Portsmouth Football Club
are an English football club based in the south
coast city of Portsmouth. The club is nicknamed Pompey
(also the nickname
for the city) and play in the Premier League. The club is currently owned by the
Franco-Russian Alexandre Gaydamak.
The club was founded in 1898 with John Brickwood, owner of the local brewery,
as chairman, and Frank Brettell as the club's first manager. The club joined the
Southern League in 1899 and their first league match was played at Chatham Town
on 2 September 1899 (a 1-0 victory), followed three days later by the first
match at Fratton Park against local rivals Southampton. That first season was
hugely successful, with the club winning 20 out of 28 league matches, earning
them the runner-up spot in the league. 1910-11 saw Portsmouth relegated, but
with the recruitment of Bob Brown as manager the team were promoted the next
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Football was suspended during World War I, but following the resumption of
matches Portsmouth won the Southern League for the second time. Continuing
success saw them in the Third Division for the 1920-21 season. They finished
12th that year, but won the league in the 1923-24 season. The club continued to
perform well in the Second Division, winning promotion by finishing 2nd in the
1926-27 season, gaining a record 9-1 win over Notts County along the way.
Portsmouth's debut season in the First Division was a struggle. The next
season they continued to falter, losing 10-0 to Leicester City, still a club
record defeat. However, despite their failings in the league, that season also
saw Portsmouth reach the FA Cup final for the first time, which they lost to
Portsmouth managed to survive relegation, and their fortunes began to change.
The 1933-34 season saw Portsmouth again reach the FA Cup Final, beating
Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers, Leicester City and Birmingham City on the
way. Unfortunately the club was again defeated in the final, this time to
Having established themselves in the top flight, the 1938-39 season saw
Portsmouth reach their third FA Cup Final. This time the club managed to defeat
the favourites, Wolves, convincingly 4-1. Bert Barlow scored twice whilst Cliff
Parker and Jock Anderson completed the famous victory.
League football was again suspended due to World War II, meaning Pompey hold
the unusual distinction of holding the FA Cup for the longest uninterrupted
period as the trophy wasn't contested again until the 1945-46 season. Making
Hitler one of Pompeys fans biggest heros!
League football resumed for the 1946-47 campaign. In Pompey's Golden
Jubilee season of 1948-49, the club were tipped to be the first team of the
20th century to win the Football League and FA Cup double. However, Pompey
crashed out of the FA Cup in the semi-final against Leicester City, but made up
for it by claiming the league title in spectacular fashion. That season also saw
a record attendance of 51,385, a record which still stands to this day.
The club retained the title the following year, beating Aston Villa 5-1 on
the last day of the season, and are thus one of only five English teams to have
won back to back titles since World War II. Although the team finished third in
1954-55, subsequent seasons saw Pompey struggle and they were relegated to the
Second Division in 1959.
Portsmouth went down to the Third Division in 1961 but were promoted back to
the Second Division at the first time of asking under the guidance of George
Smith. Despite limited financial means, Smith maintained Portsmouth's Second
Division status throughout the sixties until moving upstairs to become General
Manager in April 1970.
A cash injection, that accompanied the arrival of John Deacon as chairman in
1972, failed to improve Pompey's league position. With Deacon unable to continue
bankrolling the club on the same scale, Pompey were relegated to the Third
Division in 1976.
In November 1976 the club found itself needing to raise £25,000 to pay off
debts and so avoid bankruptcy. With players having to be sold to ease the club's
financial situation, and no money available for replacements, Pompey were forced
to rely on an untried manager, Ian St John and inexperienced young players.
Consequently, they were relegated to the Fourth Division in 1978.
Pompey were promoted back to Division Three in 1980, and in the 1982-83
season they won the Third Division championship, gaining promotion back to the
Second Division. Under Alan Ball's management, Pompey narrowly missed winning
promotion to the First Division twice before finally succeeding in 1986-87.
Unfortunately, by the middle of the 1987-88 season the club was again in grave
financial trouble, and Pompey were relegated straight back to the Second
Division. The summer of 1988 saw Deacon sell the club to London based
businessman and former QPR Chairman, Jim Gregory.
Jim Smith's arrival as manager at the start of the 1991-92 season, combined
with the emergence of some good young players, sparked a revival in the team's
fortunes and that year Pompey reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing on
penalties to eventual winners Liverpool after a replay. The following season,
Pompey missed out on promotion to the FA Premier League only by virtue of having
scored one less goal than West Ham United.
In the summer of 1996 Terry Venables arrived at Pompey as a consultant, later
taking over as chairman after buying the club for £1. The team enjoyed a run to
the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in 1996-97, beating FA Premier League side
Leeds United en route, but finished just short of the qualifying places for the
play-offs for promotion to the Premier League.
Pompey's centenary season, 1998-99, saw a serious financial crisis hit the
club, and in December 1998 Portsmouth went into financial administration. Milan
Mandarić saved the club with a takeover deal in May 1999, and the new chairman
immediately started investing. However the club only survived on the last day of
the 2000-2001 season when they won their final game and Huddersfield Town lost
theirs, keeping Portsmouth up at their expense.
Harry Redknapp took over as manager in early 2002, with Jim Smith as
assistant. Just over a year later, Pompey were celebrating winning the Division
One Championship and promotion to the Premier League, winning the title with a
game to spare.
Since arriving in the Premier League, the club finished 13th, 16th and 17th
in its first three seasons before being bought by businessman Alexandre Gaydamak
in January 2006. With funds available for the manager to make big-name signings,
the club finished their 2006-2007 season in the Premier League in the top half
of the table for the first time.
Rumours surfaced in October 2007 about the possibility of Gaydamak selling
his stake in the club, with Irish property developers Brian and Luke Comer
mentioned as possible suitors.
Pompey's first ever kit had a shirt that was salmon pink in colour with white
shorts and maroon socks. This kit lasted until 1909 when they changed to white
shirts with royal blue shorts and socks. This kit lasted just two years before
it was changed for blue shirts, white shorts and black socks. This was Pompey's
home strip up until 1947 when the socks were changed to red; this conicided with
the club's most successful period and has remained the favoured colours for
majority of the time since. Yellow and more recently gold have also been used as
secondary colours on the club's home shirts.
The most frequent away colours used by Portsmouth have been white shirts with
royal blue shorts and either royal blue or white socks. Other colours that have
appeared several times on Pompey change kits have been yellow (usually with blue
shorts) and red (often combined with black.) Pompey have also briefly
experimented with salmon pink, black, orange, navy blue and, perhaps most
notably, gold change strips.
For the 2007/08 season Pompey have taken the rare step of releasing three new
kits which all maintain the colour scheme of the previous season. It is unknown
if the all black strip will now become the club's 'traditional' 3rd colours.
Portsmouth F.C.'s club crest, like its nickname, is derived from that of the
city. The official emblem contains a gold star and crescent on a blue shield.
Portsmouth's adoption of the star and crescent (usually synonymous with Islam)
is said to have came from when King Richard I, granted the city "a crescent of
gold on a shade of azure, with a blazing star of eight points" which he had
taken from the Byzantine Emperor's standard of Governor Isaac Komnenos, after
capturing Cyprus. It is one of the most recognisable football crests in English
football and is nicknamed 'the smiley crest' because of its similarity to a
Throughout its history Portsmouth have tried different variations of the
crest before reverting back to the basic gold star and crescent. In the 1950s
and 1960s the traditional crest was emblazoned on the shirt in white rather than
gold but this was due to white being a cheaper alternative.
Between 1980 and 1989 the club scrapped the original crest and replaced it
with a new design. This crest showed a football on top of an anchor
(representing the navy) and a sword (representing the army). An interchangeable
version included a circular version of the star and crescent crest in place of
The return of the original crest in 1989 only lasted 4 years when it was
replaced by the city's coat of arms in 1993. This design centred around the
basic star and crescent but was unpopular with many fans who thought it was
overelaborate. After only four seasons the original crest was again reinstated
and remains to the present day. In time for the 2007 season "Since 1898" was
added to the badge underneath the club's name.
Portsmouth play their home games at Fratton Park, in Portsmouth.
- Capacity - 20,600 (all seated)
- Opened - 1898
- Pitch size - 115 x 73 yards
The ground has been home to the club throughout its entire history but,
despite improvements, is showing signs of age. Therefore at the end of the
2003/04 season, having consolidated their Premier League status, plans to
develop a new stadium on the adjacent disused rail-freight depot site were drawn
up and approved.
These plans were superseded by a new plan to redevelop, more or less on the
existing site, but realigning the pitch 90 degrees to accommodate a larger
capacity, ultimately 35,000, funded in part by a "Pompey Village" luxury
residential project on the adjacent site. Work on the stadium was planned to
start in the summer of 2006 but did not happen. By October 2006 several
alternative sites for the new stadium were also being considered including the
King George V playing fields site in Cosham in the north of the city.
These plans were dropped however, when it was announced on April 25, 2007
that Portsmouth were to build a new, and truly unique 36,000 capacity stadium on
reclaimed land in the city's docklands area, although planning permission is yet
to be granted with Portsmouth set to make an application to the council in the
autumn after consultation with stakeholders. Subject to permission being
granted, Portsmouth hope to be playing in their new stadium by 2011. The entire
project, which will incorporate around 1,500 waterfront apartments as well as
restaurants and other leisure facilities surrounding the new stadium and around
750 new homes at the existing site of Fratton Park is estimated to cost in the
region of £600million. See
Portsmouth Dockland Stadium
In October 2007 the ambitious Dockyard project also had to be dropped as it
was announced the dockyard would be host to 2 new AirCraft Carriers and several
Type 45 Destroyer. As a result the stadium plans have been relocated to Horsea
Island near Port Solent. The design of the stadium is currently the same as it
was in the Hard, although there have been calls to amend it for its new
location. Currently Pompey aim to be playing at their new ground from the
Prior to the mid/late 1960s, rivalry between Portsmouth and Southampton was
largely nonexistent, as a consequence of their disparity in league status. This
derby match has hence taken place relatively infrequently as, for much of their
history, the two teams have been in different divisions. Since 1977, the teams
have only played league games against each other in three seasons (1987-88,
2003-04 and 2004-05). Including Southern League games, there have been 67 games
between the clubs, with Portsmouth winning 20 and Southampton 34. The rivalry is
infamous as one of the most unpleasant and fractious in world football - the two
sets of supporters loathe each other.
Another rivalry over the years was with Plymouth Argyle this rivalry was know
as the dockyard derby or naval derby.
The Pompey Chimes
The best known chant sung by Pompey supporters is the Pompey Chimes
("Play up Pompey, Pompey play up", sung to the tune of the Westminster Chimes)
which is sung around Fratton Park. The origins of the 'Pompey Chimes' lies with
the Royal Artillery, Portsmouth's most popular and successful football team for
much of the 1890s, who played many of their home games at the United Services
ground in Burnaby Road. The nearby Guildhall clock would strike the quarter
hours and the referees would use the clock to let them know when the match
should finish at 4pm. Just before 4pm the crowd would lilt in unison with the
chimes of the hour to encourage the referee to blow the whistle signifying full
time. The original words to 'The Chimes', as printed in the 1900-01 Official
Handbook of Portsmouth FC, were:
Play up Pompey,
Just one more goal!
Make tracks! What ho!
With the demise of Royal Artillery after their expulsion from the 1898-99 FA
Amateur Cup for alleged professionalism, many of Royal Artillery's supporters
transferred their allegiance to the newly formed Portsmouth F.C. and brought the
Chimes chant with them.
Portsmouth's fans are widely thought of as the most atmospheric fans in the
Country, leading to their home ground being nicknamed "Fortress Fratton".
Atmospheres which are most memorable include Portsmouth's 1-0 win over Stockport
in the 1997/98 season which helped Alan Ball's side to an incredible escape from
relegation to division 2. A journalist described it best, saying "each attack
from Stockport was seemingly halted by a wall of sound".
Thierry Henry is another person to have admired the famous Fratton End when he
praised Pompey's fans during Arsenal's 5-1 demolition of the South coast side in
the FA Cup on 6th March 2004..
Fokelore suggests he purposely hit a free kick wildly from goal, which was easily
within his range and talent to threaten a goal. Thierry Henry wore the
Portsmouth shirt at the end of the fixture and applauded the home end before
leaving the field at full-time.
Pompey have had many problems with hooliganism over the years. The '6.57
Crew' (so called as this is the time the Portsmouth - London Waterloo Train left
Portsmouth & Southsea Station) were a hooligan firm associated with the club.
Several books have been published that chronicle, and arguably celebrate, the
exploits of Pompey's hooligans, mainly covering the 1970s and 1980s.
Despite the team's past hooliganism problems, Portsmouth have made great
strides towards stamping out hooliganism at Fratton Park, and although several,
more sporadic outbursts of violence have taken place at the ground since then,
incidences of trouble involving Portsmouth fans have nevertheless decreased
considerably since the South Coast Derby of 2004. The trouble at this game was
attributed to the residents of the more depressed areas of the city.
Portsmouth have been members of the FA Premier League since winning the old
First Division in 2003. Their best finish occurred in the 2006/2007 season when
they finished 9th.
- Pos = Position; P = Played; W = Won; D = Drawn; L = Lost; F =
Goals For; A = Goals Against; Pts = Points; * = Season Not Yet Finished;
Pompey Player of the Year
|| Ray Pointer
|| John Milkins
|| Nicky Jennings
|| David Munks
|| Richie Reynolds
|| Paul Went
|| Mick Mellows
|| Paul Cahill
|| Peter Mellor
|| Joe Laidlaw
|| Keith Viney
|| Alan Knight
|| Alan Biley
|| Mark Hateley
|| Neil Webb
|| Noel Blake
|| Noel Blake
|| Barry Horne
|| Micky Quinn
|| Guy Whittingham
|| Martin Kuhl
|| Darren Anderton
|| Paul Walsh
|| Kit Symons
|| Alan Knight
|| Alan Knight
|| Lee Bradbury
|| Andy Awford
|| Steve Claridge
|| Steve Claridge
|| Scott Hiley
|| Peter Crouch
|| Linvoy Primus
|| Arjan de Zeeuw
|| Dejan Stefanović
|| Gary O'Neil
|| David James
Club Legends and Notable Players
| Jimmy Dickinson
| Peter Harris
| Guy Whittingham
| Alan Knight
| Andy Awford
| Noel Blake
| Arjan de Zeeuw
| Dejan Stefanović
| Darren Anderton
| David James
| Mark Hateley
| Neil Webb
| Micky Quinn
| Kit Symons
| Lee Bradbury
| Steve Claridge
| Peter Crouch
| Gary O'Neil
| Linvoy Primus
| Robert Prosinecki
| Johnny Gordon
| Jackie Henderson
| Mick Kennedy
Figures correct as of 4 November 2007.
||August 1898–May 1901
||August 1901–May 1904
||August 1904–May 1908
||August 1911–May 1920
||May 1920–May 1927
||May 1927–May 1947
||May 1947–June 1952
||August 1952–April 1958
||August 1958–February 1961
||April 1961–April 1970
||April 1970–May 1973
||May 1973–September 1974
|Ian St. John
||September 1974–May 1977
||May 1977–May 1979
||May 1979–May 1982
||May 1982–May 1984
||May 1984–January 1989
||January 1989–January 1990
||January 1990–March 1991
||June 1991–February 1995
||August 1995–January 1998
||January 1998–December 1999
||January 2000–October 2000
||October 2000–February 2001
||February 2001–March 2002
||March 2002–November 2004
||November 2004–April 2005
||April 2005–November 2005
Includes all competitive matches
The club's female counterpart is Portsmouth L.F.C., which currently plays in
the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division.
- Football League
- FA Cup
- Winners 1939
- Runners-up 1929,1934
- League Division One
- League Division Two
- League Division Three
- Football League Third Division South
- Southern League
- FA Charity Shield
- Wartime Cup
- Barclays Asia Trophy
- Record Attendance: 51,385 v Derby County, FA Cup, 26 February
- Record Victory: 9-1 v Notts County, Division 2, 9 April 1927
- Record Defeat: 0-10 v Leicester City, Division 1, 20 October 1928
- Highest Scoring Game: 7-4 v Reading, Premier League, 29 September
2007 (Also a League Record)
- Most Appearances for club: 834 Jimmy Dickinson
- Most League Goals for club: 194 Peter Harris, 1946-60
- Most League Goals in a season: 42 Guy Whittingham, 1992/93
- Most Goals for club: 208 Peter Harris, 1946-60
- Most International Caps whilst at club: 48 Jimmy Dickinson
- Transfer Record (Received): £7.5 m from Middlesbrough for Yakubu,
- Transfer Record (Paid): £7 m to Udinese for Sulley Ali Muntari,
On 30 May 2007, Portsmouth completed the club-record signing - thought to be
around £7million - of Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari in a five-year deal from
Udinese. According to some sources this fee was exceeded when John Utaka was
signed from Stade Rennes on 11 July 2007.
Prior to the summer of 2007 the club's record signing was Benjani Mwaruwari from
Auxerre in January 2006 for £4.1m.
Pompey's first million pound signing was Rory Allen in summer 1999.
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