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|Full name||Portsmouth Football Club|
|Founded||5 April 1898|
|Capacity||20,620 (18,600 presently)|
|Owner||The Tornante Company|
|2016–17||League Two, 1st (Champions)|
Portsmouth Football Club // ( listen) is a professional football club in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, which plays in League One, the third tier of English football, following their promotion as League Two champions in the 2016–17 season. The club was founded on 5 April 1898 and home matches are played at Fratton Park.
Portsmouth have been the top tier Football League Champions of England twice consecutively in 1949 and 1950. Portsmouth have also won the FA Cup twice in 1939 and 2008, and have won the FA Charity Shield once in 1949. Portsmouth have also won the second tier division title once in 2002–03, the third tier division title three times in 1923–24 (South), 1961–62, 1982–83 and the fourth tier division title once in 2016–17, making Portsmouth F.C. southern England's most successful football club (in terms of cups, honours and titles) outside London. They are one of a handful of teams to have won all 4 divisions in English football.
The only time Portsmouth qualified for European competition, was in the 2008–09 UEFA Cup. In this period, the club had international footballers including England players Glen Johnson, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, David James and Sol Campbell. Financial problems, however, 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.
After winning the League Two title in the final game of the 2016–17 season, Portsmouth became only the fifth club to win all four top tiers of professional English football (after Wolves, Burnley, Preston and Sheffield United).
Portsmouth F.C. were formerly the largest fan-owned football club in England from 2013–2017, after the Pompey Supporters Trust (PST) gained possession of Fratton Park in April 2013. Portsmouth are currently owned by The Tornante Company, having been purchased from the PST on 3 August 2017.
Portsmouth Football Club are nicknamed "Pompey", a name which it shares with the English port city of Portsmouth and its historic naval base. The "Pompey" nickname is thought most likely to originate from the historic Old Portsmouth location known as Portsmouth Point, which is often abbreviated to Po'm. P. when written in shortened form into a ships logbook.
Portsmouth F.C. were not the first football club to be known as "Pompey", as the amateur-level club Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) F.C. (1892–1898) also informally held the city's nickname and had also been the originator of the famous "Pompey Chimes" chant. When Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) F.C. were disbanded in 1898, both the "Pompey" nickname and "Pompey Chimes" chant then migrated to the newly formed Portsmouth F.C.
During the first early seasons of Portsmouth F.C., the football team wore salmon pink shirts with maroon collars and cuffs, white shorts and black socks. The pink shirts gave rise to an alternative nickname, 'The Shrimps'. 'The Shrimps' went out of common usage after 1909 when Portsmouth F.C. began playing in white shirts, navy blue shorts and navy blue stockings. After 1911, Portsmouth began playing in their now familiar royal blue shirts.
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Portsmouth Association Football Club was an amateur team founded in 1883 by renowned Portsmouth architect, Arthur Edward Cogswell (1858–1934). Portsmouth AFC's most famous player was author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Arriving in Portsmouth in June 1882, Doyle set up a medical practice at 1 Bush Villas in Elm Grove, Southsea. The practice was initially not very successful. While waiting for patients, Doyle began writing fiction, played cricket and also played as Portsmouth AFC goalkeeper under the pseudonym, "A.C. Smith". Portsmouth AFC were disbanded in 1896.
Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) F.C. were first elected into The Southern Football League Division Two for the 1897–98 season, in which they finished top and were promoted up to The Southern Football League Division One for the next 1898–99 season. The origins of the "Pompey Chimes" chant lies with Royal Artillery, who played many of their home games at the United Services Recreation Ground in Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, within easy earshot of the Portsmouth Guildhall clock bells, which inspired the chant. Royal Artillery held the nicknames of "The Gunners" because of their British Army origins and also "Pompey", adopted from the city of Portsmouth in which they were based.
Royal Artillery defeated Harwich & Parkeston 1–3 in the 1898–99 FA Amateur Cup quarter-finals, but were disqualified by The Football Association for having violated their amateur status by taking amateur players away for a week's specialist training before the cup-tie. (Other versions of the same story allege Royal Artillery paid professional players to play for their amateur team)
With their expulsion from the FA Amateur Cup, Royal Artillery's entire first team were then suspended for professionalism, forcing Royal Artillery to field their reserve team for the remainder of the 1898–99 Southern League season. Subsequently, they finished second from bottom of the table. Because of the scandal of their expulsion in the 1898 FA Amateur Cup for alleged 'professionalism' and ending the League season poorly, Royal Artillery then decided to disband.
From out of the ashes of Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) F.C., a new club was soon founded. Many of Royal Artillery's supporters then transferred their allegiance to the new club and brought the 'Pompey Chimes' chant with them from Burnaby Road to the newly created Fratton Park.
The club was founded on 5 April 1898 as "The Portsmouth Football and Athletic Company" with Sir John Brickwood as chairman, The company directors were:
A Blue Plaque on the wall of 12 High Street Portsmouth (Alderman John E. Pink's solicitors office building) commemorates the founding on 5 April 1898.
Frank Brettell was the club's first team manager. The club joined the Southern Football League Division One for the 1899–1900 season, (a result of Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) F.C. being in the same division in the previous 1898–99 season), with their first competitive Southern League match being played away at Chatham Town on 2 September 1899, which Portsmouth won 1–0.
Three days later, on 5 September 1899, the first ever home match at Fratton Park was played; a friendly against local rivals Southampton, which Portsmouth won 2–0, with goals from Dan Cunliffe (formerly with Liverpool) and Harold Clarke (formerly with Everton). Portsmouth's first 1899–1900 season in the Southern Football League Division One was successful, with the club winning 20 out of 28 league matches, earning them the runner-up spot in the table.
The following 1901–02 season saw Portsmouth player Bob Blyth become Portsmouth's second manager on 1 August 1901, replacing Frank Brettell who had left on 31 May 1901. Portsmouth won the division title, finishing in first place in the 1901–02 Southern Football League Division One. However, Portsmouth were not promoted and no teams were relegated. No clubs had applied for election to the Football League proper.
At the start of the 1909–10 season, Portsmouth abandoned their salmon pink and maroon "Shrimps" era shirts and changed their colours to white shirts, navy blue shorts and navy blue socks. Portsmouth ended their season in 6th place in the 1909–10 Southern League Division One.
Portsmouth had a disastrous 1910–11 season and finished bottom of the table in the Southern Football League Division One, winning only 8 of their 38 games and were relegated to the Southern Football League Division Two for the 1911–12 season. Manager Richard Bonney was then let go.
Between seasons, a severe financial crisis then struck and the original company formed in 1898 was 'wound up'. A new limited company named 'Portsmouth City Football Club Limited' was promptly formed to take over from "The Portsmouth Football and Athletic Company" and the club was saved after substantial guarantees were offered by the new board of directors, especially by Mr George Lewin Oliver, who had been also been a founding member and director of the original 1898 company. George Oliver succeeded to become Portsmouth chairman in 1912.
With the recruitment of Robert Brown from Sheffield Wednesday as Portsmouth's fourth manager, the team finished second place in the 1911–12 season behind Merthyr Town and were promoted back to the Southern Football League Division One.
For the new 1912–13 season back in the Southern Football League Division One, the 'new' Portsmouth now wore a new home kit colour combination of blue shirts, white shorts and black stockings. Portsmouth finished the season in 11th position.
Portsmouth's famous crest, consisting of a crescent moon and star made its first appearance in the 1913–14 season. The moon and star motif comes from the Portsmouth town (then) coat of arms and are believed to date back as far as the time of Richard I. Curiously, the star on the original badge featured a star with five points rather than the eight that appear on the town crest. Portsmouth ended the season in 9th position.
Football was suspended during the First World War, then known as 'The Great War'. Many with connections to Portmouth F.C. joined the "Pompey Pals Battalions", which formed parts of the Hampshire Regiment. Many never returned home.
Following the resumption of matches in the 1919–20 season Portsmouth won the Southern League for the second time (the first occasion being in 1901–02) and were promoted to The Football League. John McCartney took over as the fifth manager of Portsmouth on 1 May 1920 from Robert Brown who had left to join Gillingham F.C., also in The Football League.
Newly promoted Portsmouth began the 1920–21 season in England's Football League Third Division South. They finished 12th that year. Portsmouth won the division in the 1923–24 season and were promoted to the Football League Second Division.
The club continued to perform well in the Second Division, winning promotion by finishing second in the 1926–27 season, gaining a 9–1 Fratton Park home win over Notts County along the way, which is still the highest home win scoring record.
South Shields manager Jack Tinn joined Portsmouth as new manager on 1 May 1927, replacing John McCartney who had resigned due to ill health. Portsmouth's debut season in the 1927–28 Division One was a struggle. The next 1928–29 season they continued to falter, losing 10–0 away at Filbert Street to Leicester City, which is still a club record away defeat. Despite their failings in the league, however, that season also saw Portsmouth reach the 1929 FA Cup Final for the first time, which they lost to Bolton Wanderers. Portsmouth managed to survive relegation.
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 1934 FA Cup Final, this time by Manchester City.
Having established themselves in the top flight, the 1938–39 season saw Portsmouth reach the 1939 FA Cup Final, the third time they had done so with manager Jack Tinn, who had worn his 'lucky' spats throughout the qualifying rounds. This third time, Portsmouth managed to defeat favourites Wolverhampton Wanderers 4–1 in what the press had dubbed, 'The Monkey Gland Final' as testosterone injections had been used by both teams (and others) that season. Bert Barlow and John 'Jock' Anderson scored, whilst Cliff Parker scored twice (third and fourth).
The next 1939–40 season began on Saturday 26 August 1939. On Friday 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland. On Saturday 2 September 1939, all divisions of the Football League played their third game of the season, with Blackpool F.C. at the top of the table. But these would be the last national league fixtures before abandonment following the British declaration of war on Germany on Sunday 3 September 1939. Large gatherings of crowds were suspended with the implementation of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939. However, football competitions did take place during the war, with the Football League being split into ten regional mini leagues, with Portsmouth in 'League South'. An annual national cup competition was held too, called the Football League War Cup. During his wartime visits to Portsmouth, Field Marshal Montgomery became interested in the club and was made President of Portsmouth F.C. in 1944 (until 1961).
The outbreak of World War II caused Portsmouth to hold the distinction of holding the FA Cup for the longest uninterrupted period (7 years) as the trophy was not contested again until the 1945–46 season. Manager Jack Tinn is said to have kept the FA Cup trophy 'safe under his bed' throughout the seven years of the war.
After World War II ended, the FA Cup competition was resumed for the 1945–46 season. Portsmouth, as the "current" FA Cup Champions, were knocked out at the Fourth Round stage 0–1 at Birmingham City.
The Football League resumed in 1946–47. 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. Portsmouth ended the 1946–47 season in 12th place. On 1 May 1947, manager Jack Tinn left Portsmouth, with Bob Jackson taking over the role on the same day.
For the 1947–48 season under manager Bob Jackson, Portsmouth finished in 8th place. This was the first League season Portsmouth wore their now familiar red socks, which replaced the pre-war black socks.
In their 50-year "Golden Jubilee" anniversary 1948–49 season, Bob Jackson's Portsmouth side were tipped to be the first team of the 20th century to win the Football League and FA Cup "double", but lost in the FA Cup semi-final against Leicester City. The 1948–49 season also saw them record a home attendance of 51,385, a club record which still stands to this day.
Portsmouth won the Football League title again the following year in the 1949–50 season, 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.
In the following 1950–51 season, League champions Portsmouth finished in 7th position, 13 points behind title winners Tottenham Hotspur. The next 1951–52 season saw an improvement, with Portsmouth finishing in 4th place, 9 points behind title winners Manchester United. The 1952–53 season finished in 15th place and only 4 points above the relegation zone. Arsenal F.C. won the League this season. In the 1953–54 season, Portsmouth finishing in 14th place, 9 points above relegation. Wolverhampton Wanderers won the League this season. Portsmouth finished third in the 1954–55 season, only 4 points behind winners Chelsea F.C.. In the 1955–56 season, on 22 February 1956, Fratton Park hosted the first ever Football League game under floodlights, with Portsmouth against Newcastle United. Portsmouth ended the season in 12th place in Division One.
Portsmouth ended their 32-year stay in Division One at the end of the 1958–59 season when they finished bottom of the division. Portsmouth were then relegated to Division Two.
Following the bottom-place finish in the previous 1958–59 Division One season, Portsmouth started the 1959–60 season in Division Two, the second tier of English football – which Portsmouth had last been in during the 1926–27 season. After another poor season, they escaped a further relegation to the Third Division only by 2 points and finishing only one place above the relegation zone.
At the end of the 1960–61 season Portsmouth finished second-to-last place in Division Two's relegation zone and were relegated once again down to the Third Division, (the first former English League champions to do so).
Portsmouth, now in the Third Division for the 1960–61 season had a good season and were promoted back to the Second Division at the first time of asking under the guidance of George Smith after winning the Third Division title. Despite limited financial means, manager George Smith maintained Portsmouth's Second Division status throughout the rest of the 1960s until moving upstairs to become general manager in April 1970.
The cash injection that accompanied the arrival of John Deacon as chairman in 1972 failed to improve Portsmouth's Second Division position. With Deacon unable to continue bankrolling the club on the same scale, Portsmouth finished bottom of the Second Division in the 1975–76 season and were relegated down to the Third Division.
In November 1976 of the 1976–77 Third Division season, 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. They ended the 1976–77 season only one place and one point above the relegation zone. On 4 May 1977, former Portsmouth and England international player Jimmy Dickinson became the new Portsmouth manager.
Consequently, they were relegated to the Fourth Division at the end of the following 1977–78 season, finishing bottom place. Portsmouth then finished in 7th position in the 1978–79 Fourth Division season.
Frank Burrows became new Portsmouth manager on 1 May 1979. Portsmouth gained promoted back to Division Three after finishing in 4th place in the 1979–80 season. On 21 May 1982, Bobby Campbell became new Portsmouth manager. Portsmouth won the 1982–83 Third Division championship title, gaining promotion back to the Second Division.
On 11 May 1984, former England international and 1966 FIFA World Cup winner, Alan Ball became the new Portsmouth manager. Portsmouth missed winning promotion to Division One in the 1984–85 season, finishing in 4th place on goal-difference. They finished in 4th place again for the following 1985–86 season too.
In the Division Two 1986–87 season, the upper tier of the Fratton End was closed due to structural concerns. leaving only the lower tier of the Fratton End open to fans. Portsmouth finished the 1986–87 season in second place behind Derby County F.C., gaining promotion to Division One for the first time since the 1958–59 season.
By the middle of the new 1987–88 Division One season, the club was again in financial trouble, with half the Fratton End still closed to fans and leaky roofs in the North and South stands. Portsmouth were relegated straight back down to the Second Division. The summer of 1988 saw chairman John Deacon sell the club to London-based businessman and former Queens Park Rangers chairman, Jim Gregory.
With new chairman Jim Gregory injecting money into the club, work began in the summer of 1988 to demolishing the upper tier of the Fratton End and its roof. The North and South stands were refurbished and both received smart new blue-coloured metal sheet roofs.
Portsmouth dropped to Division Two for the 1988–89 season and Ball was sacked on 17 January 1989 and replaced by John Gregory. The entire Fratton End stand was closed during most of the season during demolition works, with only the lower tier of the stand reopening in the springtime of 1989. Portsmouth ended the season only two places above the relegation zone.
The following 1989–90 season saw Gregory leaving the club on 3 January 1990. Assistant manager Frank Burrows became manager for a second occasion on 23 January 1990. Portsmouth finished in 12th position at the end of the season.
Jim Smith's arrival as manager at the start of the 1991–92 season 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. In the newly renamed tier two 'Division One' 1992–93 season (previously Division Two), Portsmouth missed out on promotion to the newly formed FA Premier League (previously Football League Division One) by virtue of having scored one fewer goal than West Ham United, which resulted in Portsmouth losing in the subsequent play-offs for the third promotion place.
The 1994–95 season was a disappointing one for Portsmouth and after a decline in form which left them struggling at the wrong end of Division One, Smith was sacked on 1 February 1995 and was replaced by Terry Fenwick, who guided them to safety with 4 wins in their final 6 league games.
In the 1995–96 season Fenwick's first full season in charge of Portsmouth, relegation to Division Two was avoided on the last day of the season (on goal difference) when Portsmouth won away at Huddersfield Town while other results went the club's way.
In the summer of 1996, Terry Venables arrived at Portsmouth as a consultant. Venables had recently resigned as the England national team manager after the UEFA Euro 1996 competition. Fratton Park was transformed into an all seat stadium, with new blue plastic seats fitted to the lower North terrace, Milton End, lower South terrace paddocks and also to the remnant of the Fratton End terrace.
In the 1996–97 league campaign, Portsmouth finished just short of the qualifying places for the play-offs for promotion to the Premier League. Terry Venables took over as chairman in February 1997 after buying a 51 percent controlling share in the club for £1. The team enjoyed a run in the 1996–97 FA Cup competition, beating FA Premier League side Leeds United on 15 February 1997, but were eventually beaten 1–4 by Chelsea F.C. in the quarter-finals at Fratton Park on 9 March 1997.
At the end of the 1996–97 season, the Fratton End was fully demolished in the summer (of 1997) and work began to build a new Fratton End stand. In addition, a new roof extension was built over the lower tier of the North Stand and was completed before the new season started. These new additions to Fratton Park were partly funded by the Football Trust (now The Football Foundation). The Fratton End was completed and opened just before the end of 1997. As a mark of respect to the club's former player and manager, a memorial portrait of Jimmy Dickinson was incorporated into the seating of the new Fratton End stand, along with the club's crest.
Terry Venables's role as coach of the Australian national team meant he was frequently absent from Portsmouth. Meanwhile, the team's results were poor. Two-thirds of the way through the 1997–98 season, he and manager Terry Fenwick left the club, with Portsmouth on the bottom of the table, and Venables selling his shareholding back to Martin Gregory, son of former chairman Jim Gregory. Alan Ball then returned as manager for the second time on 26 January 1998. Relegation to the third tier was avoided on the last day of the season – by 1 point.
Portsmouth's centenary season, 1998–99, saw a financial crisis hit the club, and in December 1998 Portsmouth went into financial administration. Serbian-born US businessman Milan Mandarić saved the club with a takeover deal in May 1999, and the new chairman immediately started investing for the new 1999–2000 season.
Ball was sacked on 9 December 1999 during the 1999–2000 season with the club near the bottom of the table. Tony Pulis took over on 13 January 2000 and steered the club to safety at the end of the season.
In the 2000–01 season, Pulis was put on leave and replaced by Portsmouth player, Steve Claridge in a player-manager role. On 23 February 2001, Graham Rix took over from Claridge. Portsmouth escaped relegation 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. During the summer break, former West Ham United manager Harry Redknapp was appointed director of football by Mandaric.
A week before the new season began, 25-year-old Portsmouth goalkeeper Aaron Flahavan was killed in a car crash near Bournemouth on 5 August 2001. In a mark of respect, Portsmouth F.C. retired his number 1 shirt for the season. Portsmouth signed veteran Croatian playmaker Robert Prosinečki on a one-year deal and Peter Crouch for the start of the 2001–02 season. Rix lost his job on 25 March 2002, with Harry Redknapp taking over. Former Portsmouth manager Jim Smith was asked to team up with Redknapp, and while he initially turned the offer down to remain as assistant at Coventry City, he soon arrived at Portsmouth after a change of manager at Coventry saw almost all of the club's coaching staff being dismissed. Peter Crouch scored 19 goals for Portsmouth, but was sold to Aston Villa in March 2002 for £5 million. Portsmouth ended the 2001–02 Division One season in 17th place and 4 points above relegation.
In the 2002–03 season, Portsmouth led the division for most of the season, with Svetoslav Todorov scoring 26 league goals, which made him the First Division's top scorer at the end of the season. Portsmouth finished top of Division One as champions on 27 April 2003, six points clear of second-placed Leicester City, gaining promotion (with a game to spare) to the FA Premier League, returning to the top flight after an absence of 15 years. Portsmouth goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, midfielders Matthew Taylor and Paul Merson earned places in the 2002–03 Division One PFA Team of the Year award.
In Portsmouth's Premiership debut season they finished 13th. Redknapp walked out on Portsmouth on 24 November 2004 after a row with Mandarić over the appointment of new Director of Football Velimir Zajec at the club. Zajec then replaced Redknapp, but in April, Zajec was replaced by Frenchman Alain Perrin. Perrin managed to secure Portsmouth's Premiership status with a few games of the season left.
After achieving four wins from 20 games, Perrin was sacked on 24 November 2005. Redknapp returned to manage Portsmouth again. In January 2006, Portsmouth were sold by Milan Mandarić and bought by businessman Alexandre Gaydamak. New signings included a quartet from Tottenham Hotspur, then record signing Benjani and Argentine international Andrés D'Alessandro on loan from VfL Wolfsburg. The club survived their third season in the Premier League one place above the relegation zone in 17th position. With large amounts of money available for Redknapp to make record signings, the club finished the 2006–07 season in the top half of the table for the first time, in ninth position, only one point short of European qualification.
The following 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 on 5 April 2008, Portsmouth 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.
On 17 May 2008, Portsmouth played Cardiff City in the second FA Cup Final to be played at the newly rebuilt Wembley Stadium. Portsmouth won 1–0, with Nwankwo Kanu scoring the only goal. It was the second time Portsmouth had won the FA Cup,.
The FA Cup win had also earned Portsmouth a place in the 2008–09 UEFA Cup, the club's first time playing European football. Their first European match was a 2–0 victory over Vitória de Guimarães in the first round on 18 September. Portsmouth went on to win the tie 4–2 on aggregate, progressing to the group stage. On 25 October 2008, Redknapp suddenly left Portsmouth for a second time, leaving his assistant Tony Adams to be promoted to the managerial role. On 27 November 2008, Portsmouth drew 2–2 Milan, going 2–0 up through goals from Younès Kaboul and Nwankwo Kanu, but conceding two goals later in the game. Adams was dismissed in February 2009. Youth team coach Paul Hart took over as manager until the end of the season, and Portsmouth were 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 Emirati businessman Sulaiman Al Fahim to purchase the club.
Because of the financial problems suffered by the club, Portsmouth were forced to sell several of their top players and high earners, including Peter Crouch, Sylvain Distin, Glen Johnson and Niko Kranjčar. On 21 July 2009, Al Fahim was appointed non-executive chairman of Portsmouth. On 19 August 2009, 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 2009; 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. Falcondrone also agreed a deal with Alexandre Gaydamak the right to buy, for £1, Miland Development (2004) Ltd., which owns various strategic pockets of land around the ground, once refinancing was complete. Two days after the al-Faraj takeover was completed, Portsmouth's former technical director Avram Grant returned as director of football. Because of the financial problems, however, the Premier League placed the club under a transfer embargo, meaning the club were not allowed to sign any players.
In December 2009, it was announced that the club had failed to pay the players for the second consecutive month, and 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 of Justice in London on 23 December 2009. In March 2010, this winding-up petition was dropped, leaving Portsmouth with a nine-point penalty for entering administration.
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 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 Premier League which came into effect on 17 March and consigned the team to almost certain relegation, which was mathematically confirmed on 10 April 2010. On 9 April 2010, 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 new Tier 2 level name) the following day on 10 April 2010 after West Ham beat Sunderland. 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 2010 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. In May, Grant resigned as Portsmouth manager. On 17 June, the club's creditors voted for a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), with an 81.3% majority; 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 its considerable debt. On 15 July 2010, HMRC appealed against the proposed CVA on the last day before it would be formally agreed, 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 it had put forward. HMRC decided not to appeal against the verdict, leaving Portsmouth's administrators to formally agree the CVA and bring the club out of administration. On 17 August, Balram Chainrai completed his takeover of the club and passed the owners' and directors' fit and proper person test.
Former Notts County manager Steve Cotterill was appointed manager of relegated Portsmouth in the Championship June 2010 on a three-year contract. On 22 October, Portsmouth issued a statement saying, "It appears likely that the club will now be closed down and liquidated by the administrators," but key creditor Alexandre Gaydamak announced the next day that he had reached an agreement which could save their future. It was revealed just hours later that Portsmouth had finally come out of administration, with Balram Chainrai regaining control of the company. On 1 June 2011, Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) owned by Russian Vladimir Antonov completed its takeover of the club.
On 14 October 2011, Steve Cotterill agreed a compensation package to be allowed to take the vacant Nottingham Forest manager's position. He was succeeded by Michael Appleton, who was announced as the new manager on 10 November 2011. On 23 November 2011, a Europe-wide arrest warrant was issued for Portsmouth owner Vladimir Antonov by Lithuanian prosecutors as part of an investigation into alleged asset stripping at Lithuanian bank Bankas Snoras, which was 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 for similar reasons. Antonov was subsequently arrested at his offices in London on 24 November and was bailed. He shortly afterwards resigned as chairman of Portsmouth after parent company CSI entered administration. 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. On 17 February 2012, Portsmouth went into administration for the second time in two years, bringing them an automatic 10-point deduction. 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". On 11 April 2012, reports from administrators PKF revealed that Portsmouth owed £58 million with £38 million being owed to UHY Hacker Young, £10.5 million investment made by Vladimir Antonov's 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 HMRC and, additionally, £3.7 million was owed for general trade. On 21 April, Portsmouth were relegated from the Championship after a 2–1 loss to Derby County, the first time in 30 years that the club had played at that level.
Following Pompey's relegation to League One, the entire professional playing squad left the club, The team were given a 10-pont deuction in December 2012 for their financial problems. On 7 November 2012, it was announced that Michael Appleton had left Portsmouth to become the manager of Blackpool. On 9 November 2012, Chanrai halted his attempt to buy the club. Six days later, the Pompey Supporters Trust signed a conditional agreement with PFK to buy the club. 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 of 23 matches, finally ending on 2 March 2013 as Portsmouth won 2–1 away at Crewe Alexandra. On 10 April 2013, a deal with administrators was reached, although the Pompey Supporters' Trust had not yet finalised the purchase. Portsmouth were relegated to League Two at the end of the season. On 19 April 2013, Portsmouth exited administration when the Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) deal to buy the club was completed. Following Pompey's second successive relegation, former caretaker Guy Whittingham was appointed manager on a permanent basis with a one-year contract. Portsmouth sold over 10,000 season tickets for the 2013–14 season, a record for any League Two club.
In November 2013, Whittingham was sacked and a month later ex-Crawley Town manager Richie Barker was appointed Portsmouth boss, along with Steve Coppell as the director of football. Barker was sacked after 20 games in charge, with the club in serious danger of relegation to the Football Conference, and Andy Awford was again made caretaker manager. He won five games out of five played, guaranteeing Pompey's survival in League Two. On 1 May 2014, Awford was appointed Pompey's permanent manager, signing a one-year contract.
On a historic announcement on 29 September 2014, the club was able to declare itself debt-free after paying back all creditors and legacy payments to ex-players. The news came 18 months after the PST took control of the club. Following an unsuccessful 2014–15 campaign, Paul Cook was appointed new manager of Portsmouth on 12 May 2015. He led the club t a play-off spot after a 2–0 away win at Hartlepool United on 30 April 2016, but lost to Plymouth Argyle in the semi-final.
On 17 April 2017, Cook's side secured promotion to League One with a 3–1 win away at Notts County. On 6 May, following the 6–1 home win against Cheltenham, Portsmouth were crowned champions of League Two. He then resigned to join Wigan Athletic. Kenny Jackett was appointed the new manager on Friday 2 June 2017. In May the Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) voted in favour of a proposed bid by The Tornante Company, headed by former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner, to take over the club which was completed on 3 August 2017.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
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.
Portsmouth created a Hall of Fame in March 2009, which honours former players and staff members of the club. 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.
|Arjan de Zeeuw||CB||2002–05||—||118||5|
|Arthur Egerton Knight||LB||1908–22||—||206||0|
|GK = Goalkeeper||CB = Centre-back||LB = Left back||RB = Right back||SB = Full back||LH = Left half||RH = Right half||WH = Wing half|
|CM = Centre midfielder||LW = Left winger||RW = Right winger||OF = Outside forward||IF = Inside-forward||FW = Forward||ST = Striker||U = Utility player|
|Directors Board||Eric Eisner
|Assistant Manager||Joe Gallen|
|First Team Coach||Robbie Blake|
|Goalkeeping Coach||John Keeley|
|Kit Manager||Kev McCormack|
|Club Ambassador||Alan Knight MBE|
|Academy Manager||Mark Kelly|
|Name||Nat||Managerial Tenure||P||W||D||L||Win %|
|Frank Brettell||England||August 1898 – May 1901||88||56||9||23||63.64|
|Bob Blyth||England||August 1901 – May 1904||142||84||29||29||59.15|
|Richard Bonney||England||August 1904 – May 1908||206||99||39||68||48.06|
|Robert Brown||England||August 1911 – May 1920||220||100||48||72||45.45|
|John McCartney||Scotland||May 1920 – May 1927||308||129||93||86||41.88|
|Jack Tinn||England||May 1927 – May 1947||586||229||131||226||39.08|
|Bob Jackson||England||May 1947 – June 1952||234||114||51||69||48.72|
|Eddie Lever||England||August 1952 – April 1958||261||88||67||106||33.72|
|Freddie Cox||England||August 1958 – February 1961||120||28||29||63||23.33|
|George Smith||England||April 1961 – April 1970||410||149||110||151||36.34|
|Ron Tindall||England||April 1970 – May 1973||130||34||40||56||26.15|
|John Mortimore||England||May 1973 – September 1974||47||16||13||18||34.04|
|Ian St. John||Scotland||September 1974 – May 1977||124||31||33||60||25|
|Jimmy Dickinson||England||May 1977 – May 1979||91||27||29||35||29.67|
|Frank Burrows||Scotland||May 1979 – May 1982||138||61||39||38||44.2|
|Bobby Campbell||England||May 1982 – May 1984||88||40||17||31||45.45|
|Alan Ball||England||May 1984 – January 1989||222||94||58||70||42.34|
|John Gregory||England||January 1989 – January 1990||50||10||15||25||20|
|Frank Burrows||Scotland||January 1990 – March 1991||60||20||17||23||33.33|
|Jim Smith||England||June 1991 – February 1995||199||81||54||64||40.7|
|Terry Fenwick||England||August 1995 – January 1998||131||43||29||59||32.82|
|Alan Ball||England||January 1998 – December 1999||97||28||26||43||28.87|
|Tony Pulis||Wales||January 2000 – October 2000||35||11||10||14||31.43|
|Steve Claridge||England||October 2000 – February 2001||23||5||10||8||21.74|
|Graham Rix||England||February 2001 – March 2002||56||16||17||23||28.57|
|Harry Redknapp||England||March 2002 – November 2004||116||54||26||36||46.55|
|Velimir Zajec||Croatia||November 2004 – April 2005||21||5||4||12||23.81|
|Alain Perrin||France||April 2005 – November 2005||21||4||6||11||19.05|
|Harry Redknapp||England||December 2005 – October 2008||128||54||29||45||42.19|
|Tony Adams||England||October 2008 – February 2009||22||4||7||11||18.18|
|Paul Hart||England||February 2009 – November 2009||30||9||6||15||30|
|Avram Grant||Israel||November 2009 – May 2010||33||10||7||16||30.3|
|Steve Cotterill||England||June 2010 – October 2011||61||18||17||26||29.51|
|Michael Appleton||England||November 2011 – November 2012||51||13||11||27||25.49|
|Guy Whittingham||England||November 2012 – November 2013||51||11||15||25||21.57|
|Richie Barker||England||December 2013 – March 2014||20||4||8||8||20|
|Andy Awford||England||March 2014 – April 2015||55||20||17||18||36.36|
|Paul Cook||England||May 2015 – May 2017||107||52||27||28||48.6|
|Kenny Jackett||Wales||June 2017 – Present||22||9||3||10||40.91|
|Name||Nat||Managerial Tenure||P||W||D||L||Win %|
|Ron Tindall||England||September 1974||2||0||0||2||0|
|Tony Barton||England||March 1991 – May 1991||12||5||2||5||41.67|
|Keith Waldon||England||January 1998 – January 1998||3||0||0||3||0|
|Bob McNab||England||December 1999 – January 2000||5||0||2||3||0|
|Joe Jordan||Scotland||November 2005 – December 2005||2||0||0||2||0|
|Stuart Gray||England||October 2011 – November 2011||6||3||1||2||50|
|Andy Awford||England||November 2013 – December 2013||3||0||2||1||0|
|Gary Waddock||England||April 2015 – 2 May 2015||4||1||1||2||25|
In 1898, Portsmouth's first ever home kit colours consisted of a salmon pink shirt with maroon collars and cuffs, matched with white shorts and black socks. The pink shirts gave the early Portsmouth F.C. the alternative nickname of 'The Shrimps'. These colours lasted until the end of the 1908–09 season. The 'Shrimps' nickname then declined from common usage.
At the start of the 1909–10 season in Southern League Division One, Portsmouth changed to white shirts with navy blue shorts and navy blue socks. The next season, Portsmouth ended the poor 1910–11 season in bottom place and Portsmouth were relegated down to Southern Football League Division Two. Following relegation and a financial crisis, the original Portsmouth company formed in 1898 was 'wound up' and a new limited company was immediately formed in 1911 to continue the club, wearing the same white shirts and navy blue shorts and navy blue socks until the end of the 1911–12 season, which saw them successfully promoted back into Southern League Division One.
At the start of the new 1912–13 Southern League Division One season, Portsmouth changed to a 'new' military-looking theme of navy blue shirts, white shorts and black socks. This was to become Portsmouth's home strip colour combination until the start of the 1947–48 season, 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.
After the Allied victory of World War Two and the resumption of professional football in England, Portsmouth changed their traditional black socks to red coloured socks, which gave the Portsmouth team a blue, white and red appearance which also mirrored the national pride in the United Kingdom's red white and blue Union Flag.
During this post-war period, the British Army's Field Marshal Sir Bernard 'Monty' Montgomery was President of Portsmouth F.C. and regularly attended matches at Fratton Park. Red socks were introduced by the club (replacing the black socks worn since 1912) to symbolise the traditional red colours of the British Army and also represented the blood and lives lost in remembrance of the war. Portsmouth's traditional royal blue jerseys and white shorts were kept to represent pride and honour in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. Although Portsmouth is traditionally thought of only having naval connections because of the city's naval base, both Portsmouth F.C. and its predecessor (Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) F.C.) were founded by (some) members who had links to the British Army.
The new red socks also coincided with Portsmouth's most successful period, as the club won two consecutive top-tier division (now 'Premier League') title honours in 1948–49 and 1949–50, so the red socks were kept for good luck.
The most frequent away colours used by Portsmouth have been white shirts with royal or navy blue shorts and either blue or white socks. The club has had white as either the second or third choice shirt for every season since 1998–99 to date. Other colours that have appeared several times on Portsmouth change kits have been yellow (usually with blue shorts) and red (often combined with black). From the 2006–07 season to the 2008–09 season the club have used black with a gold trim as their third choice colours. In the 2009–10 season the third kit was black with blue trim and thin blue hoops. 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. The home kit has been the classic red white and blue kit, with plain blue shirt, plain white shorts and plain red socks. For the 2010 FA Cup Final, Portsmouth wore a change kit of white shirts, burgundy shorts and burgundy socks. 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 black. 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.
Portsmouth F.C.'s famous crest, originally consisting of a white crescent moon and a white five pointed star on the background of a blue shield, made its first appearance in the 1913–14 season, the last season before World War One began. The moon and star motif comes from the (then) town's coat of arms and are believed to date back as far as the time of Richard I. Curiously, the star on the original 1913 badge featured a star with five points rather than the eight that appeared on the town crest.
The official emblem of the City of Portsmouth contains an eight pointed gold star and crescent moon 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 Portsmouth 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 1913–14. 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 star has the more familiar eight points instead of the five-point design introduced for the commemorative WWI 2014–15 season. 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 2014–15 season.
|1983–1984||Le Coq Sportif|
|1997–1999||Admiral||KJC Mobile Phones|
|1999–2000||Pompey Sport1||The Pompey Centre|
1 Portsmouth's own manufacturer.
Portsmouth F.C. play their home games at Fratton Park, in Portsmouth. The stadium has been home to the club throughout its entire history since the club formed in 1898. Fratton Park is affectionately nicknamed "The Old Girl" by Portsmouth F.C. supporters.
Plans for relocation were first mooted in 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 2018 FIFA World Cup 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. 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 Premier League, and the failure of the England 2018 bid, as of May 2017 there are no active plans for a new club stadium.
For a more detailed and complete history, please follow the Fratton Park link.
Portsmouth's main rivals are Southampton, who are 19.8 miles (31.8 km) away.
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 Stadium in their last meeting in 2010.
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. The origins of the "Pompey Chimes" lies with Royal Artillery F.C., the city of 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 F.C., 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 from Burnaby Road to Fratton Park.
Portsmouth made their European debut in the 2008–09 UEFA Cup. After a home victory against Vitória de Guimarães and a home draw against Milan, Portsmouth were knocked out at the group stages after a 3–2 away loss to VfL Wolfsburg.
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 takeover of Portsmouth F.C. by the Portsmouth Supporters Trust, it was announced that there would be closer ties between the men's and women's 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 and Irish academy Home Farm have been cancelled.
Portsmouth have developed a relationship with Gosport Borough 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. They also play friendlies and loan out players to the side.
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. 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. The highest fee received was £18 million for midfielder Lassana Diarra to Real Madrid.
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