11 September ~ When Portsmouth were relegated last season, many fans took the view that the Championship would be more fun than the Premier League. The soothsayers that gathered around my matchday pub, The Rutland Arms, were confident that we would go into each game with a chance of winning. This theory was based on some assumptions: that the Company Voluntary Arrangement would be agreed by creditors; the transfer embargo would be lifted and a new owner would take over the club. Of course, all of this happening was about as likely as Ashley Cole having a sudden epiphany and feeling the urge to wear a hairshirt.
Where Pompey are now, in September, is pretty much where we were at the start of the summer – loads of debt, no owner and we still can't name a full subs bench. The 21-year-old businessman Tom Lever wanted to buy the club with his birthday money, but it seems the gift vouchers and book tokens he got didn't quite add up to enough. Maybe if all his grannies, aunts, and uncles pitch in he'll get PFC for Christmas. I'm sure Lever's parents would help him out, but daddy is bankrupt. Hang on, though. Wealthy young man with dad hovering in the background? We've been here before. Well, why do anything drastic like learn from your mistakes? Roll on Gaydamak mark two.
Even the most irritatingly chirpy Pompey fan must be expecting us to get comfortably beaten today. Ipswich have won three and drawn one of their opening four games this season. We've lost three and drawn one. Their goal difference is plus five. Ours is minus five. Ipswich's form suggests they'll be in or around the play-offs at the end of the campaign. Pompey's performances point towards League One football next season.
In the past five Championship seasons, the team in 21st place stayed up with the following fairly consistent points totals: 49, 51, 53, 49, 50. Can Pompey get around another 49 points from our remaining 42 games? Not with the squad we have currently. It's not a question of whether recent additions like Dave Kitson have enough quality to make a difference. It's simply about the numbers – both on the pitch and in the PFC bank account. Leon Tricker