Date: 2nd July 2008 at 2:16pm
Written by:

31 from a possible 63pts was a really good return on the face of it, but the awful December meant what could, and maybe even should have been even better was not – but hey ho onwards and upwards, and 2008 saw that but that is for latter in the year! We carry on with January here…

The month, and indeed the year of 2008 kicked off with a New Years Day visit to Reading. No doubt plenty of us were nursing hangovers? I can recall I would not have been one of them as I was unable to drink over the Christmas and New Year period due to severe virus then ear problem! Anyway, we got back to winning ways despite an early Niko Kranjcar penalty miss as Sol Campbell and John Utaka won us the points in a 2-0 win against their 10 men – it was back to winning ways, a perfect way to start the year!

Quite possibly the most anticipated day in the footballing calendar then arrived the following weekend – the FA cup 3rd round. We were off to Ipswich, and despite the fact that we did not play that well and they had a man sent off midway through the 1st half we managed to do enough to book our place in the next round due to our cup specialist – and goalscoring machine at Portman Road – Dave Nugent, with him scoring within minutes of his half time arrival.

Once again we remained on the road the following week, this time we were off to Sunderland on the Sunday where the sky sports cameras overlooked yet another shockingly poor performance, which saw us quite rightly beaten 2-0. All the rumours of a possible Harry Redknapp switch to Newcastle seemed to be taking their toll…

After this defeat there was a fair amount of transfer activity. In came Lassana Diarra from Arsenal, in a transfer coup of immense proportions along with fellow Frenchman Lucien Aubey in a loan move. Leaving the club would be a massive fans favourite Matty Taylor, with his move away finally coming about when Bolton signed him – it was the end of an era…

When Derby came to Fratton on Saturday 19th January – our first home fixture of the year – we were left thinking if we could not win this one against one of the poorest sides in top flight history we did not deserve anything from the season…Thankfully, after the shock of falling behind early we eventually managed to end our goal drought and equalised towards the end of the 1st half through Benjani, taking the lead shortly after when he added his 2nd before he completed another hat trick shortly into the 2nd half to secure us a 3-1 win – our first win, and first goals at home in almost 4 months, since ‘that’ 7-4 win over Reading!

The 4th round of the FA cup saw myself and my travelling band from Devon – we had to make this game no two ways about it as it was Plymouth, as we all lived, or had lived just outside of Plymouth for many years – joined for the game by eastneydave in the North Upper. Despite a dodgy start when we went a goal down we came back to win 2-1 thanks to Lassana Diarra’s 1st goal for the club in only his 2nd game and Niko Kranjcar. It was a great day, the journey’s up and back saw us have friendly banter with plenty of Argyle fans and the afternoon of drinking prior to the game was also fantastic!

Before the month ended we would have a final game to play, as we went to Old Trafford to take on Manyoo. However before this game even we finally found someone to wear the No.9 shirt when Milan Baros arrived on loan from Lyon – I was very happy with this signing at the time! He made his debut in this game against Manyoo and looked well off the pace as we were brushed aside, offering little or nothing by a couple of early Cristiano Ronaldo goals, one of which was one of the most incredible free kicks you are ever likely to see! We were lucky to come away with only a 2-0 defeat if truth be known.

Before the transfer window slammed shut their was still time for the fantastic news that Jermain Defoe had finally signed, after god only knows how long of transfer speculation over the years. But with good news there came the bad, with the devastating news that Benjani was ‘sacrificed’ in a bizarre move to Citeh in order for this deal to happen… but even these deals took several twists and turns before finally being completed sometime in February!

It was a 50% success rate at the start of the year with 6pts from a possible 12, but at last a home win and some goals to go with it. We also had to FA cup wins, with us now taking our place in round 5…


Join the Vital Pompey Debate