoyed just two Premier League victories. The pressure was growing and on his job too with reports that the recently dismissed Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce was being lined-up as a potential successor.

West Ham rallied over the festive period with victories over Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers and a draw at home to Everton but the rumours about his longer-term future continued to grow. Martin O’Neill’s name was mentioned with the job in mid-January, especially after a 5-0 loss away at Newcastle United but he categorically ruled himself out of the running. Although they reached the League Cup semi-finals, that ended in defeat over two legs against Birmingham City and following a 3-2 defeat on the penultimate weekend away at relegation rivals Wigan Athletic which confirmed West Ham’s relegation, Grant was sacked. He’d achieved just seven league wins from 37 matches.

After the Premier League, he guided Partizan Belgrade to a fifth successive Serbian championship in 2012 and he took Ghana to an African Cup of Nations final in 2015 where they lost a penalty shootout to Cote d’Ivoire. In January 2018, he became technical advisor at Indian Super League side NorthEast United FC.

Iconic Moments: Pompey enter administration (February 2010)

Promoted to the Premier League in 2004, Portsmouth had tried to live with the big boys of English football. Under Harry Redknapp’s guidance, the south coast side won the FA Cup in 2008 – their first major piece of silverware in 58 years. Less than two years later, the club were crippled with debts and became the first Premier League member to enter voluntarily administration.

The chaos began when Sacha Gaydamak sold the club in the summer of 2009 to Emirati businessman Sulaiman Al Fahim. Al Fahim had come to prominence for fronting the famous Manchester City takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group in September 2008. However, no major signings were made and with star assets like Peter Crouch and Sylvain Distin being sold to Tottenham Hotspur and Everton respectively, there were worrying early signs.

In early October, their plight became more known in the public spectrum when the club revealed the players hadn’t been paid. Then, Saudi businessman Ali al-Faraj bought the club from Al Fahim, taking a 90% share in the ownings. Results weren’t coming either and Paul Hart was sacked in November to be replaced by former Director of Football Avram Grant.

In 2010, a winding-up petition was given and another owner arrived in the form of Balram Chainrai. With debts of £135 million, liquidation was becoming a distinct possibility. To protect this and with no further investment coming, Chainrai placed the club into administration. They received a nine-point deduction for entering administration, effectively guaranteeing relegation.

Portsmouth have gone through another administration since and also three further relegations but are now back in League One and following a four-year period where the fans owned the club, they are now owned by The Tornante Company, led by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

Like Leeds before them, Portsmouth is a prime example of spending too much money in trying to be successful and experiencing serious long-term financial pain.

The Clubs: Portsmouth

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
266 79 65 122 292 380 -88 293 7

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Matt Taylor 144
David James 134
Richard Hughes 114
Linvoy Primus 113
Dejan Stefanovic 112
Sean Davis 102
Kanu 102
Gary O’Neil 101
Sol Campbell 95
Lomana Lualua 87

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Yakubu 29
Benjani 19
Lomana Lualua 19
Kanu 17
Jermain Defoe 16
Matt Taylor 16
Gary O’Neil 11
Peter Crouch 10
Niko Kranjcar 9
Teddy Sheringham 9

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Portsmouth 6-1 Leeds United 8th November 2003 2003-2004
Portsmouth 5-1 Middlesbrough 15th May 2004 2003-2004
Portsmouth 4-0 Bolton Wanderers 26th August 2003 2003-2004
Middlesbrough 0-4 Portsmouth 28th August 2006 2006-2007
Portsmouth 4-0 Wigan Athletic 31st October 2009 2009-2010
Portsmouth 7-4 Reading 29th September 2007 2007-2008
Portsmouth 4-1 Southampton 23rd April 2005 2004-2005
Sunderland 1-4 Portsmouth 29th October 2005 2005-2006
Newcastle United 1-4 Portsmouth 3rd November 2007 2007-2008
Portsmouth 3-0 Blackburn Rovers 19th August 2006 2006-2007

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Manchester City 6-0 Portsmouth 21st September 2008 2008-2009
Birmingham City 5-0 Portsmouth 21st January 2006 2005-2006
Manchester United 5-0 Portsmouth 6th February 2010 2009-2010
Portsmouth 0-5 Chelsea 24th March 2010 2009-2010
Arsenal 4-0 Portsmouth 28th December 2005 2005-2006
Chelsea 4-0 Portsmouth 17th August 2008 2008-2009
Liverpool FC 4-1 Portsmouth 22nd December 2007 2007-2008
Portsmouth 1-4 West Ham United 26th December 2008 2008-2009
Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth 22nd August 2009 2009-2010
Portsmouth 1-4 Manchester United 28th November 2009 2009-2010

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Harry Redknapp 2 24th November 2004
Velimir Zajec 1 10th October 2005
Alain Perrin 2 24th November 2005
Harry Redknapp 4 25th October 2008
Tony Adams 1 9th February 2009
Paul Hart 2 24th November 2009
Avram Grant 1 30th June 2010

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Portsmouth 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur 17th October 2009 20,821 2009-2010
Portsmouth 0-0 Arsenal 26th December 2007 20,556 2007-2008
Portsmouth 0-1 Manchester United 25th August 2008 20,540 2008-2009
Portsmouth 2-0 Liverpool FC 19th December 2009 20,534 2009-2010
Portsmouth 0-1 Fulham 11th May 2008 20,532 2007-2008
Portsmouth 0-0 West Ham United 27th October 2007 20,525 2007-2008
Portsmouth 2-3 Liverpool FC 7th February 2009 20,524 2008-2009
Portsmouth 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur 15th December 2007 20,520 2007-2008
Portsmouth 1-1 Manchester United 15th August 2007 20,510 2007-2008
Portsmouth 0-0 Newcastle United 12th April 2008 20,507 2007-2008

 

Intro

Portsmouth made their Premier League debut in 2004 and were one of the most successful clubs to achieve consistency in the top 10 of the top-flight after promotion. That was during the second of Harry Redknapp’s managerial spells at the club which culminated in FA Cup success in 2008. However, Pompey were piling up the debt and when Redknapp left for Tottenham Hotspur in October 2008, everything started to spiral out of control. In February 2010, they became the first Premier League club to enter voluntarily administration, earning a nine-point deduction and guaranteeing relegation. Another administration has followed since and a demise to League Two but recent signs are that the Fratton Park club are on their way back up the league pyramid.

 

2003-2004

Portsmouth made their Premier League bow in 2003-2004 and under the guidance of the experienced Harry Redknapp, they made a brilliant start. They collected nine points from their first five matches, including a 1-1 draw at Highbury with Arsenal and a 4-0 trouncing of Bolton Wanderers which took them briefly to the top of the table. A crippling injury list and woeful away form sent them spiralling down the table but Yakubu’s winner in March’s South Coast Derby against Southampton spearheaded a wonderful run. Portsmouth secured safety in early May and finished a creditable 13th, ahead of the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Everton in the final standings.

 

2004-2005

Early season form in 2004-2005 included a home win over Manchester United and earned Redknapp October’s Manager of the Month award. However, things were not rosy between Harry and chairman Milan Mandaric. Mandaric’s decision to bring in a Director of Football in Velimir Zajec saw Redknapp decide to walk out on the club and turn up at South Coast rivals Southampton a fortnight later.

Zajec took over until early April, when Frenchman Alain Perrin was confirmed as permanent manager. A joyous 4-1 victory over Southampton on Redknapp’s first return to Fratton Park not only secured Portsmouth’s survival but provided an afternoon the home supporters would not forget.

 

2005-2006

After just four league victories from 20 games, Alain Perrin was sacked in November by Mandaric. Mandaric then patched things up with Redknapp, who was on the lookout to return after his Southampton experience had turned sour. He returned in early December with the club in real danger of losing its Premier League status and that looked very likely when they slipped seven points adrift of safety in early March.

However, two cracking goals from Pedro Mendes in a 2-1 home victory over Manchester City sparked another amazing run of form that saw the club lose only two of their last nine matches. Survival was secured by a comeback victory on the penultimate weekend of the season at Wigan Athletic. Redknapp would later say this was one of his “best achievements” in football.

 

2006-2007

In September 2006, Milan Mandaric left Portsmouth and Alexandre Gaydamak took over as owner of the club. He provided Redknapp with extra transfer funds and experience arrived at the club with the likes of Sol Campbell and David James among the new arrivals. Portsmouth topped the table in mid-September and finished ninth to record their highest top-flight finish since the 1950s. They only missed out on UEFA Cup qualification on the final day of the season after a goalless draw with Arsenal.

 

2007-2008

In October 2007, Redknapp signed an extended contract as manager and Portsmouth were becoming a very attractive side to watch. This was highlighted by both the amazing 7-4 victory over Reading and the arrival of Jermain Defoe in the January transfer window from Tottenham Hotspur. Portsmouth improved on their ninth-place finish of the previous season to finish eighth this time around. However, it was their FA Cup run that made the headlines.

A quarter-final victory over eventual league champions Manchester United was the highlight of a run that took Portsmouth to the final. Kanu scored the only goal of the game against Championship outfit Cardiff City in the showpiece event at Wembley Stadium to earn Portsmouth the 2008 FA Cup. Redknapp became the last English manager to win a major trophy to the present day.

 

2008-2009

The FA Cup victory took Portsmouth into European competition as they competed in the UEFA Cup and the highlight of their run was a 2-2 draw with the mighty AC Milan, although they did lead 2-0 in the contest.

However, the club was rocked by Harry Redknapp’s sudden departure towards the end of October to fill the vacancy at Tottenham Hotspur. Redknapp’s assistant, Tony Adams took charge but he was sacked in February after a run of just two victories in 16 games. Youth team coach Paul Hart was upgraded to the managerial role and he guided Portsmouth to safety as they finished in 14th place.

 

2009-2010

In late May 2009, Alexandre Gaydamak sold the club to Sulaiman Al Fahim, who had previously come to prominence by fronting the takeover of Manchester City. There was concern over Portsmouth’s finances with the summer departures of Glen Johnson, Peter Crouch, Sylvain Distin and Niko Kranjcar for vast sums of money.

In early October, the club admitted the players had not been paid and by now, Portsmouth’s financial situation was serious. Al Fahim sold the club to Ali al-Faraj and the club was now a mess. Performances on-the-pitch weren’t great either. Portsmouth lost their first seven matches and a 1-0 defeat at Stoke City in late November saw Hart’s tenure as manager come to an end. He was replaced by Avram Grant and although form did improve, Portsmouth were fighting a losing battle on two fronts.

Approximately £135 million in debt, the club went into voluntarily administration in February to avoid a winding-up order. This meant a nine-point deduction which virtually confirmed their relegation from the top-flight. A run to the FA Cup final where they lost to Chelsea did offer some light relief for the long-suffering supporters but it was a season where Portsmouth’s financial ruin had taken the club to the brink of extinction.

They are now in League One and setting the pace at 1/3 distance. The club seem to be on their way back, now owned by Michael Eisner, former chairman of The Walt Disney Company.

Memorable Matches: Portsmouth 4-3 Fulham (August 2004)

Goalscorers: Eyal Berkovic 19, Yakubu 22 PEN, 28, 72, Andy Cole 39, Luis Boa Morte 41, Carlos Bocanegra 75

Teams:

Portsmouth: Shaka Hislop, Arjan de Zeeuw, Linvoy Primus, Dejan Stefanovic, David Unsworth, Nigel Quashie, Eyal Berkovic (Lomana Lualua 79), Steve Stone, Patrik Berger, Yakubu (Matt Taylor 88), Ricardo Fuller

Fulham: Edwin van der Sar, Carlos Bocanegra, Alain Goma, Zat Knight, Moritz Volz, Papa Bouba Diop, Sylvain Legwinski (Brian McBride 77), Claus Jensen, Luis Boa Morte, Andy Cole, Tomasz Radzinski (Collins John 68)

Referee: Barry Knight, Attendance: 19,728

Portsmouth were still awaiting their first victory of the 2004-2005 season as they welcomed Fulham to Fratton Park. Pompey had played a game less than most teams, so their position was slightly false ahead of kick-off whilst Fulham had one victory, one draw and one defeat to their name from their first three games of the season.

A feverish first half on the south coast saw five goals and a stunning opening 30 minutes from the home side. The pace of Yakubu would trouble Fulham’s backline all evening and this created the opening for the first goal, scored by Eyal Berkovic in the 19th minute. Three minutes later, Luis Boa Morte clumsily challenged debutant Ricardo Fuller and a penalty was given by referee Barry Knight. Yakubu made no mistake from 12-yards.

Fulham’s horrific opening spell continued on 28 minutes. Fuller put Yakubu through and with his right-foot shot; he defeated Edwin van der Sar once again. At this stage, it looked like a case of how many Portsmouth might end up with. However, one thing Chris Coleman had installed into his team was resolve and they weren’t going to lie down without a fight.

Six minutes before half-time, Boa Morte floated a tremendous cross from the left-wing over the head of Arjan de Zeeuw. Andy Cole made the most of the chance to beat Shaka Hislop and score his third Fulham goal since arriving in the summer from Blackburn Rovers.

Two minutes later, the Cottagers were right back in the contest. Claus Jensen played Boa Morte through and the Portuguese winger’s dramatic first half was concluded with his name joining those on the scoresheet. His shot managed to sneak through Hislop’s legs.

The end-to-end action continued in the second half. Berkovic nearly got his second of the evening with his goal-bound shot blocked by Moritz Volz whilst Boa Morte shot across the face of goal on 59 minutes having once again got the better of Linvoy Primus.

With 18 minutes left, Yakubu completed his hat-trick, firing home from close-range. Three minutes later, Carlos Bocanegra’s header at the back post saw Fulham get within a goal once again. However, they couldn’t find a way through again and Pompey held on for all three points.

Manager Harry Redknapp could raise a smile at the full-time whistle but by the end of November, he had left Portsmouth after disagreements with the club’s owner, Milan Mandaric. He took over at south coast rivals Southampton but ended the season with his first top-flight relegation. Fulham finished in 13th place.

Great Goals: Matt Taylor – PORTSMOUTH vs. Everton (December 2006)

Matt Taylor was one of those players who could score simply breathtaking goals in any season. After his amazing long-distance effort a season earlier at The Stadium of Light against Sunderland, he produced another sizzling strike from distance at home to Everton in December 2006.

In the 13th minute, the ball popped up to the midfielder from at least 45-yards away from goal. There’s no thought in Taylor’s mind. He went for goal and his spectacular attempt left Tim Howard completely stranded. It came in a period where he was scoring goals for fun as Portsmouth won the game 2-0.

Great Goals: Glen Johnson – PORTSMOUTH vs. Hull City (November 2008)

Right-back Glen Johnson flourished during his three-year spell on the south coast with Portsmouth from 2006 to 2009. His consistent, attacking-style performances for Pompey made him the regular England right-back following Gary Neville’s retirement.

Defensive quality isn’t always Johnson’s strength but scoring long-range stunners certainly are. Against Hull City in November 2008, he produced this pile driver of a shot.

The game was level at 1-1 in the 63rd minute when Michael Turner, who had scored Hull’s equaliser, cleared the ball from a cross into the box. Johnson raced onto the loose ball and controlled the ball on his chest. Then on his second touch, he launched a marvellous volley which went straight into the top corner of the net.

It was a stunning effort and it won the BBC Goal of the Season award for the 2008-2009 season, even if Portsmouth didn’t take all three points form this particular contest.

Great Goals: Matt Taylor – Sunderland vs. PORTSMOUTH (October 2005)

Some players are born with a gift of scoring spectacular goals. Matt Taylor certainly fits into that category. He was never one to score just tap-ins. His goals often came from distance and were often quite memorable.

Portsmouth didn’t have a lot to cheer about during the first part of the 2005-2006 season but one bright spot was this away day win at Sunderland in October 2005. They were losing at half-time but stormed back to win 4-1 and it was Taylor’s goal from 45-yards out that captured the attention. Seeing goalkeeper Kelvin Davis slightly off his line, the midfielder tried what seemed like an ambitious attempt but his shot was hit was such venom, it flew over Davis and into the net.

It was pipped to the BBC Goal of the Season award by Steven Gerrard’s heroics in the FA Cup final at Cardiff but this was one of, if not, the best goal of the 2005-2006 Premier League campaign.