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Portsmouth F.C.
Portsmouth FC crest.svg
Full name Portsmouth Football Club
Nickname(s) Pompey
Founded 5 April 1898; 120 years ago (1898-04-05)
Ground Fratton Park
Ground Capacity 21,100 (20,190 as of March 2018 due to ongoing safety work)
Owner The Tornante Company
Chairman Michael Eisner
Manager Kenny Jackett
League League One
2017–18 League One, 8th of 24
Website Club website
Current season

Portsmouth Football Club /ˈpɔːtsməθ/ (About this sound listen) is a professional football club in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, which plays in EFL League One, the third tier of English football, following their promotion as EFL League Two champions in the 2016–17 EFL League Two season. The club was founded on 5 April 1898 and home matches are played at Fratton Park in Milton, Portsmouth.

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. In the early twentieth century, Portsmouth were also champions of the Southern Football League in 1901–02 and 1919–20. Portsmouth were also champions of the Western Football League in 1900–01, 1901–02 and 1902–03. These, and their more recent wins make Portsmouth F.C. southern England's most successful football club (in terms of cups, honours and titles) outside London.

Portsmouth have played in European competition only for one season in their history, the 2008–09 UEFA Cup (now UEFA Europa League), a result of winning the 2008 FA Cup Final. In this period, the club had international footballers including England players Glen Johnson, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, David James and Sol Campbell. By the 2009-10 season, Portsmouth had large financial problems and they entered administration on 26 February 2010, which resulted in a nine-point deduction by the Premier League[1] and relegation to the second tier EFL Championship. At the conclusion of the 2009-10 Premier League season, Portsmouth, already relegated, had reached the 2010 FA Cup Final and finished as runners-up to winners Chelsea F.C..

By 17 February 2012, EFL Championship side Portsmouth entered another financial administration. Poor playing performances then relegated Portsmouth to the third tier EFL League One. A year later, on 10 April 2013, Portsmouth survived liquidation by the High Court of Justice, having been successfully purchased by the fan-owned Pompey Supporters Trust (PST), who had also gained possession of Fratton Park.[2][3] However, Portsmouth's exit from administration caused a ten points deduction which relegated Portsmouth to the fourth tier EFL League Two, their lowest point since the 1979-80 season in the former Football League Fourth Division.

After winning the fourth tier EFL League Two divisional championship title in the final game of the 2016–17 season, Portsmouth became only the fifth English football club to win all four tiers of current English professional football (after Wolves, Burnley, Preston North End and Sheffield United). In addition, Portsmouth are also one of only two English football clubs to have been champions of five professional divisions including the former regional Football League Third Division South championship in the 1923–24 season.[4] Wolverhampton Wanderers also share this distinction, having won all four divisions, plus a Football League Third Division North title win, coincidentally in the same 1923–24 season as Portsmouth won the respective South division. The two regional Third Divisions were restructured into England's national Football League Third Division and Football League Fourth Divisions for the 1958-59 season, meaning these five professional divisional wins will never again be matched by other clubs under the current structure.

In May 2017, the members of the Pompey Supporters Trust (PST) voted to sell Portsmouth Football Club, the largest fan-owned football club in England (2013-2017), to The Tornante Company, an investment company owned by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.[5] The purchase was completed on 3 August 2017.[6]

History[edit]

1898–1899: Founding of Portsmouth F.C.[edit]

The club was founded on 5 April 1898 at 12 High Street, Old Portsmouth as "The Portsmouth Football and Athletic Company", with John Brickwood as chairman, The company directors were:

  • John Brickwood (1852–1932) (owner of Brickwoods Brewery, Portsmouth. Knighted by King Edward VII in 1904. In 1927, he became Sir John Brickwood, 1st Baronet Brickwood of Portsmouth.)
  • Alfred H. Bone (a local architect and surveyor)
  • George Lewin Oliver (founder and headmaster of 'Oliver's Academy', later known as 'Mile End House Preparatory School', 384–388 (Old) Commercial Road, Landport, Portsmouth)
  • John Peters (a wine importer)
  • Alderman John Edward Pink (a solicitor, employed by John Brickwood).
  • William Wiggington (a government contractor and former Royal Engineers Warrant Officer)

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.

1899–1920: Southern Football League and Western Football League (1900-1909)[edit]

In 1899, work began on developing a plot of former agricultural land near Goldsmith Avenue, Milton, Portsmouth into a new football ground, bought in 1898 from the local Goldsmith farming family. The new football ground was to be named Fratton Park after the nearby and convenient Fratton railway station.

Frank Brettell was announced as Portsmouth Football Club's first manager-secretary in February 1899[7], he had been secretary-player with the St Domingo Club (now Everton F.C.) in Liverpool and helped ‘create the organisation which became Everton’.[8] Brettell joined Portsmouth F.C. in May 1899 and his first Portsmouth signings were Irish goalkeeper Matt Reilly and Harry Turner both from the recently "retired" Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) F.C. Also joining Portsmouth as a new director was Regimental Sergeant-Major Frederick Windrum, the treasurer-trainer from Royal Artillery.[9]

Brettell, with his valuable northern contacts, also signed Scottish footballer Tom Wilkie, the former Heart Of Midlothian and Liverpool player. Bob Blyth and Alex "Sandy" Brown were both signed from Preston North End. Edward Turner, Harold Clarke and Harold Stringfellow all came from Everton. Dan Cunliffe, Thomas "Tommy" Cleghorn and Robert "Bobby" Marshall were all signed from Liverpool.[8]

A bold and ambitious application for Portsmouth's direct entry into the Southern League First Division, without the usual probationary period in the lower divisions, was accepted[10], and the club joined the Southern Football League Division One for the 1899–1900 season. The Southern League were very keen to see a professional team from Portsmouth join the Southern League, the Southern League secretary, Mr Nat Whittaker was quoted in the press as saying; "Personally, I think there is a great future for 'socker'(sic) generally in Portsmouth and if they can only do well next season the success of the club is assured. Help them? Of course I will, and anyone else who wants to make football grow in the south". Whittaker also said he was confident that Portsmouth would be elected into the league by the other clubs at the next general meeting of the Southern League, which they were.[11]

Portsmouth's first competitive Southern League match was played away at Chatham Town F.C. at Maidstone Road, Chatham on Saturday 2 September 1899[12], which Portsmouth won 1–0, the first Portsmouth goal was scored by Harold Clarke. Four days later, on Wednesday 6 September 1899, the first ever home match at Fratton Park was played; a friendly against local town rivals Southampton, which Portsmouth won 2–0, with goals from Dan Cunliffe (formerly with Liverpool) and Harold Clarke (formerly with Everton).[13] 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 behind champions, Tottenham Hotspur.

In their second 1900–01 Southern Football League Division One season, Portsmouth finished in third place behind second place Bristol City and first place Southampton. Portsmouth also joined the 1900-01 Western Football League and finished top as Division One champions.[14] Also in 1900, Portsmouth chairman John Brickwood had Arthur Cogswell design and build another Brickwood's Brewery pub, this one next to Fratton Park at 44 Frogmore Road, and named it "The Pompey".

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 1901–02 Southern Football League championship title. However, Portsmouth were not promoted and no teams were relegated. No clubs had applied for election to the Football League proper. In the 1901-02 Western Football League, Portsmouth also won the Division One championship for a second consecutive season.[14]

In the 1902–03 Southern Football League, Portsmouth finished in third place. In the 1902-03 Western Football League, Portsmouth won the Division One championship for a third consecutive season.[14]

The following 1903–04 Southern Football League saw a fourth-place finish. On 5 July 1904, Portsmouth F.C. Chairman and Brickwoods Brewery owner, Sir John Brickwood was Knighted by His Majesty, King Edward VII.[15] In the 1903-04 Western Football League, Portsmouth finished in fourth position behind champions Tottenham Hotspur.

In the 1904–05 Southern Football League, Portsmouth finished mid-table in eighth place. In the 1904-05 Western Football League, Portsmouth finished in fourth position behind champions Plymouth Argyle.

Richard Bonney, the ex-army soldier who had co-founded Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) F.C. in 1894, became Portsmouth's third manager on 1 August 1905 for the 1905–06 Southern Football League. Portsmouth finished in third place. In the 1905-06 Western Football League, Portsmouth finished in seventh position behind champions Queens Park Rangers. A new club pavilion was designed and built by Arthur Cogswell in the south-west corner of Fratton Park, which housed the club offices and player's changing rooms. John Brickwood also donated a clock tower spire to the east side of the new pavilion.

In the 1906–07 Southern Football League, Portsmouth ended the season as runners-up for a second time, after Fulham won the title by just two points. Meanwhile, in the 1906–07 Western Football League, the top Division One was split into equal 'A' and 'B' sections, with a playoff between the two section winners to decide a Division One champion. Portsmouth finished in third position in the 'B' section of Division One. The 1906–07 season was highlighted by the visit of Manchester United to Fratton Park in the FA Cup, which generated a record attendance of 24,329. A 2–2 draw meant a replay in Manchester, where Portsmouth recorded a famous 2–1 win.

At the end of the 1907–08 Southern Football League, Portsmouth finished in a disappointing ninth place. In the 1907–08 Western Football League, Portsmouth finished as runners-up in the 'A' section of Division One.

The next 1908–09 season, Portsmouth finished in fourth position. In their last 1908–09 Western Football League appearance, Portsmouth finished in fourth position of the 'B' section of Division One. At the end of the season, all fourteen members of the split 'A' and 'B' sections of Division One resigned from the Western Football League.

For the 1909–10 Southern Football League, 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 sixth place.

Portsmouth had a disastrous 1910–11 Southern Football League season, winning only 8 of their 38 games and were relegated. Manager Richard Bonney was then let go. A severe financial crisis struck between seasons and a public appeal for funds in May 1911 kept the club afloat.[16]

1912: Reformation[edit]

With the recruitment of Robert Brown from Sheffield Wednesday as Portsmouth's fourth manager, the team finished second place in the 1911–12 Southern Football League Division Two behind Merthyr Town and were promoted as runners-up. However, the clubs finances were in trouble again, with losses and debts increasing to £10,000.[16] A shareholders meeting was called on 8 May 1912, where George Lewin Oliver, one of the original founders and directors, proposed that "The Portsmouth Football and Athletic Company" should be wound up and replaced with a more business orientated company. The original company was then liquidated to remove the debt and on 27 July 1912, the "Portsmouth Football Club Ltd" was formed as the new parent company of Portsmouth F.C., with substantial financial guarantees given by the board of directors. The original 1898 founding director George Lewin Oliver became the new Portsmouth F.C. chairman.[17]

For the new 1912–13 Southern Football League season back in Division One, Portsmouth, now under new ownership, wore new home colours of blue shirts, white shorts and black stockings.[18] 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.[18] Portsmouth ended the season in 9th position.

Football was suspended during the 1914–1918 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.[19] In 1915, the Fratton End terrace was upgraded to accommodate 8,000 standing supporters and covered with a roof for the first time.[20][21] On 6 June 1918, an American army team played a Canadian army team in a baseball match at Fratton Park, with the gate money donated to the British Red Cross. The US army team won 4-3.[22][23]

Following the resumption of matches in the 1919–20 season, Portsmouth won the Southern League championship for the second time (the first occasion being in 1901–02). Portsmouth were then elected to the Football League Third Division as founder members. 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.

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

1920–1939: The Football League[edit]

Southern Football League champions Portsmouth coincidentally began the inaugural 1920–21 season in England's Football League Third Division as founder members and finished 12th that year.

The following 1921–22 season, Football League Third Division was split into North and South sections (which continued until 1958). The Third Division South was mainly the continuation of the Third Division of the previous 1920-21 season, while most of the teams in Third Division North were newcomers to the Football League. Portsmouth finished third in the 1921-22 Third Division South season.

In the 1922–23 season in Third Division South, Portsmouth finished in seventh position.

Portsmouth won the Third Division South title in the 1923–24 season and were promoted to the Football League Second Division.

Portsmouth's debut season in the 1924–25 Second Division season was a successful one, finishing in fourth place behind Derby County, Manchester United and the division champions, Leicester City.

At the beginning of the 1925–26 Second Division season, a new South Stand was designed by renowned football architect Archibald Leitch and was opened by the then Football League President, John McKenna on 29 August 1925, just before the kickoff against Middlesbrough.[24] The season ended with Portsmouth in eleventh position.

The club continued to perform well in the Second Division, winning promotion to the First Division by finishing runners-up in the 1926–27 Second Division season, gaining a new club record 9–1 Fratton Park home win over Notts County along the way, which is still the highest home win scoring record to date. Portsmouth's promotion to the top division in English football was a double celebration; the first achieved by a football club based south of London, and the first achieved by a club graduating from the Third Division to the First Division.[25]

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 First Division was a struggle, finishing one point and one place above relegation.

The next 1928–29 season in the First Division, Portsmouth 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 Football League, however, that season also saw Portsmouth reach the FA Cup Final for the first time, which they lost to Bolton Wanderers. One Pompey supporter is reported to have "carried a black cat, with the club colours around its neck" to the 1929 FA Cup Final.[26] Portsmouth managed to survive relegation, finishing one place above relegation.

From 1929 to 1934, Portsmouth had become a regular top-half table finisher in the First Division. The 1933–34 season saw Portsmouth again reach the FA Cup final for a second time, having beaten Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers, Leicester City and Birmingham City on the way. The club was again defeated in the FA Cup Final, this time by Manchester City.

Halfway through the 1934-35 season, on 23 December 1934, the original 1898 founding director and later Portsmouth chairman, George Lewin Oliver passed away.[27] Using money from the June 1934 sale of defender Jimmy Allen and money from the 1934 FA Cup Final, Portsmouth F.C. announced at Christmas 1934 that Fratton Park's North Stand was to be demolished and replaced with a much larger stand, increasing the ground capacity to more than 58,000.[28] The 1934–35 season ended with Portsmouth in fourteenth position and seven points above relegation.

On 7 September at the beginning of the 1935–36 First Division season, in a home game against Aston Villa, the new North Stand was opened by John McKenna, who had also opened Fratton Park's new South Stand ten years earlier.[28] Former Portsmouth defender Jimmy Allen, whose sale in 1934 had largely paid for the new North Stand, was present at the game, as captain of the visiting Aston Villa team! The new North Stand briefly held the nickname of "The Jimmy Allen Stand" for a while afterwards. Portsmouth ended the 1935–36 season in tenth place.

1938–39 Season: First FA Cup triumph[edit]

Having established themselves in the top flight, the 1938–39 season saw Portsmouth reach the FA Cup Final for the third time with manager Jack Tinn, who had worn his 'lucky' spats throughout the qualifying rounds. This was indeed third time lucky, as Portsmouth managed to defeat favourites Wolverhampton Wanderers 4–1 in what the press had dubbed, 'The Gland Final' – a reference to 'monkey gland' testosterone injections – used by both teams (and others) that season.[29] Bert Barlow and John 'Jock' Anderson scored, whilst Cliff Parker scored twice (third and fourth goals).

The new 1939–40 season in the First Division 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 and final game of the season, with Blackpool F.C. at the top of the table and Portsmouth in 18th position. These would be the last national Football 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.

In 1942, Portsmouth reached the London War Cup final,[30] a competition that had begun only a season earlier in 1940–41. The London War Cup was held once again during the 1941-42 season and was intended by its organisers to stand in for the FA Cup, despite the official Football League War Cup competition had been taking place annually since 1939. The London War Cup competition required Portsmouth, the current FA Cup champions, to secede from the Football Association to enter. Portsmouth progressed to the 1942 London War Cup final at Wembley Stadium, but were beaten by Brentford F.C. and finished as runners-up. After the competition, Portsmouth paid a ten Pounds readmission fee to rejoin the Football Association again.[31] The London War Cup competition was never played again. Ironically, the London War Cup trophy won by Brentford in 1942 was reused for subsequent Football League War Cup competitions. The trophy was last presented in 1945 to Chelsea F.C. and remains in the Chelsea F.C. museum today.

During his wartime visits to Portsmouth, Field Marshal Montgomery became interested in Portsmouth Football Club and was made honorary President of Portsmouth F.C. in 1944 (until 1961).[32]

The end of World War II in 1945 caused Portsmouth to hold the distinction of holding the FA Cup trophy for the longest uninterrupted period - seven years - as the trophy was not presented again until the 1946 FA Cup Final. Manager Jack Tinn was rumoured to have kept the FA Cup trophy 'safe under his bed' during a part of the war. Because the naval city of Portsmouth was a primary strategic military target for German Luftwaffe bombing, the FA Cup trophy was routinely moved around the city of Portsmouth for its safety and protection, moving from Fratton Park's boardroom, into bank vaults, back to Fratton Park and around local pubs. During the worst of the bombing on Portsmouth, the FA Cup trophy was also taken ten miles north of Portsmouth, to the nearby Hampshire village of Lovedean, where it was kept and displayed in a quaint thatched roof country pub called The Bird in Hand.[33] In 1945, the FA Cup trophy was taken around the streets of Portsmouth and proudly shown off at Victory in Europe Day street parties.[34]

The FA Cup competition was resumed for the 1945–46 season, but the resumption of the Football League had to wait one more year. Portsmouth, as a Division One team and as the "current" FA Cup Champions (from 1939!), were drawn to play against Birmingham City in the Third Round stage of the FA Cup competition. The first leg of the two leg tie was played at Birmingham's St. Andrew's stadium on 5 January 1946 and resulted 1–0 in Birmingham City's favour. The second leg at Fratton Park ended 0–0 on 9 January 1946, with Birmingham City winning 1–0 overall on aggregate. (See FA Cup 1945–46 for full results) Sadly, the FA Cup trophy was not to stay with Portsmouth F.C. for an eighth consecutive year and was returned to the Football Association in time for the 1946 FA Cup Final, in which Derby County were awarded the trophy.

The Football League finally resumed in 1946–47. Portsmouth had 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 Football League First Division season in 12th place. On 1 May 1947, manager Jack Tinn left Portsmouth, with Bob Jackson taking over the role on the same day.

The second post-war Football League First Division season resumed under manager Bob Jackson in 1947–48. This was also been the first season Portsmouth wore red socks, which replaced their traditional black socks. The red socks were an idea proposed by Portsmouth's honorary president, Field Marshal Montgomery, who had suggested that Portsmouth should wear red socks to commemorate the sacrifice of British servicemen lost in war. Red is traditionally the colour of the British Army and also of the Remembrance poppy flower, and so Montgomery's idea was adopted by Portsmouth at the start of the season. Bob Jackson's Portsmouth finished in 8th place at the end of the 1947–48 First Division season.

1948–49 and 1949–50: Champions of England – twice[edit]

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 a historic Football League and FA Cup "double". The potential of a rare 'Double' saw Fratton Park attracting average home attendances of 36,000 supporters, and a record attendance of 51,385 in an FA Cup quarter-final match against Derby County on 26 February 1949, which Portsmouth won 2–1. The Fratton Park attendance of 51,385 is still a club record. Portsmouth lost 1–3 in the FA Cup semi-final against Leicester City on 26 March 1949 at the neutral Highbury stadium. Portsmouth however, did win one half of the 'Double', securing the First Division title and becoming Football League Champions of England at the end of the 1948–49 season, with Manchester United finishing as runners-up. Portsmouth's championship winning team consisted of Ernest Butler, Phil Rookes, Harry Ferrier, Jimmy Scoular, Reg Flewin, Jimmy Dickinson, Peter Harris, Duggie Reid, Ike Clarke, Len Phillips, Jack Froggatt, Jasper Yeuell, Lindy Delapenha, Bert Barlow and Cliff Parker.

Bob Jackson's Portsmouth side beat Aston Villa 5–1 on the last day of the following 1949–50 season, winning the Football League title again for a second consecutive season – on goal difference – as both Portsmouth and runners up Wolverhampton Wanderers finished the season with 53 points each, and only one point ahead of third place Sunderland on 52 points. Portsmouth are one of only five English teams to have won back-to-back consecutive top flight League titles since the end of 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.

Eddie Lever took over at Pompey in 1952 after championship-winning manager Bob Jackson joined Hull City. In the 1952–53 season, Portsmouth finished in 15th place and only 4 points above the relegation zone, with Arsenal F.C. winning the league title.

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 Football League's first ever floodlit evening game, against Newcastle United, played under floodlights erected on top of the North Stand and South Stand roofs.[35][36] Portsmouth ended the season in 12th place in Division One.

The original solid earthbank Fratton End stand was replaced in 1956 with a new stand built from prefabricated concrete and steel. It had two distinctive terraced tiers, a roofed upper terrace and an open-air lower terrace. In the 1956–57 season, Portsmouth escaped relegation by four points and finished two places above the drop zone.

In the following 1957–58 season, Portsmouth once again escaped relegation on goal difference and finished one place above the relegation zone. Manager Eddie Lever left Portsmouth in April 1958.

Freddie Cox became new Portsmouth manager in August 1958. The new 1958-59 season was the first Football League season with four national divisions. The two old regional Third Divisions (North and South) which had begun in the 1921-22 season were restructured and replaced with two new national divisions, named the Third Division and Fourth Division. At the end of the 1958–59 season Portsmouth finished bottom of the First Division, ending their 32-year stay in the First Division, and relegation to the Second Division. By now, the championship winning team of 1949 and 1950 had been broken up, caused by aging or injury.

1959–1979: Decline and relegation to the Fourth Division[edit]

Following the bottom-place finish in the previous 1958–59 First Division season, Portsmouth started the 1959–60 season in the Second Division, 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.

In the 1960–61 season Portsmouth finished second-to-last place in the Second Division relegation zone and were relegated once again to the Third Division, (the first former English League champions to do so). Manager Freddie Cox was sacked in February 1961.[37]

Under the guidance of George Smith, 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 after winning the Third Division title. Field-Marshal Bernard 'Monty' Montgomery of Alamein, was the honorary President of Portsmouth FC, having begun to support them during World War II due to the proximity of his headquarters at Southwick House on the outskirts of Portsmouth. In private correspondence dated 25 April 1962, he wrote to Smith: ‘I congratulate you very much on getting Portsmouth out of the Third Division – which was completely a wrong place for a famous team. While the players all did their stuff, the major credit goes to you.

Despite limited financial means, manager George Smith maintained Portsmouth's Second Division status throughout the rest of the 1960s until Smith was replaced by Ron Tindall in April 1970 as Smith moved upstairs to become general manager in April 1970, until his retirement from football in 1973.

The cash injection that accompanied the arrival of John Deacon as chairman in 1972 failed to improve Portsmouth's Second Division position. Ron Tindall was replaced in May 1973 by John Mortimore. However, Ron Tindall returned for two games as caretaker manager after manager John Mortimore left in 1974. Ian St. John became new Portsmouth manager in September 1974.

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 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 inexperienced young players. They ended the 1976–77 season only one place and one point above the Third Division's relegation zone.

On 4 May 1977, former Portsmouth and England international player Jimmy Dickinson became the new Portsmouth manager, replacing Ian St. John. Consequently, they were relegated at the end of the new 1977–78 season, finishing in bottom place.

In the 1978–79 Fourth Division season, Portsmouth finished in 7th position. After the season in May 1979, Jimmy Dickinson was replaced by Frank Burrows.

1979–1987: Return to the First Division[edit]

Under Frank Burrows new management, Portsmouth gained promotion back to the Third Division after finishing in 4th place in the 1979–80 season.

In the 1980–81 season, Portsmouth finished sixth place in the Third Division table.

The following 1981–82 Third Division season, Portsmouth finished mid table in thirteenth position. On 21 May 1982, Frank Burrows departed and Bobby Campbell became the new Portsmouth manager.

During the 1982–83 Third Division season, former Portsmouth player, manager and England international Jimmy Dickinson died aged 57 on 8 November 1982 after suffering three heart attacks. A public memorial service was held at a packed St. Mary's Church in Fratton, Portsmouth. Dickinson was laid to rest in Alton, Hampshire. Pompey later that season won the 1982–83 Third Division championship title, gaining promotion back to the Second Division.

In the 1983–84 Second Division season, Portsmouth finished sixteenth place in the table. After the season, Bobby Campbell was replaced by former England international and 1966 FIFA World Cup winner, Alan Ball on 11 May 1984.

Under Alan Ball, Portsmouth missed winning promotion to the First Division in the 1984–85 Second Division season, finishing in 4th place on goal-difference. They finished in 4th place again for the following 1985–86 season too.

In Alan Ball's third season as Portsmouth manager in the 1986–87 Second Division season, Portsmouth finished as runners-up behind Derby County F.C., gaining promotion back to the First Division for the first time since the 1958–59 season. During the season, the upper tier of the Fratton End stand, built only thirty years earlier in 1956, was closed due to structural concerns, leaving only the lower tier of the Fratton End open to fans.

By the middle of the new 1987–88 First Division season, the club was again in financial trouble. 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. Fratton Park was in a poor condition, with the Fratton End still half closed to fans and leaking roofs in the North and South stands.

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.

1988–2003: The Second/First Division[edit]

After a single disappointing season in the First Division, Portsmouth were relegated back to the Second Division for the 1988-89 season. Halfway through the season, Alan 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.

Following the 15 April 1989 Hillsborough Disaster, Portsmouth removed the perimeter fences from Fratton Park for the new 1989–90 season, except at the Milton End to separate away supporters.[citation needed] The season saw John Gregory leaving the club on 3 January 1990. Assistant manager Frank Burrows became manager for a second spell on 23 January 1990. Portsmouth finished in 12th position at the end of the season.

The 1990–91 season saw Frank Burrows resign as manager on 13 March 1991 after a string of bad results. Burrows was replaced by coach Graham Paddon until the end of the season, finishing in 17th position.

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, meeting Liverpool at neutral ground Highbury on 5 April 1992 - the 94th Anniversary of Portsmouth Football Club. Portsmouth took the lead in extra time from a 111th minute Darren Anderton goal. However, Liverpool's Ronnie Whelan equalised five minutes later, and the semi-final match ended tied 1-1 after the alloted 120 minutes. The tie was then replayed at Villa Park on 13 April 1992 and ended 0-0 after extra time. Portsmouth then lost 1-3 on penalties to Liverpool, who went on to meet Sunderland in the 1992 FA Cup Final, which Liverpool won 2-0.

The 1992–93 Football League season saw a major restructuring of the English football "pyramid" system, caused by all the First Division clubs resigning from the Football League and forming a new breakaway top tier FA Premier League. Now without a First Division, the Football League Second Division was renamed as the "Football League First Division" (and so on) for the 1992-93 season. The FA Premier League also had a new winners trophy made, meaning the famous old Football League First Division championship trophy became demoted in status, now acting as the new second tier "First Division" championship trophy instead. Portsmouth had a good 1992-93 season in the new "First Division", but missed out on automatic promotion to the new first tier FA Premier League by virtue of scoring only one fewer goal than second placed West Ham United. In the subsequent promotion play-offs, Portsmouth lost 3-2 on aggregate over two games to Leicester City in the play-off semi-finals for the third promotion place.

During the 1993–94 season under manager Jim Smith, Portsmouth finished 17th out of 24 in the First Division, winning 15 matches, drawing 13 and losing 18. The team reached the quarterfinals of the League Cup and the third round of the FA Cup, in both cases being knocked out after replays.

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 the "new" First Division, Jim 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 the Second Division 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.[38] 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).

At 4.59pm on Friday 31 October 1997, the new £2.2 million Fratton End was officially cleared for its opening, with one minute to spare before a 5pm deadline. Problems with some misorientated Fratton End rooftop floodlights caused the Fratton End of the pitch to be "shrouded in gloom on Hallowe'en", according to the Sky Sports 3 TV commentator, causing some doubt that the live televised Division One game against Swindon Town would take place.[39] Fortunately, the match referee, Paul Danson gave the go-ahead for the evening fixture. The game was won 0–1 by Swindon Town with an official Fratton Park attendance of only 8,707. 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.[40] 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.

Alan 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.[41] 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 First 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 as First Division 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 tier of English football after an absence of fifteen seasons.[42] Portsmouth were awarded the Football League First Division Championship trophy for a third time, as the former Football League championship trophy had been demoted in status in 1992-93 (because of the creation of the FA Premier League) and had become the second tier trophy. Portsmouth goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, midfielders Matthew Taylor and Paul Merson earned places in the 2002–03 Division One PFA Team of the Year award.

2003–2010: FA Premier League[edit]

In Portsmouth's Premiership debut season in 2003-04, the "Harry & Jim" management of Harry Redknapp and Jim Smith steered "Pompey" to a respectable 13th position.

Almost halfway through the following 2004-05 season in the Premiership, Harry Redknapp unexpectedly walked out on Portsmouth on 24 November 2004 after a row with chairman Milan Mandarić over the appointment of new Director of Football Velimir Zajec at the club. Shortly afterwards on 8 December 2004, Harry Redknapp was announced by Southampton F.C. chairman Rupert Lowe as their new manager, with Jim Smith as his assistant.[43] Velimir Zajec then replaced Redknapp as Portsmouth manager, but in April 2005, Zajec was replaced by Frenchman Alain Perrin. Perrin managed to secure Portsmouth's Premiership status with a few games of the season left, including a milestone 24 April 2005 South Coast Derby 4-1 win over Harry Redknapp's Southampton side,[44] who were eventually relegated at the end of the season.

During the 2005-06 season and after achieving only four wins from a total of 20 games as Portsmouth manager, Alain Perrin was sacked on 24 November 2005, exactly one year to the day since Harry Redknapp left Portsmouth. Harry Redknapp then made a surprise return to manage Portsmouth again after leaving relegated Southampton. 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.

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

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.

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

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.[45] 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.[46]

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.[47][48][49] 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.[50] Two days after the al-Faraj takeover was completed, Portsmouth's former technical director Avram Grant returned as director of football.[51] 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.

Avram Grant took over at Portsmouth on 26 November 2009,[52][53] replacing Hart, who had been sacked by the board two days previously due to the club's position at the bottom of the league table.[54]

In December 2009, it was announced that the club had failed to pay the players for the second consecutive month,[55] 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.[56] In March 2010, this winding-up petition was dropped,[57] leaving Portsmouth with a nine-point penalty for entering administration.[58]

Administration, 2010 FA Cup Final and relegation[edit]

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[59] 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.[60] 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.[61] 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;[62] 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.[63] On 15 July 2010, HMRC appealed against the proposed CVA on the last day before it would be formally agreed,[64] 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.[65] On 17 August, Balram Chainrai completed his takeover of the club and passed the owners' and directors' fit and proper person test.

2010–2017: Decline and relegation to League Two[edit]

Former Notts County manager Steve Cotterill was appointed manager of relegated Portsmouth in the Championship June 2010 on a three-year contract.[66] On 22 October, Portsmouth issued a statement saying, "It appears likely that the club will now be closed down and liquidated by the administrators,"[67] but key creditor Alexandre Gaydamak announced the next day that he had reached an agreement which could save their future.[68] It was revealed just hours later that Portsmouth had finally come out of administration, with Balram Chainrai regaining control of the company.[69] On 1 June 2011, Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) owned by Russian Vladimir Antonov completed its takeover of the club.[70]

On 14 October 2011, Steve Cotterill agreed a compensation package to be allowed to take the vacant Nottingham Forest manager's position.[71] He was succeeded by Michael Appleton, who was announced as the new manager on 10 November 2011.[72] 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.[73] Antonov was subsequently arrested at his offices in London on 24 November and was bailed.[74] He shortly afterwards resigned as chairman of Portsmouth after parent company CSI entered administration.[75] 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.[76] On 17 February 2012, Portsmouth went into administration for the second time in two years, bringing them an automatic 10-point deduction.[77][78] 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".[79] 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.[80] 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,[81] The team were given a 10-pont deduction in December 2012 for their financial problems.[82] On 7 November 2012, it was announced that Michael Appleton had left Portsmouth to become the manager of Blackpool.[83] On 9 November 2012, Chanrai halted his attempt to buy the club.[84] Six days later, the Pompey Supporters Trust signed a conditional agreement with PFK to buy the club.[85] 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.[86] On 10 April 2013, a deal with administrators was reached,[87] although the Pompey Supporters' Trust had not yet finalised the purchase.[88] Portsmouth were relegated to League Two at the end of the season.[89] On 19 April 2013, Portsmouth exited administration when the Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) deal to buy the club was completed.[90] Following Pompey's second successive relegation, former caretaker Guy Whittingham was appointed manager on a permanent basis with a one-year contract.[91] Portsmouth sold over 10,000 season tickets for the 2013–14 season, a record for any League Two club.[92]

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.[93] He won five games out of five played, guaranteeing Pompey's survival in League Two.[94] On 1 May 2014, Awford was appointed Pompey's permanent manager, signing a one-year contract.[95]

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.[96] The news came 18 months after the PST took control of the club. Following an unsuccessful EFL League Two 2014–15 campaign, Paul Cook was appointed new manager of Portsmouth on 12 May 2015.[97]

Paul Cook led Portsmouth to an EFL League Two play-off spot in the 2015–16 season after a 2–0 away win at Hartlepool United on 30 April 2016,[98] but lost to Plymouth Argyle in the semi-final.[99]

In the 2016–17 EFL League Two season, Paul Cook's side secured promotion to League One with a 3–1 win away at Notts County on 17 April 2017.[100] On 6 May, the final match of the season, Portsmouth topped the table (for the first time in the season) following the 6–1 home win against Cheltenham and were crowned champions of League Two.[101] Paul Cook resigned on 31 May 2017 to join Wigan Athletic.[102] Kenny Jackett was appointed the new manager on Friday 2 June 2017. In May the Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST) voted in favour[103] 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.[104][105][6]

2017–present: League One[edit]

Portsmouth began the 2017–18 season in League One, following their League Two championship win in the previous 2016–17 season. On 8 August 2017, Portsmouth were defeated 2-1 (AET) in the First Round of the EFL Cup by Cardiff City.[106] On 4 November 2017, Portsmouth were defeated 1-0 in the First Round of the FA Cup by Luton Town.[107] On 15 March 2018, Portsmouth F.C. revealed a newly redesigned club crest, featuring a new nautical compass star and an "1898" date, added for the founding year of the football club. The new crest will be introduced for the new 2018-19 season.[108] On 29 March 2018, Portsmouth announced a three-year deal with Nike to become official kit supplier from the start of the 2018-19 season.[109] On 4 May 2018, the club announced that a three-year deal had been agreed for the University of Portsmouth to become the new Main Club Partner and as part of the agreement, the University’s logo would appear on the front of Pompey’s shirts from the start of the 2018/19 season.[110] Portsmouth ended the 2017-18 League One season in 8th position on 66 points, missing the play-off places by 5 points. Wigan Athletic, managed by former Portsmouth manager Paul Cook, won the League One championship title with 98 points, followed by runners-up Blackburn Rovers on 96 points, both winning automatic promotion to The Championship. The four League One playoff places were taken by Shrewsbury Town (87 pts), Rotherham United (79 pts), Scunthorpe United (74 pts) and Charlton Athletic (71 pts). 2017-18 EFL League One final table

On 21 June 2018, a new club shop named The Pompey Shop was opened at 16 Anson Road, Milton, Portsmouth (PO4 8TB), just behind Fratton Park's North Stand. The opening day was attended by Portsmouth players Ben Close, Adam May, Jamal Lowe and Brandon Haunstrup.[111] Portsmouth's 2018-19 season in EFL League One will begin at home on 4 August 2018 versus Luton Town.[112] Portsmouth will wear a new kit manufactured by Nike featuring a new club crest earlier revealed on 15 March 2018.[108]

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 23 June 2018[113]

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 Luke McGee
4 England MF Danny Rose
5 England DF Matt Clarke
6 England DF Christian Burgess
8 England FW Brett Pitman (captain)
9 England FW Oliver Hawkins
16 England DF Jack Whatmough
17 Wales DF Dion Donohue
18 England MF Jamal Lowe
19 England FW Conor Chaplin
20 England DF Nathan Thompson
No. Position Player
26 England MF Gareth Evans (vice-captain)
30 England MF Adam May
33 England MF Ben Close
35 England GK Alex Bass
38 England DF Brandon Haunstrup
England GK Craig MacGillivray
England DF Lee Brown
Republic of Ireland MF Ronan Curtis
England MF Louis Dennis
England MF Tom Naylor

Reserve team[edit]

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

No. Position Player
31 England DF Matt Casey
32 England MF Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain
34 England MF Dan Smith
No. Position Player
39 England DF Joe Hancott
40 England FW Bradley Lethbridge

Notable players[edit]

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[edit]

  • 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.[114] Ten years after his death, however, the number 13 was again used, first 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]
  • Number 58 is Nelson the club mascot's number.[115]

Portsmouth Player of the Season (since 1968)[edit]

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 England Tim Stratten
1979 England Peter Mellor
1980 England Joe Laidlaw
1981 Not awarded
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
2016 Republic of Ireland Michael Doyle
2017 Republic of Ireland Enda Stevens
Year Winner
2018 England Matt Clarke

Portsmouth Hall of Fame[edit]

Portsmouth created a Hall of Fame in March 2009, which honours former players and staff members of the club.[116] 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.

Inducted Name Nat. Position
or role
Playing career Managerial
career
Player
Apps
Player
Goals
2009[117] Jimmy Dickinson England LH 1946–65 1977–79 828 10
Peter Harris England OF 1946–60 515 211
Ray Hiron England FW 1964–75 364 117
Alan Knight England GK 1978–2000/2003–04 801 0
Guy Whittingham England ST 1992–94 2012–13 249 112
2010[118] Len Phillips England IF 1946–56 271 55
John Milkins England GK 1961–74 389 0
Mick Tait England FW 1980–87 280 32
Andy Awford England CB 1989–2000 2014–15 341 3
Duggie Reid Scotland IF 1946–56 323 134
2010[119] Jack Froggatt England LH 1946–54 279 65
Johnny Gordon England IF 1949–58/1961–67 489 106
Alan McLoughlin Republic of Ireland CM 1992–99 309 54
Linvoy Primus England CB 2000–09 219 6
Paul Walsh England ST 1992–94/1995–96 113 26
2011[120] Reg Flewin England CB 1937–53 167 0
Norman Piper England LW 1970–78 356 57
Alan Biley England FW 1982–84 115 57
Steve Claridge England ST 1998/1998–2001 2000–01 124 37
2012[121] Micky Quinn England ST 1985–88 137 68
Jimmy Scoular Scotland WH 1945–53 268 8
Ron Saunders England ST 1958–64 259 156
Eoin Hand Republic of Ireland U 1968–76/1977–79 307 14
Kit Symons England DF 1992–94 220 11
2013[116] Ernie Butler England GK 1946–53 240 0
Arjan de Zeeuw Netherlands CB 2002–05 118 5
Billy Gilbert England CB 1984–89 159 0
Harry Harris Wales WH/IF 1958–70 403 49
Nicky Jennings England LW 1967–74 227 50
2014[122] Ike Clarke England ST 1947–53 129 58
David James England GK 2006–10 157 0
Kevin Dillon England CM 1983–89 249 56
George Ley England LB/LW 1967–72 204 11
Billy Wilson England SB 1972–79 216 6
Arthur Egerton Knight England LB 1908–22 206 0
2015[123] Svetoslav Todorov Bulgaria ST 2001–07 83 33
Noel Blake Jamaica CB 1984–88 173 14
Dave Kemp England ST 1976–78 74 48
Billy Haines England FW 1922–28 164 119
2016[124] Paul Merson England MF 2002–03 44 12
Colin Garwood England ST 1978–80 71 34
Cliff Parker England OL 1933–51 242 57
Vince Hilaire England MF 1984–88 146 25
2017[125] Alex Wilson Scotland SB 1949–67 350 4
Alan Rogers England FW 1979–84 161 15
Mark Hateley England ST 1983–84 38 22
Mick Kennedy Republic of Ireland CM 1984–87 129 4
Gemma Hillier England ST 2000–17 282 92

Key:

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

Club personnel[edit]

Position Staff
Chairman Michael Eisner
Directors Board Eric Eisner
Breck Eisner
Anders Eisner
Andy Redman
CEO Mark Catlin
Manager Kenny Jackett
Assistant Manager Joe Gallen
First Team Coach Robbie Blake
Goalkeeping Coach John Keeley
Kit Manager Kev McCormack
Kit Man Barry Harris
Club Ambassador Alan Knight MBE
Academy Manager Mark Kelly
Club Mascots Nelson & Mary Rose

[126]

Managers[edit]

Figures correct as of 2 April 2018
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 – May 2017 107 52 27 28 48.6
Kenny Jackett Wales Wales June 2017 – Present 47 22 5 20 46.81

Caretaker managers[edit]

Figures correct as of 11 August 2017
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

Club Crest[edit]

Portsmouth badge from 2015-2018.
Portsmouth badge from 1997-2008.
Portsmouth badge from 1980-1989.

Portsmouth F.C., formed in 1898, did not have a club crest until one was introduced for the 1913–14 season, in which Portsmouth wore blue shirts for a second successive season. The 1913–14 season would also become the last season before World War One began in 1914.

The first 1913 Portsmouth F.C. crest featured an elongated white crescent moon beneath a white five pointed star, with both symbols positioned in the centre of a blue four point shield. Portsmouth city council who owned the original Portsmouth city coat of arms and all rights to them, allowed the use of their moon and star motifs to Portsmouth F.C. Curiously, the star of the 1913 Portsmouth F.C. crest featured a five pointed star, different to the eight pointed star of the original city crest.[18]

The official Coat of Arms 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(1157-1189), who 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 F.C. 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 to gold coloured thread.

Between 1980 and 1989, Portsmouth scrapped the traditional crest and replaced it with an entirely new design. This crest showed a football in front of an anchor (representing the navy) and a sword (representing the army), with the whole design surrounded by an outer ring of ships rope. An alternative version included a circular version of the traditional 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 in 1993 by an embroided badge of the city of Portsmouth Coat of Arms. But this was unpopular with many fans who thought it was over elaborate. After only four seasons, the coat of arms badge was dropped.

A new crest based on the more familiar and traditional crest was introduced in 1997, with a simple eight pointed gold star and a golden crescent moon on a blue shield edged with a gold outer rim. At the foot of the shield, a gold ribbon with "Portsmouth F.C." written in blue gothic lettering completed the new design. This new crest coincided with the rebuilding and reopening of the new Fratton End in the 1997-98 season.

In 2007, an additional "Since 1898" was added to the 1997 crest ribbon underneath the shield in time for the 2007-08 season.

On 6 May 2008, a month after their 110th Anniversary, Portsmouth revealed a new crest which significantly updated the previous crest. The "star and moon" had a very three dimensional look, the tradition curved shield with "three points" at the top of the shield were replaced with two straightened angles. The top of the shield had "Portsmouth FC" written above the star on the shield. The traditional elongated crescent moon was replaced with a new circular one, which closely resembled that on the city's Coat of Arms. The new crest had its debut in the 2008 FA Cup Final, in which Portsmouth also wore a new all-blue home strip.

As part of the World War One Centennial Commemorations in the 2014–15 season, the club opted to replace the 2008 crest on the home kit with one near identical to that used in 1913–14. This was a more traditional-looking club crest featuring the traditional 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.

In June 2015, following positive feedback from supporters, Portsmouth F.C. decided to revert the official club crest back to a familiar and traditional design, over the one introduced in 2008, which was often criticised by Pompey fans for looking too similar to Arsenal F.C.'s updated modern era crest. Portsmouth's new 2015 crest was virtually identical in design to that which has been used for the majority of the club's history. The famous "star and moon", both silver-white on a blue background, have a slight three-dimensional appearance. The star was restored back to the familiar eight pointed design, instead of the five pointed version used in the 1913 and 2014 crests. The crest's shield retains the three points at the top but is in a more traditional shape. No lettering or numbering features on the new club crest, just like that which was used on home shirts the previous 2014–15 season.

On 4 May 2017 at Portsmouth Guildhall, The Tornante Company, owned by Michael Eisner met the Pompey Supporters Trust (PST), the fan-based owners of Portsmouth F.C., to discuss a potential takeover of the football club. During the meeting, the prospective new owners identified a long overlooked ownership and copyright issue concerning the traditional Portsmouth crest - Portsmouth Football Club did not legally "own" the symbols on the crest, which had actually only been "on loan" to the club from Portsmouth City Council since 1913![127]

The Tornante Company completed their purchase of Portsmouth F.C. on 3 August 2017 after a majority vote from members of the Pompey Supporters Trust to sell. To rectify the copyright and commercial marketing issues with the current 2015 crest, the decision was taken by the new owners to design and copyright a brand new crest for the future. Portsmouth's fans were consulted by traditional and digital media during late 2017 and early 2018 with various new designs for new crests. Most of the designs were minor tweaks and adjustments of the existing 2015 crest, just enough to make a new crest design different enough from that of Portsmouth City Council's coat of Arms.

On 15 March 2018, not one, but two newly redesigned club crests were finally revealed. Both new crests featured a new eight pointed nautical compass star and the addition of an "1898" date, the founding year of the football club, beneath the crescent moon. The new crests are to be copyrighted and introduced for the new 2018-19 season. The first new crest, similar to previous crests, is intended for players shirts. The second crest, surrounded by a blue ring with "Portsmouth Football Club" written in it, will be used for letterheads, merchandise and other commercial purposes.[108]

Home Colours[edit]

1899-1909
1909-1912
1912-1947
1947-1967
1967-1972
1972-1973
1973-1976
1976-Present

In their first 1899-1900 season in the Southern League Division One, Portsmouth's first home colours were salmon pink shirts with maroon collars and cuffs, matched with white shorts and black socks. The pink shirts gave the early Portsmouth F.C. the alternative second nickname of 'The Shrimps'. The collars and cuffs were the same colour as the Corporation of Portsmouth's public trams, which were painted maroon at the time.[128] These colours lasted until the end of the 1908–09 season. 'The Shrimps' nickname then also declined from common usage.

At the start of the 1909–10 season, 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 to Southern League Division Two. Following relegation, a financial crisis, fund raising, promotion in early 1912 and then another financial crisis, the original Portsmouth company that had been formed in 1898 was 'wound up'. A new limited company was formed on 27 July 1912 as Portsmouth F.C.'s parent company.

For the start of the 1912–13 Southern League Division One season, Portsmouth changed their home colours to blue shirts, white shorts and black socks. This was to become Portsmouth's home kit colour combination up until the start of the 1947–48 season, when the black socks were changed to red; this coinciding with the club's most successful period and has remained the favoured colours for the majority of the time since.[129] Portsmouth F.C. changed their colour combination several times during the 1967-1976 period, before reverting to the now tradition post-war blue shirts, white shorts and red stockings in 1976.[128]

Red socks memorial[edit]

Portsmouth had predominantly worn black socks since their first match in 1899 up until the end of the post-World War Two 1946–47 FA Cup season – in which the Football League had not yet resumed.

During the Second World War and post-war periods, the British Army's Field Marshal Sir Bernard 'Monty' Montgomery had been based on the outskirts of Portsmouth and regularly attended war-time League South matches at Fratton Park, becoming honorary President of Portsmouth FC. Following the suggestion by Montgomery, red socks were introduced by the club as a memorial to soldiers lost in wartime[130] as red is the traditional colour of the British Army and also the colour of the Remembrance poppy.

With the resumption of a full professional Football League season in England in 1947–48, Portsmouth changed their socks from the usual black to red for the start of the 1947–48 season. This also gave the Portsmouth team a patriotic blue, white and red appearance similar to the United Kingdom's red white and blue Union Flag.

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 retained for good luck.

Away colours[edit]

The most frequent away colours used by Portsmouth have been white shirts with royal or navy blue shorts and either blue or white socks.[18] 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] 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.[131] For 2010–11, the away kit was a white shirt, with maroon shorts and socks (image below). 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.

For the 2017-18 season, Portsmouth had two away kits. The first choice away kit had white shirts, blue shorts and blue socks. The second choice was an all navy blue strip with pink collars, cuffs and other trim.[132][133]

Other historic kits[edit]

For the 2008 FA Cup Final victory against Cardiff City F.C., Portsmouth debuted an all blue home kit manufactured by Canterbury and sponsored by Oki Printing Solutions to commemorate the club's 110th Anniversary year. The all blue home kit was also used throughout the following 2008-09 season.[128]

Portsmouth again reached the FA Cup Final in 2010, but were defeated 1-0 by Chelsea F.C.. Portsmouth, as the away team, wore a white and maroon kit inspired from elements of the original "Shrimps" era (1899-1909) kit in which maroon collars and cuffs featured on the salmon pink home shirts.

Kit Manufacturers and Sponsors[edit]

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.co.uk
2010–2013 Kappa
2013–2018 Sondico
2018–2021 Nike University of Portsmouth

1 Portsmouth's own manufacturer.

"Pompey" nickname[edit]

Portsmouth Football Club are traditionally nicknamed "Pompey", from its common association with the English city of Portsmouth and its Royal Navy base, which have both historically been known as "Pompey" earlier than the more recent founding of Portsmouth F.C. in 1898.

Portsmouth F.C. were not the first football club in Portsmouth to be known as "Pompey", because another Portsmouth based team, Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) F.C. were known and reported as Pompey beforehand. Royal Artillery's supporters were also responsible for creating the "The Town Hall Chimes" chant, which later became known as the "The Pompey Chimes" chant in the twentieth century. The chant originally began at Royal Artillery's home football ground at Burnaby Road, Portsmouth (United Services Recreation Ground) and was within easy earshot of the nearby Portsmouth Town Hall (now Portsmouth Guildhall) clock bells, which had inspired the chant.

Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) F.C. were disqualified for "professionalism" after an 1898-99 FA Amateur Cup match. Royal Artillery were also forced to field only a team of amateur reserve players, thus weakening the remaining Royal Artillery team for the remainder of the 1898-99 Southern Football League season. Royal Artillery finished bottom of the table, relegated after a relegation match with Cowes F.C. and were eventually disbanded. The "Pompey" nickname, the "Town Hall Chimes" chant, some of the Royal Artillery players and their supporters then migrated to a newly formed football club, named Portsmouth F.C., earlier formed on 5 April 1898.[134]

Portsmouth F.C., as the "new" Pompey, played their first Southern Football League match away to Chatham Town on Saturday 2 September 1899, winning 0-1. Their first home match at Fratton Park stadium took place only four days later on Wednesday 6 September 1899, a friendly match against Southampton F.C., which Portsmouth won 2-0. 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 the original 1898 founding company was replaced in 1911, Portsmouth began playing in their now familiar royal blue shirts in the 1912–13 season.[128]

The exact origins of the "Pompey" nickname have never formally been identified or concluded by historians, as many differing sources and interpretations of "Pompey" exist.

One theory of the Pompey nickname is the grammatical contraction of the Old Portsmouth location name Portsmouth Point to the shorter Po'm. P. (Po'rtsm.outh P.oint) which supposedly saved both time and space when handwritten into a ships logbook. Other theories include Royal Navy romanticism of the Roman character Pompey from Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra", used by officers to inspire their crews.

Another Pompey nickname theory comes from HMS Pompee, originally a newly built Téméraire class French frigate named La Pompée that was surrended by French Royalists to their allies the British during the Siege of Toulon in 1793. The ship La Pompée eventually arrived at Spithead in 1794 and was recommissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Pompée. In 1797, HMS Pompée was one of sixteen ships involved in the Spithead and Nore mutinies of 1797. During her later career, HMS Pompée also served as Portsmouth's guard ship and ended her career in the early nineteenth century anchored in Portsmouth Harbour as the chief prison ship Pompee. Pompee was also used as prison ship for French prisoners captured during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). The harsh treatment received aboard Pompee gained a national notoriety with the criminal classes of England, the name Pompey itself became a northern England slang word for prison.[135] The Pompee became a familiar local landmark and gained a common association with the Royal Navy and the civilian Portsmouth population, who both then began associating Pompee with Portsmouth. Pompee was finally taken away to be broken up in Woolwich in 1817, but her name lived on in Portsmouth folklore, anglicised to "Pompey" over time.[136]

Stadium[edit]

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

Portsmouth F.C. play their home games at Fratton Park, in the district of Milton, 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.[137] 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.

Supporters and rivalries[edit]

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

Portsmouth's main rivals are Southampton, who are 19.8 miles (31.8 km) away, with the "postcode border" between the two located in the Hampshire village of Titchfield. The South Coast Derby is one of the less frequently played rivalries within English football due to the clubs being in different divisions however this usually adds to the ferocity of the fixture.

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.

Another rivalry over the years, colloquially known as the "Dockyard Derby", is with Plymouth Argyle.[138][139] This rivalry is also known as the Battle of the Ports.[140]

'The Pompey Chimes'[edit]

The best-known chant sung by Portsmouth supporters are "The Pompey Chimes". The chant is regarded as football's oldest chant still in use today.[141][142]

"The Pompey Chimes" were originally called "The Town Hall Chimes", and were created by the supporters of Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) Football Club, a British Army artillery regiment team, who were the most popular and successful amateur football team based in Portsmouth for much of the 1890s. Royal Artillery played their home matches at the United Services Recreation Ground in Burnaby Road, Portsmouth,[134] and were already nicknamed "Pompey"[143] before the founding of Portsmouth F.C. in 1898.

The nearby Portsmouth Town Hall (now called the Portsmouth Guildhall), only 0.3 miles (0.5 km) from Burnaby Road was completed in 1890, and would strike the various Westminster Quarters chimes every quarter hour. Football referees would use the Town Hall's clock bells as a reference to when the football match should end at 4 pm. Just before 4 pm the crowd of supporters would slowly lilt in unison with the Town Hall's chimes on the hour to encourage the referee to blow the whistle to signify full-time. The original words to 'The Pompey Chimes' (as printed in the 1900–01 Official Handbook of Portsmouth F.C.), were:

 \relative c' {    \time 5/4 \key e \major e4 gis fis b,2 | e4 fis gis e2 | gis4 e fis b,2 |  b4 fis' gis e2 | R1*5/4\fermataMarkup  \bar "||"  \clef bass \time 4/4 e,1^"Portsmouth Town Hall Chimes (4pm)"  | e1| e1 | e1 |}

Play up Pompey,
Just one more goal!
Make tracks! What ho!
Hallo! Hallo!!

With the demise of Royal Artillery (Portsmouth) F.C. after their expulsion from the 1898–99 FA Amateur Cup for alleged professionalism, many of Royal Artillery's supporters switched their allegiance in 1899 to Portsmouth F.C., taking the "Town Hall Chimes" chant and the "Pompey" nickname from Burnaby Road to Fratton Park, a distance of 1.8 miles (2.8 km).

The Pompey Chimes are still sung at Fratton Park today, and have evolved to be sung at a quicker tempo, and with a shortened chime style - usually twice:

 \relative c'' {\time 5/4  \key e \major gis4 e fis b,2 | b4 fis' gis e2 | gis4 e fis b,2 | b4 fis' gis e2 |}

Play up Pompey,
Pompey play up!
Play up Pompey,
Pompey play up!

Portsmouth in Europe[edit]

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.

Women's football[edit]

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.

Affiliated clubs[edit]

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[144] and Irish academy Home Farm[145] 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.[146] They also play friendlies and loan out players to the side.

Club Honours[edit]

Source for honours:[147]

League Competitions[edit]

First Tier: Football League First Division (1888-1992) > FA Premier League (1992-Present)
Second Tier: Football League Second Division (1888-1992) > Football League First Division (1992-2004) > EFL Championship (2004-Present)
Third Tier: Football League Third Division (1920–21) > Football League Third Division South (1921-1958) > Football League Third Division (1958-1992) > Football League Second Division (1992-2004) > EFL League One (2004-Present)
Fourth Tier: Football League Fourth Division (1958-1992) > Football League Third Division (1992-2004) > EFL League Two (2004-Present)

Non-League Competitions[edit]

Southern Football League First Division
Southern Football League Second Division
Western Football League First Division

Cup Competitions[edit]

FA Cup
FA Community Shield (formerly 'FA Charity Shield' (1908–2002))

Other/Friendly Honours[edit]

London War Cup (replaced by Football League War Cup)
  • Runners-up: (1) 1942
Premier League Asia Trophy

Club records[edit]

Record signing[edit]

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.[151] 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.[152] The highest fee received was £18 million for midfielder Lassana Diarra to Real Madrid.[153]

References[edit]

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Sources
  • Inglis, Simon (1996). Football Grounds of Britain. Collins Willow. ISBN 0-00-218426-5. 

External links[edit]

Official websites[edit]

News sites[edit]

Publications[edit]

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

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