Date: 22nd February 2008 at 2:51pm
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Much has been said about how, at our last meeting, Pompey had more of Arsenal’s “invincibles” in their first team than Arsenal did.

Last season, the average age of our team was very high, we had a great number of players that were “past it” (Andy Cole) or looked like they would be “past it” (David James). In fact, looking at Portsmouth from a neutrals point of view, there hopes for the future seemed very bleak, with seemingly no one under the age of 25. (Well almost). Of course, much has changed since then, we have brought in new, young, players, but how long will we keep the likes of Diarra for? And we still have an ageing captain in Sol Campbell.

The new generation – spearheaded by Sulley Muntari and Lassana Diarra are coming into our team, and right now, our squad looks much younger. However, we still don’t have anyone in an u21 team playing regularly, and whilst the academy is making impressive strides towards bringing in players, I would be surprised if saw any youngsters break in for the next few years.

Frank Songo’o looked likely for a while, until a poor spell at Crystal palace saw him drop slightly out of favour. Paris Cowen-Hall has seemingly been in impressive form for the academy side, or at least, his name keeps popping up in the reviews – and Martin Cranie looked very impressive before he broke his leg (or someone broke it for him…I cant remember) – however none of these are really OUR players. Born and bred Pompey. Cowen-Hall joined from Dagenham and Redbridge (I think), Cranie joined from scum (but has been forgiven?by me anyway) and Songo’o came from Barcelona. Our only player to come through our academy, we sold, so it hardly looks like something we can rely on for the future, even with Paul Hart in charge.

The club is making steps towards youth, as we have seen over the last year. Saying (a very sad) goodbye to 29 year old Benjani “the legend” Mwaruwari, in the face of 25 year old Jermain “cup tied” Defoe (yes, I am still bitter). The arrivals of two new youth strikers, and a highly sort after youth goalkeeper were added to our collection of youthful players in January, and Lassana Diarra came in to our now relatively young midfield, to accompany Muntari, who is also 22(ish). Our defence is also getting younger, with Aubey coming in, to add to Glen Johnson – although our aging centre back pairing may need a little improvement.

So despite having the tag “Arsenal’s retirement village” – it looks like we are taking steps in all areas of the pitch to build a team of our own, taking a few risks on players who may, or may not succeed, so despite what initially looked a year and a half ago to be an ageing squad, we are beginning to look a much more athletic side, with players wishing to prove themselves, rather than sit back, having already made there point. It looks like there are good times ahead for us…but then; we already knew that didn’t we?

To be continued…

Written by pompeycarpet.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

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16 Replies to “Pompey: Arsenal’s retirement village”

  • its a good read pompeycarpet – and as requested the 2nd part of his article will be added next week… the arsenal retirment village tag is not something that i an worried about tbh – i quite like it, but as far as the youth set-up goes i feel sure that with people like paul hart involved we will start producing some youngsters in the years to come, clearly not all will make it maybe for everyone that does 5 wont, but we can start start bringing them through…

  • Good stuff carpet – Cowan Hall came from Rushden and Diamonds (it was R&D nor D&R). When will the next Pompey boy play for Pompey??

  • ahh, im always getting confusd between the order of the letter dave, sorry! I dont mind nabbing the best players from other clubs as they are looking to end there careers, just so long as they put there heart into it – however it would be great to see some young talent coming through. i suggest me 😉

  • pompeycarpet you are quite right about heart,but I think we have been successful with older players giving 100% in the past. It is the lack of this total commitment which we are witnessing now. On the subject of home grown players, if eastneydave has time I would love a breakdown on how we faired with our winning teams of the 1949/50 period.

  • The lack of this total commitment which we are witnessing now??? 8th in the Premier League and in the FA Cup quarter final. Just think how well we will do when we get some commited players then 007 :O)

  • 007 you asked, I provide. The twelve players who formed the backbone of the Championship years were mostly locally grown. Flewin, Scoular, Dickinson, Harris, Froggatt and Phillips were are signed either from local non league clubs as kids or direct. Butler and Rookes were both signed as teenagers and Ferrier and Reid both signed straight after the war having been at Barnsley and Stockport respectively. That leaves Clarke and Yeuell who both came from WBA Clarke was 32 and Yeuell 20 on signing. Only Jimmy Scoular and Jack Froggatt left to play football at the top level. The majority of the rest either retired from Pompey or played non league soccer.

    Hope that answer the question 007. Virtually a home built side.

  • You can’t compare the forties, fifties and sixties with now in regard to homegrown players. Things have changed so much in all aspects of life that that is an unfair comparison. What has changed is loyalty and commitment and whilst other things may change there is no excuse for lack of either of these from both managemnt and players. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. If you don’t like something then say so. If you still don’t like it after it has been talked through then get out and don’t bring others down with your sulking. This is where the transfer rules need to change. If a player and the club are at odds and both want to move on then the transfer rules should allow them both to tell the FA and then able to put the player up for transfer at anytime during the year.

  • Good article Carps although I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom .. In Paul Hart we haave one of the best in the business at bringing youngsters through the problem is that some peole expect instance success .. Just because we have players on our books doesn’t mean we will find that diamond…. but there’s no harm trying of course.. As for the retirement Village tag .. that’s something the gooners have called us (as you know) but I’m not sure it’s really the case and more than it is any other club oer the years it just so happens that we have good relations with the gooners at the mo… In fact haven’t we got just as many ex-spurs players that we have Arsenal.. albeit at not quite as old an age.. Look forward to the second article….

  • I do not want to steal carpet’s thunder. It is his article and a good one just helping 007 out and I had to look it up in my records but I was certain they were mostly locals.

  • dont worry about stealing the article, i think the point is to provoke discussion rather than being a simple read…

  • dear pompy fans, i’m an arsenal fan from croatia, but since many of our players have played in the fortress i grew fond of you and your club that is slowly rising like a sleeping giant (still, you desperatly need bigger stadium and youth academy, besides buying used gunners you could duplicate wenger with his youth system, that will bring very sound fundations to your club that is little in size but huge in heart), i was reading a lot of your posts and articles here since niko joined your club and i have to say that you surley are among englands top supporters… that being said, i just wanted to point one thing out that i’m sorry i didn’t see in the article: niko kranjcar is 23 years old and in him you have the wealth that clubs like liverpool and chelsea lack… you have extremly talented player that is part of dying breed – italians call them fantazistas, players who have football imagination more developed than others and which makes you watch in aww when they make a pass which nobody on the stands, or even tv saw, suddenly striker is all alone and defence is so confused that they don’t know where to run (now i have to apologise if i’m mistaken but i think that in english playmaker is the only word that descibes his kind, and i think that word is somehow worn out by usage in many different meanings and for many different players, some of them can’t make a straight pass) Crunchie, as you call him, has the game in his little finger and as i saw he was instrumental in your campaign so far this season… And guess what! He will only get better, as you all have probably noticed if you compared his games for you from last season with his performances this season… These guys, like Niko, that still have fun playing football becouse they love the game for the game, not for the financial or other gaines… Play up Pompey! 🙂

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