Portsmouth F.C.

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Portsmouth F.C.
Full name Portsmouth Football Club
Nickname(s) Pompey
Founded 5 April 1898; 121 years ago (1898-04-05)
Ground Fratton Park
Ground Capacity 21,063[1]
Owner Pompey Supporters Trust
Chairman Iain McInnes
Manager Paul Cook
League League Two
2014–15 League Two, 16th
Website Club home page
Current season

Portsmouth Football Club Listeni/ˈpɔərtsməθ/ is a professional football club based in the city of Portsmouth, England. Portsmouth's home matches have been played at Fratton Park since the club's formation in 1898. Portsmouth have been champions of England twice, in 1949 and 1950. The club has also won the FA Cup on two occasions, firstly in 1939 and most recently in 2008.

Portsmouth were moderately successful in the first decade of the 21st century, especially during the 2007–08 Premier League season, when they won the FA Cup, beating Cardiff City 1–0 in the final. They subsequently qualified for the 2008–09 UEFA Cup competing against European heavyweights such as seven-times European Cup winners A.C. Milan. During this period, Portsmouth were recognised to have a large number of international footballers, including England players Glen Johnson and Jermain Defoe, as well as Peter Crouch, David James and Sol Campbell. However, financial problems soon set in and Portsmouth were relegated to the Football League Championship in 2010. In 2012 they were again relegated, to League One, and again, in 2013, to League Two. They began the 2013–14 season in the fourth tier of the English football league system for the first time since the late 1970s.

Portsmouth became the largest fan-owned football club in England, after the Pompey Supporters Trust (PST) successfully gained possession of Fratton Park in April 2013.[2][3]


1898–1939: Beginnings of Portsmouth F.C.

The club was founded in 1898 with John Brickwood — owner of the local Brickwoods Brewery — as chairman, and Frank Brettell as the club's first manager.[4] A blue plaque on the wall of 12 High Street Portsmouth commemorates the founding on 5 April. The club joined the Southern League in 1899, with their first league match being played at Chatham Town on 2 September 1899 (a 1–0 victory),[5] followed three days later by the first match at Fratton Park; a friendly against local rivals Southampton, which was won 2–0, with goals from Dan Cunliffe (formerly with Liverpool) and Harold Clarke (formerly with Everton).[6] That first season was 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 Robert Brown as manager, the team was promoted the following season.

Chart of table positions for Portsmouth since joining the Football League.

League football was suspended during First World War, 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 division in the 1923–24 season. The club continued to perform well in the Second Division, winning promotion by finishing second 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. The club was again defeated in the final, this time to Manchester City.

1939: First FA Cup triumph

Having established themselves in the top flight, the 1938–39 season saw Portsmouth reach the FA Cup final, the third time they had done so. This time, Portsmouth managed to convincingly defeat favourites Wolverhampton Wanderers 4–1. Bert Barlow and Jock Anderson scored whilst Cliff Parker scored twice (3rd and 4th) to complete a famous victory. League football was again suspended due to the Second World War, meaning Portsmouth 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.

1948–49 and 1949–50: Champions of England

League football resumed for the 1946–47 campaign after five years and Portsmouth continued in the First Division. Portsmouth capitalised on the footballers called up to serve in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in the war years and recruited some of them. In this way, Portsmouth had the pick of some of the best. In their "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, but crashed out of the FA Cup in the semi-final against Leicester City. They still made up for it by claiming the league title in spectacular fashion. That season also saw them record a (then) massive attendance of 51,385, a club record which still stands to this day. The club powered their way to 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 the Second World War.

1954–1970: The Years to follow

Portsmouth finished third in 1954–55 and on 22 February 1956, they played the first Football League game under floodlights against Newcastle United.[7][8] Subsequent seasons saw Portsmouth struggle and they were relegated to the Second Division in 1959. Portsmouth went down to the Third Division in 1961 (the first former English League champions to do so) 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.

1972–1988: Deacon to Gregory

The cash injection that accompanied the arrival of John Deacon as chairman in 1972 failed to improve Portsmouth's league position. With Deacon unable to continue bankrolling the club on the same scale, Portsmouth 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, Portsmouth 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.

Portsmouth 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, Portsmouth 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 Portsmouth were relegated straight back to the Second Division. The summer of 1988 saw Deacon sell the club to London-based businessman and former Queens Park Rangers Chairman, Jim Gregory.

1991–2001: Smith, Venables and Mandarić

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 Portsmouth reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing on penalties to eventual winners Liverpool after a replay. Portsmouth missed out on promotion to the FA Premier League in 1992–93 only by virtue of having scored one less goal than West Ham United.

In the summer of 1996 Terry Venables arrived at Portsmouth as a consultant, later taking over as chairman after buying the club for £1 in February 1997.[9] 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.

Portsmouth's centenary season, 1998–99, saw a serious financial crisis hit the club, and in December 1998 Portsmouth went into financial administration.[10] 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 2000–01 season when they won their final game and Huddersfield Town lost theirs, keeping Portsmouth up at their expense.[11]

2002–2008: Harry Redknapp

Harry Redknapp took over as manager in early 2002, with Jim Smith returning to the club as assistant manager. Redknapp was able to make the most of Mandarić's willingness to invest in players at a time when competitors were struggling after the collapse of ITV Digital's television deal with the Football League. Just over a year later, Portsmouth were celebrating winning the Division One Championship and promotion to the Premier League, winning the title with a game to spare.[12]

The club finished 13th, 16th and 17th in their first three Premier League seasons. Redknapp had resigned midway through the club's second Premier League season, after a disagreement with Mandaric,[13] and went on to manage bitter rivals Southampton, only to return just over a year later, with Velimir Zajec and then Alain Perrin having had brief spells as manager in-between. In January 2006, Portsmouth were bought by businessman Alexandre Gaydamak whose funding allowed for the club to buy practically a whole new squad mid-season. The signings included a quartet from Tottenham Hotspur, then record signing Benjani Mwaruwari and the highly rated Argentina international Andrés D'Alessandro on loan from VfL Wolfsburg. With large amounts of money available for the manager to make record signings, the club finished the 2006–07 season in the top half of the table for the first time, only one point short of European qualification.[citation needed]

The scoreboard at the end of the 2008 FA Cup Final, in which Portsmouth beat Cardiff City 1–0

The 2007–08 season saw Portsmouth finish eighth in the Premier League and reach the FA Cup final for the first time since 1939. They eliminated Manchester United at Old Trafford in the quarter-finals, and beat Championship side West Bromwich Albion 1–0 at Wembley Stadium in the semi-finals, coincidentally the same day that the club celebrated its 110th birthday. Portsmouth went on to win the cup with a 1–0 win over Cardiff, with Nwankwo Kanu scoring the only goal. The win earned them a place in the 2008–09 UEFA Cup, the club's first time playing European football. Their first European match was a historic 2–0 victory over Vitória Guimarães in the first round on 18 September. Portsmouth went on to win the tie 4–2 on aggregate, progressing to the group stage.

International strikers Peter Crouch and Nwankwo Kanu kick off for Portsmouth in their UEFA Cup match against AC Milan

On 25 October 2008, Redknapp left Portsmouth for a second time, leaving his assistant Tony Adams to be promoted to the managerial role. On 27 November, Portsmouth managed a historic 2–2 draw with Italian giants A.C. Milan, going 2–0 up through goals from Younes Kaboul and Nwankwo Kanu, but conceding two goals later in the game. However, performances were not consistently good, and the team were eliminated from the 2008–09 FA Cup in the fourth round, losing 2–0 at home to Championship side Swansea City. Adams was dismissed in February 2009.[14] Youth team coach Paul Hart took over as manager until the end of the season, with Brian Kidd assisting him, and oversaw an upturn in form that resulted in Portsmouth being guaranteed Premier League safety on 16 May 2009. Portsmouth finished the 2008–09 Premier League season in 14th place. On 26 May, Portsmouth accepted a bid from United Arab Emirates businessman Sulaiman Al Fahim to buy the club.[15]

2009–2013: Administration and three relegations

Because of the financial problems suffered by the club, Portsmouth were forced to sell several of their top players and high earners, this included selling Peter Crouch, Sylvain Distin, Glen Johnson and Niko Kranjčar. On 21 July, Al Fahim was appointed non-executive chairman of Portsmouth. On 19 August, Portsmouth announced on their website that a rival consortium headed by current CEO Peter Storrie had also made a bid for the club; unknown at the time, this was backed by Ali Al-Faraj. Despite this, Al Fahim completed the takeover on 26 August; Al Faraj moved to review a takeover of West Ham United. As the early stages of the 2009–10 season progressed, the finances dried up and the club admitted on 1 October that some of their players and staff had not been paid. On 3 October, media outlets started to report that a deal was nearing completion for Ali al-Faraj to take control of the club. On 5 October, a deal was agreed for Al Faraj and his associates via BVI-registered company Falcondrone to hold a 90% majority holding, with Al-Fahim retaining 10% stake and the title of non-executive chairman for two years.[16][17][18] Falcondrone also agreed a deal with Gaydamak the right to buy, for £1, Miland Development (2004) Ltd, which owns various strategic pockets of land around the ground, once refinancing is complete.[19] 2 days after the Al-Faraj takeover was completed Portsmouth's former Technical Director Avram Grant returned as Director of football.[20] On the pitch, Portsmouth's late transfer of funds called for a flurry of transfers at the end of the window, including the loan signing of Ivory Coast international Aruna Dindane who would go on to score a hat trick against Wigan Athletic. An opening run of seven defeats saw fears Hart would be sacked. However at the eighth attempt, at Molineux Stadium, Hassan Yebda another loanee, headed the first win. Portsmouth were beaten 4–2 at home by Aston Villa in the quarter finals of the League Cup having beaten off Premier League high-flyers Stoke City. Yet another loanee Frédéric Piquionne was on target twice. However, because of the financial problems, the Premier League placed the club under a transfer embargo, meaning the club were not allowed to sign any players.

Avram Grant took over at Portsmouth on 26 November 2009[21][22] replacing former manager Paul Hart, who had been sacked by the board two days previously, due to the club's position at the bottom of the league.[23]

In December 2009, it was announced that the club had failed to pay the players for the second consecutive month,[24] on the 31st it was announced player's wages would again be paid late on 5 January 2010. According to common football contracts, the players then had the right to terminate their contracts and leave the club without any compensation for the club, upon giving two weeks' notice. Despite the financial difficulties, Grant's time as manager was initially successful. He gained two wins (against Burnley and Liverpool) and a draw away at Sunderland from his first five games. The only losses inflicted on Portsmouth in this period were by eventual double winners Chelsea and the previous season's champions, Manchester United. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) filed a winding-up petition against Portsmouth at the High Court in London on 23 December 2009.[25] In March 2010, this winding-up petition was dropped,[26] leaving Portsmouth with a nine-point penalty for entering administration.[27] During the 2009–10 season, it had become apparent to the club's new owner Balram Chainrai that Portsmouth were approximately £135 million in debt[28] so to protect the club from liquidation, Chainrai placed the club into administration on 26 February 2010, and the club appointed Andrew Andronikou, Peter Kubik and Michael Kiely of accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young as administrators. This automatically incurred a nine-point penalty from the FA Premier League which came into effect on 17 March and consigned the team to almost certain relegation, which was mathematically confirmed on 10 April.[29]

On 9 April it was announced David Lampitt would be joining Portsmouth as their new CEO after he had worked a period of notice at the FA, his current employer. Portsmouth were relegated to the Championship the following day after West Ham United beat Sunderland. Despite this, Portsmouth won their FA Cup semi-final match against Tottenham 2–0 after extra-time the next day, with goals from Frédéric Piquionne and Kevin-Prince Boateng winning the match. They faced Chelsea in the final at Wembley on 15 May and lost 1–0 to a goal from Didier Drogba. Despite being the FA Cup finalists, the club were denied a licence to play European football the following season in the UEFA Europa League.[30] In May, Grant resigned as Portsmouth manager. On 17 June, the club's creditors voted for a Company Voluntary Arrangement, with an 81.3% majority;[31] Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Paul Hart and the agent of Portsmouth midfielder Tommy Smith were the only ones to reject it, but HMRC appealed against the CVA due to the reduction of their considerable debt.[32] On 15 July 2010 HMRC appealed against the proposed CVA on the last day before it would be formally agreed,[33] the case was originally going to take place in October 2010, but after an appeal from the administrators at the club it was set for 3 August at the High Court in London. The case was heard by Mr Justice Mann from 3 to 5 August where, having heard submissions from both sides, he turned down HMRC's appeal on all five counts put forward by the revenue service. HMRC decided not to appeal against the verdict, leaving Portsmouth's administrators to formally agree the CVA and bring the club out of administration.[34] On 17 August, Balram Chainrai completed his takeover of the club and passed the owners and Directors Fit and proper person test.

On 22 October, Portsmouth issued a statement saying: "it appears likely that the club will now be closed down and liquidated by the administrators.",[35] but key creditor Alexandre Gaydamak announced the next day that he had reached an agreement which could save their future.[36] It was revealed just hours later that Portsmouth had finally come out of administration, with Balram Chainrai regaining control of the company.[37]

2010–2012: The Championship

Former Notts County manager Steve Cotterill was appointed manager of the club in June 2010 on a three-year contract.[38] During the 2010 Summer transfer window, Marc Wilson, who had only recently been named captain, signed for Stoke City on transfer deadline day, with Stoke players Dave Kitson and Liam Lawrence moving to Fratton Park as part of the deal.[39] After a poor start had left Portsmouth rooted to the bottom of the league in September, they went on a seven-match unbeaten run, which helped lift them to mid-table by the end of October.[40] After achieving 19 points from seven matches in October, Cotterill was nominated for the October Manager of the Month award. Lawrence, with six goals under his belt and a number of impressive performances, also received a nomination for Player of the Month.

Unfortunately this run of form did not continue. Later in the season, Portsmouth's form started to falter and they were in 18th place by January 2011. During this time the size of the squad depleted further by contract complications with players Richard Hughes and Michael Brown as a clause written into their contracts would trigger new agreements with higher wages. Another seven-match unbeaten run was recorded, picking up 17 points from a possible 21. In March, Portsmouth recorded a 1–0 win over a strong Leicester City with a first-half David Nugent strike splitting the teams apart. Portsmouth finished the season with an eight-game winless run and ended up 16th with 58 points.

On 1 June 2011, Convers Sports Initiatives owned by Russian Vladimir Antonov completed its takeover of the club.[41] On 15 June the club announced their first summer signing, who was David Norris from Ipswich on a free transfer, this was followed by the signings of Jason Pearce (strangely the first transfer with available money since January 2010),[42] Luke Varney, Stephen Henderson and Greg Halford.[43]

On 13 August, prior to kick-off against Reading at Fratton Park, it was announced that Portsmouth had re-signed forward Benjani Mwaruwari; he had previously left the club in 2008. On 14 October, Steve Cotterill agreed a compensation package to be allowed to take the vacant Nottingham Forest manager's position.[44] Later that day, it was announced that first team coaches Stuart Gray and Guy Whittingham would take over management duties, Cotterill's departure allowed several omitted players a return to the first team, such as Dave Kitson and Ricardo Rocha in a 2–0 home win against Barnsley.

Following Cotterill's departure, Michael Appleton was announced as the new manager on 10 November 2011.[45] His first match in charge was a 2–0 defeat at Watford, only Appleton's second match as a first team manager.[clarification needed]

Administration again

On 23 November 2011, a Europe-wide arrest warrant was issued for owner of Portsmouth, Vladimir Aleksandrovich Antonov, by Lithuanian prosecutors as part of an investigation into alleged asset stripping at Lithuanian bank Bankas Snoras, which is 68% owned by Antonov and had gone into temporary administration the previous week. Operations in another of Antonov's banks, Latvijas Krajbanka were suspended by Latvian authorities on 22 November 2011 for similar reasons.[46] Antonov was subsequently arrested at his offices in London on 24 November and was bailed.[47]

Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) released a statement which said "In the light of the recent events at Snoras Bank, Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) would like to reassure its companies, staff, and the fans of its teams and events, that it remains very much business as usual." The statement added that "CSI has been solely financed through the private wealth of its owners. Snoras Bank has never provided funding for the purchase of a CSI organisation, nor has it lent any money to these businesses after they have been acquired."[48] However, Lithuanian prosecutors added that they would be taking "all the necessary steps" to freeze assets belonging to Mr Antonov and his business partner.[47] On 29 November 2011, Antonov resigned as chairman of Portsmouth after parent company Convers Sports Initiatives entered administration.[49] On 24 January 2012, Portsmouth were issued with a winding up petition by HMRC for over £1.6 million in unpaid taxes, which was heard on 20 February.[50]

On 17 February, Portsmouth went into administration for the second time in two years, bringing them an automatic 10-point deduction.[51][52] Administrator Trevor Birch admitted that the financial situation was "worse than we first feared" and that Portsmouth were "struggling to make the end of the season".[53] On 11 April 2012, reports from administrators PKF revealed that Portsmouth owed £58 million debt with £38 million was owed to UHY Hacker Young, £10.5 million investment made by Vladimir Antonov's Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) remained outstanding, players were due £3.5 million in wages and bonuses for the last two seasons, while £2.3 million was owed to Revenue and Customs and, additionally, £3.7 million was owed for general trade.[54] On 21 April Portsmouth were relegated from the Championship after a 2–1 loss to Derby County, condemning Portsmouth to League One – the first time in 30 years that the club had played at that level.

2012–2013: League One

Following Pompey's relegation, the entire professional playing squad left the club, with the final player, Liam Lawrence, leaving on 10 August 2012.[55] Portsmouth were due to start the 2012–13 season on −10 points after being told by the Football League that they were allowed into League One with strict financial controls, which administrator Trevor Birch described as "unjustified".[56] Despite the penalty not being immediately applied, it was confirmed in December 2012.[57]

On 7 November 2012 it was announced that Michael Appleton had left Portsmouth to become the manager of Blackpool. The club confirmed that Guy Whittingham would take over as caretaker manager.[58] On 9 November 2012 Chanrai halted his attempt to buy the club.[59] Six days later, the Pompey Supporters Trust signed a conditional agreement with PFK to buy the club.[60] Portsmouth were unable to find a manager on a long-term basis due to their financial state. The club went on a record winless run, playing their 20th game without a win in February 2013,[61] the streak stretching back to October 2012 when the club defeated Shrewsbury.[62] The winless streak lasted a total of 23 matches, finally ending on 2 March 2013 as Portsmouth won 2–1 away at Crewe Alexandra.[63] On 10 April 2013, a deal with administrators was reached,[64] although the Pompey Supporters' Trust had not yet finalised the purchase.[65] Portsmouth were relegated to League Two at the end of the season.[66]

2013–present: Exiting administration, Pompey Supporters Trust and League Two

On 19 April 2013, Portsmouth exited administration when the Pompey Supporters Trust deal to buy the club was completed.[67] Following Pompey's second successive relegation, Guy Whittingham was appointed manager on a permanent basis, with a one-year contract.[68] Portsmouth sold over 10,000 season tickets for the 2013–14 season, a record for any League Two club.[69] In November 2013, with Pompey 18th in the league and having lost their last four competitive games, Whittingham was sacked after just over a year in charge. Andy Awford took over as caretaker manager with Alan McLoughlin and David Connolly assisting.[70]

After only 12 days, on 9 December 2013, ex-Crawley manager Richie Barker was appointed Portsmouth boss, along with Steve Coppell as the Director of Football, similar to the set-up used at Crawley Town. Barker was sacked after 20 games in charge, with the club in serious danger of relegation to the Football Conference, and Awford was again made caretaker manager.[71] Since the latter's appointment, he won five games out of five played, becoming longest winning run for over three years, and guaranteeing Pompey's survival in League Two.[72] On 1 May 2014 Awford was appointed Pompey's permanent manager, signing a one-year contract.[73] On a historic announcement on Monday 29 September 2014 the club was able to declare itself debt-free after paying back all creditors and legacy payments to ex-players.[74] The news came 18 months after the PST took control of the club.

Following an unsuccessful 2014–15 campaign, Paul Cook was appointed manager of Portsmouth. This resulted in back room staff and players departing the club, with Dan Butler, Joe Devera, Wes Fogden, Danny East, Nicky Shorey, Ben Chorley and Tom Craddock all amongst the players to leave the club on 18 May 2015.

On 8 August 2015 Paul Cook managed his first game as Portsmouth manager with a 3–0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge at home.


Current squad

As of 6 January 2016[75]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Paul Jones
2 England MF Ben Davies
3 Republic of Ireland DF Enda Stevens
4 England DF Adam Webster
5 Benin MF Romuald Boco
6 England DF Christian Burgess
7 Northern Ireland FW Adam McGurk
8 Republic of Ireland MF Michael Doyle (captain)
9 England FW Matt Tubbs
10 Scotland FW Marc McNulty (on loan from Sheffield United)
11 England MF Gary Roberts
13 Northern Ireland FW Caolan Lavery (on loan from Sheffield Wednesday)
No. Position Player
15 Republic of Ireland MF Adam Barton
18 England MF Ben Tollitt
19 England FW Conor Chaplin
20 England DF Matt Clarke (on loan from Ipswich Town)
23 England MF Kyle Bennett
24 Republic of Ireland GK Brian Murphy
25 France MF Nigel Atangana
26 England FW Gareth Evans
29 England MF Danny Hollands
33 England MF Ben Close
38 England DF Brandon Haunstrup

Reserves and Academy

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
30 England MF Adam May
31 England FW Brandon Joseph-Buadi
32 England MF Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain
34 England DF Calvin Davies
No. Position Player
35 England GK Alex Bass
36 England DF Dory Yates
40 England FW Kaleem Haitham

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
14 Scotland MF Kal Naismith (on loan to Hartlepool United)
16 England DF Jack Whatmough (on loan to Havant and Waterlooville)
21 England MF James Dunne (on loan to Dagenham & Redbridge)
22 England GK Michael Poke (on loan to Eastleigh)
England DF Chad Field (on loan to Bognor Regis Town)
Norway DF Snorre Nilsen (on loan to Bognor Regis Town)
England FW Liam Sayers (on loan to Dorchester Town)

Notable players

For a list of notable players and players who played for Portsmouth for more than 100 games in a sortable-list format see List of Portsmouth F.C. players.

Retired and reserved numbers

  • Number 1 was temporarily retired for the 2001–02 season in respect to goalkeeper Aaron Flahavan, who died in a car crash in August 2001, days after being handed the squad number 1 for the first time. Since the 2003–04 season, number 13 shirt was reserved in respect for him, as this was the number he wore for the majority of his stay at the club.[76] However, ten years after his death the number 13 was again used, firstly by Stephen Henderson, then by Simon Eastwood and Johnny Ertl respectively.
  • Number 12 is reserved for the fans (often referred to as the 12th man).[citation needed]

Portsmouth Player of the Season (since 1968)

Year Winner
1968 England Ray Pointer
1969 England John Milkins
1970 England Nicky Jennings
1971 England David Munks
1972 England Richie Reynolds
1973 Not awarded
1974 England Paul Went
1975 England Mick Mellows
1976 England Paul Cahill
1977 Not awarded
Year Winner
1978 Not awarded
1979 England Peter Mellor
1980 England Joe Laidlaw
1981 England Keith Viney
1982 England Alan Knight
1983 England Alan Biley
1984 England Mark Hateley
1985 England Neil Webb
1986 Jamaica Noel Blake
1987 Jamaica Noel Blake
Year Winner
1988 Wales Barry Horne
1989 England Micky Quinn
1990 England Guy Whittingham
1991 England Martin Kuhl
1992 England Darren Anderton
1993 England Paul Walsh
1994 Wales Kit Symons
1995 England Alan Knight
1996 England Alan Knight
1997 England Lee Bradbury
Year Winner
1998 England Andy Awford
1999 England Steve Claridge
2000 England Steve Claridge
2001 England Scott Hiley
2002 England Peter Crouch
2003 England Linvoy Primus
2004 Netherlands Arjan de Zeeuw
2005 Serbia and Montenegro Dejan Stefanović
2006 England Gary O'Neil
2007 England David James
Year Winner
2008 England David James
2009 England Glen Johnson
2010 England Jamie O'Hara
2011 England Hayden Mullins
2012 Portugal Ricardo Rocha
2013 Austria Johannes Ertl
2014 England Ricky Holmes
2015 England Jed Wallace

Portsmouth players at the FIFA World Cup


– No Portsmouth player competed in any World Cup from 1962 to 1990.


Portsmouth players at the Olympic Games

Two Portsmouth players have represented the Great Britain national football team at the Olympic Games, firstly Arthur Knight in the 1912 competition[77][78] and later Roy Littlejohn in the 1956 tournament.[citation needed]

Portsmouth FC Hall of Fame

Portsmouth created a Hall of Fame in March 2009, which honours former players and staff members of the club.[79] At a year-by-year ceremony, the club holds a day to announce the year's inducted to the list, and also has a dinner for the people present.

The following players have been inducted into the Portsmouth Football Club Hall of Fame:

All appearances and goals according to Soccerbase.

Club personnel

Position Staff
Chairman Iain McInnes
Board Ashley Brown
Mike Dyer
John Kimbell
John Kirk
Christopher Moth
Mark Trapani
Chief Executive Mark Catlin
Manager Paul Cook
Assistant Manager Leam Richardson
First Team Coach Ian Foster
Goalkeeping Coach Scott Bevan
Kit Manager Kev McCormack
Club Ambassador Alan Knight MBE
Academy Manager Mark Kelly



Figures correct as of 9 January 2016
Includes all competitive matches.
Name Nat Managerial Tenure P W D L Win %
Frank Brettell England England August 1898 – May 1901 88 56 9 23 63.64
Bob Blyth England England August 1901 – May 1904 142 84 29 29 59.15
Richard Bonney England England August 1904 – May 1908 206 99 39 68 48.06
Robert Brown England England August 1911 – May 1920 220 100 48 72 45.45
John McCartney Scotland Scotland May 1920 – May 1927 308 129 93 86 41.88
Jack Tinn England England May 1927 – May 1947 586 229 131 226 39.08
Bob Jackson England England May 1947 – June 1952 234 114 51 69 48.72
Eddie Lever England England August 1952 – April 1958 261 88 67 106 33.72
Freddie Cox England England August 1958 – February 1961 120 28 29 63 23.33
George Smith England England April 1961 – April 1970 410 149 110 151 36.34
Ron Tindall England England April 1970 – May 1973 130 34 40 56 26.15
John Mortimore England England May 1973 – September 1974 47 16 13 18 34.04
Ian St. John Scotland Scotland September 1974 – May 1977 124 31 33 60 25
Jimmy Dickinson England England May 1977 – May 1979 91 27 29 35 29.67
Frank Burrows Scotland Scotland May 1979 – May 1982 138 61 39 38 44.2
Bobby Campbell England England May 1982 – May 1984 88 40 17 31 45.45
Alan Ball England England May 1984 – January 1989 222 94 58 70 42.34
John Gregory England England January 1989 – January 1990 50 10 15 25 20
Frank Burrows Scotland Scotland January 1990 – March 1991 60 20 17 23 33.33
Jim Smith England England June 1991 – February 1995 199 81 54 64 40.7
Terry Fenwick England England August 1995 – January 1998 131 43 29 59 32.82
Alan Ball England England January 1998 – December 1999 97 28 26 43 28.87
Tony Pulis Wales Wales January 2000 – October 2000 35 11 10 14 31.43
Steve Claridge England England October 2000 – February 2001 23 5 10 8 21.74
Graham Rix England England February 2001 – March 2002 56 16 17 23 28.57
Harry Redknapp England England March 2002 – November 2004 116 54 26 36 46.55
Velimir Zajec Croatia Croatia November 2004 – April 2005 21 5 4 12 23.81
Alain Perrin France France April 2005 – November 2005 21 4 6 11 19.05
Harry Redknapp England England December 2005 – October 2008 128 54 29 45 42.19
Tony Adams England England October 2008 – February 2009 22 4 7 11 18.18
Paul Hart England England February 2009 – November 2009 30 9 6 15 30
Avram Grant Israel Israel November 2009 – May 2010 33 10 7 16 30.3
Steve Cotterill England England June 2010 – October 2011 61 18 17 26 29.51
Michael Appleton England England November 2011 – November 2012 51 13 11 27 25.49
Guy Whittingham England England November 2012 – November 2013 51 11 15 25 21.57
Richie Barker England England December 2013 – March 2014 20 4 8 8 20
Andy Awford England England March 2014 – April 2015 55 20 17 18 36.36
Paul Cook England England May 2015 – 31 14 12 5 45.16

Caretaker managers

Figures correct as of 18 April 2015
Includes all competitive matches.
Name Nat Managerial Tenure P W D L Win %
Ron Tindall England England September 1974 2 0 0 2 0
Tony Barton England England March 1991 – May 1991 12 5 2 5 41.67
Keith Waldon England England January 1998 – January 1998 3 0 0 3 0
Bob McNab England England December 1999 – January 2000 5 0 2 3 0
Joe Jordan Scotland Scotland November 2005 – December 2005 2 0 0 2 0
Stuart Gray England England October 2011 – November 2011 6 3 1 2 50
Andy Awford England England November 2013 – December 2013 3 0 2 1 0
Gary Waddock England England April 2015 – 2 May 2015 4 1 1 2 25

Colours and crest

Portsmouth'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 Portsmouth's home strip up until 1947 when the socks were changed to red; this coincided with the club's most successful period and has remained the favoured colours for the majority of the time since. Yellow and – more recently – gold have also been used as secondary colours on the club's home shirts.[87]

The most frequent away colours used by Portsmouth have been white shirts with royal or navy blue shorts and either blue or white socks.[citation needed] The club has had white as either the second or third choice shirt for every season since 1998–99 to date.[citation needed] Other colours that have appeared several times on Portsmouth change kits have been yellow (usually with blue shorts) and red (often combined with black).[citation needed] Portsmouth have also briefly experimented with salmon pink, orange, navy blue and, perhaps most notably, gold change strips.[citation needed] From the 2006–07 season to the 2008–09 season the club have used black with a gold trim as their third choice colours.[citation needed] In the 2009–10 season the third kit was black with blue trim and thin blue hoops.[citation needed] The away kit was white with two navy blue vertical lines running the whole way down the side of the shirt, with the badge superimposed on top of them.[citation needed] The home kit has been the classic red white and blue kit, with plain blue shirt, plain white shorts and plain red socks.[citation needed] For the 2010 FA Cup Final, Portsmouth wore a change kit of white shirts, burgundy shorts and burgundy socks.[88] For 2010–11, the away kit was a white shirt, with maroon shorts and socks. In 2011–12, the away kit was a black shirt, with black shorts and socks; the club also announced a third one, with a divided shirt half-black and half-red; shorts and socks were red. For 2012–13, the club returned with a white shirt as an away kit, and turned into an orange-type third kit, with black shorts and orange socks.

The official emblem contains a gold star and crescent on a blue shield, Portsmouth's adoption of the star and crescent is said to have come 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. Throughout their history the club have tried different variations of the crest before reverting 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, Portsmouth 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 four years when it was replaced by the city's coat of arms in 1993. This design was based around the basic star and crescent but was unpopular with many fans who thought it was over elaborate. After only four seasons the original crest was again reinstated. "Since 1898" was added to the badge underneath the club's name in time for the 2007 season. On 6 May 2008, Portsmouth unveiled a new crest which differed significantly from the old crest. The "star and moon" had a three dimensional look and the "three points" at the top of the shield were removed to be replaced with two corners. The "moon" also had more diameter and overall bore more resemblance to that of the city's Coat of Arms. As part of the WW1 Centennial Commemorations in the 2014–15 Season the club opted to replace the crest on the home kit with that which was used back in 1914. This was a more traditional-looking club crest featuring three points at the top of a slightly rounded shield but with a silver five-pointed star inside instead of the usual eight-pointed one. The moon featured on the crest was also silver, both appearing on a blue background. Following positive feedback from supporters in June 2015 the club decided to permanently change the Official club crest back to a more familiar and traditional design. Today the crest is virtually identical in design to that which has been used for the majority of the club's history. The famous "star and moon" are both silver on a blue background and have a slight three-dimensional appearance. The crest's shield retains the three points at the top but is in a more traditional shape. No words or lettering features on the club crest just like that which was used on home shirts the previous season.

Kit history

Traditional home

Manufacturers and sponsors

Years Manufacturers Sponsors
1976–1977 Umbro No sponsors
1978–1980 Admiral
1980–1983 Gola
1983–1984 Le Coq Sportif
1985–1987 Umbro
1987–1989 Admiral Fiat
1989–1991 Scoreline Goodmans
1991–1993 Influence
1993–1995 Asics
1995–1997 Portsmouth News
1997–1999 Admiral KJC Mobile Phones
1999–2000 Pompey Sport1 The Pompey Centre
2000–2002 Bishop's Printers
2002–2005 TY Europe
2005–2007 Jako OKI
2007–2009 Canterbury
2009–2010 Jobsite
2010–2013 Kappa
2013– Sondico

1 Portsmouth's own manufacturer.


The entrance to Fratton Park's South Stand, with its mock Tudor facade

Portsmouth play their home games at Fratton Park, in Portsmouth. The ground has been home to the club throughout its entire history.

Plans for relocation were first mooted as long ago as the early 1990s, but due to various objections, and financial obstacles, the club has continued to play at Fratton Park. Most recently, plans for relocation have included new stadia on a site offered by the Royal Navy at Horsea Island, between Stamshaw and Port Solent, and on reclaimed land in Portsmouth harbour beside the existing naval base. The former was mooted as a possible FIFA World Cup 2018 venue as part of England's bid process. However, the cost to the city's taxpayers to join the bid was deemed too great a risk to take.[89] A third, oft returned to option, is to build a new stadium on the site of the existing Fratton Park.

Following Portsmouth F.C.'s financial troubles, subsequent relegation from the FA Premier League, and the failure of the England 2018 bid, as of April 2011 there are no active plans for a new club stadium.

Supporters and rivalries

Portsmouth fans at Wembley Stadium for the 2007–08 FA Cup semi-final with West Bromwich Albion

Portsmouth's main rivals are near neighbours Southampton. Prior to the mid/late 1960s, rivalry between Portsmouth and Southampton was largely non-existent, as a consequence of their disparity in league status. This derby match has been sporadic. Since 1977, the teams have only played league games against each other in four seasons (1987–88, 2003–04, 2004–05 and 2011–12). Including Southern League games, there have been 64 league games between the clubs, but they have also met five times in the FA Cup, Portsmouth beating their rivals 4–1 at St Mary's in their last meeting in 2010. Another rivalry over the years, colloquially known as the "Dockyard Derby", is with Plymouth Argyle.[90][91] This rivalry is also known as the Battle of the Ports.[92]

The best known chant sung by Portsmouth supporters is the Pompey Chimes ("Play up Pompey, Pompey play up", sung to the tune of the Westminster Chimes). It is regarded as football's oldest chant still in use today.[93][94] The origins of the Pompey Chimes lies with the Royal Artillery FC, 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, completed in 1890, would strike the quarter hours and the referees would use the clock to let them know when the match should finish at 4 pm. Just before 4 pm 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 in Europe

Portsmouth made their European debut in the 2008–09 UEFA Cup. After a home victory against Victoria Guimarães and a gala home draw against AC Milan, Portsmouth were knocked out at the group stages after a 3–2 away loss to German side Wolfsburg.

Women's football

The club's female counterpart is Portsmouth F.C. Ladies, which was founded in 1987. The team currently plays in the FA Women's Premier League National Division, after having won the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division in 2012. Pompey are the current holders of the Hampshire Cup. Following the take over of Portsmouth FC by the Portsmouth Supporters Trust, it was announced that there would be closer ties between the men's and women's clubs.

Affiliated clubs

Portsmouth have had a long-standing relationship with Havant & Waterlooville, with regular pre-season friendlies organised between the two clubs. Portsmouth have also previously used West Leigh Park, Havant & Waterlooville's home stadium, for reserve team matches. Previous links with Belgian side Zulte Waregem[95] and Irish academy Home Farm[96] have been cancelled.

Portsmouth have developed a relationship with Gosport, after their promotion to the Conference South. Portsmouth fans were encouraged to support Gosport in their FA Trophy final match at Wembley in March 2014.[97] They also play friendlies and loan out players to the side.

Club honours

Football League First Division / Premier League
Football League Second Division / Football League Championship
Football League Third Division / Football League One
FA Cup
FA Community Shield

Other honours

Club records

Record signing

On 11 July 2008, Portsmouth completed the club-record signing – thought to be around £11 million – of England striker Peter Crouch in a four-year deal from Liverpool.[98] This marked the second time Crouch had been Portsmouth's most expensive player as in 2001 his £1.5 million fee was a club record. Portsmouth's first million-pound signing was Rory Allen in July 1999.[99] The highest fee received was £18 million for midfielder Lassana Diarra to Real Madrid.[citation needed]


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  • Inglis, Simon (1996). Football Grounds of Britain. Collins Willow. ISBN 0-00-218426-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Official websites

News sites


  • Colin Farmery (2005). Portsmouth: the Modern Era – a Complete Record. Desert Island Books. ISBN 1-905328-08-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Colin Farmery (1999). Portsmouth: From Tindall to Ball – A Complete Record. Desert Island Books. ISBN 1-874287-25-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Colin Farmery (2004). Seventeen Miles From Paradise – Saints v Pompey: Passion, Pride and Prejudice. Desert Island Books. ISBN 1-874287-89-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Cass Pennant & Rob Silvester (2004). Rolling with the 6.57 Crew – The True Story of Pompey's Legendary Football Fans. John Blake Publishing. ISBN 1-84454-072-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>