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Portsmouth Football Club

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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 season.


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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 Bolton Wanderers.

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 Manchester City.

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.[1]

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.

Club colours

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.[2]

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. asmir

Club crest

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 smiling face.

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 football.

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.[3] 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 2011-12 season



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!
Hallo! Hallo!!

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"[4]. 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.[5]. 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.

Premiership record

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.

Season Pos P W D L F A Pts
2003-04 13 38 12 9 17 47 54 45
2004-05 16 38 10 9 19 43 59 39
2005-06 17 38 10 8 20 37 62 38
2006-07 9 38 14 12 12 45 42 54
2007-08* 9 22 9 7 6 31 22 34
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 (1968-2007)

Year Winner
1968  Ray Pointer
1969  John Milkins
1970  Nicky Jennings
1971  David Munks
1972  Richie Reynolds
1973 not awarded
1974  Paul Went
1975  Mick Mellows
1976  Paul Cahill
1977 not awarded
1978 not awarded
1979  Peter Mellor
Year Winner
1980  Joe Laidlaw
1981  Keith Viney
1982  Alan Knight
1983  Alan Biley
1984  Mark Hateley
1985  Neil Webb
1986  Noel Blake
1987  Noel Blake
1988  Barry Horne
1989  Micky Quinn
1990  Guy Whittingham
1991  Martin Kuhl
Year Winner
1992  Darren Anderton
1993  Paul Walsh
1994  Kit Symons
1995  Alan Knight
1996  Alan Knight
1997  Lee Bradbury
1998  Andy Awford
1999  Steve Claridge
2000  Steve Claridge
2001  Scott Hiley
2002  Peter Crouch
2003  Linvoy Primus
Year Winner
2004  Arjan de Zeeuw
2005  Dejan Stefanović
2006  Gary O'Neil
2007  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.

Name Managerial Tenure P W D L Win %
Frank Brettell August 1898–May 1901 88 56 9 23 64%
Bob Blyth August 1901–May 1904 142 84 29 29 59%
Richard Bonney August 1904–May 1908 206 99 39 68 48%
Bob Brown August 1911–May 1920 220 100 48 72 45%
John McCartney May 1920–May 1927 308 129 93 86 42%
Jack Tinn May 1927–May 1947 586 229 131 226 39%
Bob Jackson May 1947–June 1952 234 114 51 69 49%
Eddie Lever August 1952–April 1958 261 88 67 106 34%
Freddie Cox August 1958–February 1961 120 28 29 63 23%
George Smith April 1961–April 1970 410 149 110 151 36%
Ron Tindall April 1970–May 1973 130 34 40 56 26%
John Mortimore May 1973–September 1974 47 16 13 18 34%
Ian St. John September 1974–May 1977 124 31 33 60 25%
Jimmy Dickinson May 1977–May 1979 91 27 29 35 30%
Frank Burrows May 1979–May 1982 138 61 39 38 44%
Bobby Campbell May 1982–May 1984 88 40 17 31 45%
Alan Ball May 1984–January 1989 222 94 58 70 42%
John Gregory January 1989–January 1990 50 10 15 25 20%
Frank Burrows January 1990–March 1991 60 20 17 23 33%
Jim Smith June 1991–February 1995 199 81 54 64 41%
Terry Fenwick August 1995–January 1998 131 43 29 59 33%
Alan Ball January 1998–December 1999 97 28 26 43 29%
Tony Pulis January 2000–October 2000 35 11 10 14 31%
Steve Claridge October 2000–February 2001 23 5 10 8 22%
Graham Rix February 2001–March 2002 56 16 17 23 29%
Harry Redknapp March 2002–November 2004 116 54 26 36 47%
Velimir Zajec November 2004–April 2005 21 5 4 12 24%
Alain Perrin April 2005–November 2005 21 4 6 11 19%
Harry Redknapp December 2005– 82 33 20 29 40%

Includes all competitive matches

Women's football

The club's female counterpart is Portsmouth L.F.C., which currently plays in the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division.


  • Football League
    • Champions 1949, 1950
  • FA Cup
    • Winners 1939
    • Runners-up 1929,1934
  • League Division One
    • Champions 2003
  • League Division Two
    • Runners-up 1927,1987
  • League Division Three
    • Champions 1962, 1983
  • Football League Third Division South
    • Champions 1924
  • Southern League
    • Champions 1902, 1920
  • FA Charity Shield
    • Shared 1949
  • Wartime Cup
    • Runners-up 1942
  • Barclays Asia Trophy
    • Champions 2007

Club records

  • Record Attendance: 51,385 v Derby County, FA Cup, 26 February 1949
  • 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, July 2005
  • Transfer Record (Paid): £7 m to Udinese for Sulley Ali Muntari, May 2007

Record signing

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.[6] Prior to the summer of 2007 the club's record signing was Benjani Mwaruwari from Auxerre in January 2006 for £4.1m.[7] Pompey's first million pound signing was Rory Allen in summer 1999.[8] [9]

References and Notes

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