So some of you may not know but I am a lifelong Pompey fan, and unless you have been hiding under a rock somewhere you will know that the club has suffered some dark days of late.
With a 1-0 defeat away to Aldershot in the FA Cup on Wednesday is almost the icing on a very bitter cake.
Being knocked-out of the cup by a non-league side — the first time in the clubs history — has left a nasty taste in many fans mouths, with many calling for manger Andy Awfords’ head.
I for one think Awford should be given a little bit longer. OK the 3-0 defeat to Plymouth was embarrassing and YES getting knocked-out of a competition the team one in 2008 is not ideal, but right now who else could guide Pompey to a higher level.
Before the season got under-way everyone said Pompey would be pushing for promotion. Now lets take a second to be realistic, OK the Blues’ form may not be the best in the league, however they are still only five points off the Play-offs’.
That’s not bad going for a club who only became debt free earlier this year. If you would care to think back to this time last year, once again the Blues’ were suffering and the board decided to get ride of Guy Whittingham. We all know how that ended with the club having three managers in one year.
Awford has come in and steadied the ship. He is still a young manager learning his trade, he is bound to make mistakes but I would rather him make mistakes at this level and build foundations for the future.
The Fratton faithful need to see the season out then judge Awfords’ season accordingly. If the team find themselves in a relegation battle once more then maybe his position as manager does need to be reassured, BUT if we finish midtable or even just outside the play-offs I think the fans can take that as a win.
The Premier league returns this weekend when focus has been strongly on FIFA and the FA, but a lot of people have voiced their opinion on this subject so I am going to steer clear. Instead I want to talk about the international break.
Wayne Rooney getting his 100th cap and closing in on Bobby Charlton’s record is the obvious talking points, but something that really stood out for me was the first goal in the England V Scotland game. A fantastic pass from Jack Wiltshire for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to head home. Two Arsenal players linking up, but why can’t England’s best passing team produce the same moments of magic in the League. Arsenal currently lay sixth in the table already 12 points behind Chelsea.
Somehow though Arsene Wenger’s men are still struggling in defence, How much longer can the Gunners keep playing the flowing football if they are leaking goals at the back. On top of that how much patients will fans have with Wenger if money is not spent on a world-class defender.
Another issue I have with the International break is the amount of players affected by injuries. Daley Blind has been ruled with an injured knee keeping him out for at least six weeks.
The Dutch International has been one of the more stand out players under the Louis Van Gaal regime. It sparks the same old club V country argument. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing players represent their country in competitive matches, however if it is only a friendly and there are vital league games ahead should players be given the choice if they play a friendly.
Raheem Sterling got heavily criticised for saying he was too tired, but if a professional athlete gets injured during a one off game that doesn’t mean anything you can understand their frustration. Friendlies should be used to experiment and give different players an opportunity.
England have had a tough time during the Autumn Internationals having lost to both New Zealand and South Africa. Now all eyes will be on Stuart Lancaster ahead of the clash against Samoa. With the World Cup only a year away Lancaster really needs to start getting results if England are going to pose any type of threat.
The issue with the England side at the moment is that Lancaster doesn’t seem to know what his strongest side is. Maybe using these Autumn Internationals is a good starting ground, but if you look at the caliber of players his side are coming up against the England side look rather average.
UKIP recently won their second parliamentary seat and it is a sign of the push Nigel Farge’s party is getting.
After Mark Reckless won the Rochester by-election there is no doubt that the UK is now starting to listen to Farage, for a 25 year old this is quite disconcerting. No matter what your political stand, the racial undertones to a lot of what UKIP believes in is not what a multi-cultural UK needs. Taking into account that a lot of the older generation share the same state of mind as the UKIP leader, but worryingly there are younger people who are jumping on the racial band wagon.
Come the general election in May it will be interesting how strong the UKIP charge is. David Cameron is trying to push for the UK to leave the EU as a counter balance to the UKIP policy, however I think a lot of seats will go the way of UKIP – particularly former Lib Dem seats – leaving Farage with a lot more powers in Parliament.