Portsmouth: The rise & fall

From FA Cup glory to the depths of the Football League, we note the key moments in Portsmouth's decline

Alex Batt
Published 04/18/2013 13:07 by Alex Batt, read by 1,221 people.

Football can be a cruel, cruel game at times with many clubs going from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows and Portsmouth are the latest club to suffer from the depression.

The likes of Leeds, Sheffield United, Leicester, Norwich and QPR have all gone from high football levels to lower league football, but for them it looks like they are back on the up and back in a good position on and off the field, however for Pompey it's not looking great.

A loss on Tuesday night saw their relegation confirmed from League One to League Two, the lowest tier in the football league. This is quite a contrast from the FA Cup glory they had back in 2008 when they beat Cardiff City, now promoted to the Premier League, 1-0 at Wembley.

Not only has it gone wrong on the pitch, it has also gone terribly wrong off it, with debts once estimating at £135million, the southern club has really gone through torrid times and only looks like getting worse.

Since their FA Cup win and their European nights, Portsmouth have been in administration twice and next season they will be playing in the fourth tier of football for the first time since the 70s.

Now the Portsmouth Supporters Trust are on the verge of completing their takeover of the club, many fans will hope that this is the start of a new era.

Here we look at the key moments in Portsmouth's crazy downfall from 2007.


Manager at the time Harry Redknapp makes several signings, which help turn Portsmouth into an established Premier League side. David Nugent, (£6m from Preston) John Utaka, (£7m from Rennes) and Glen Johnson (£4m from Chelsea) are the marquee signings made from Redknapp.


More signings are made in the January transfer window. Lassana Diarra arrives from Arsenal for £6.5m and Jermain Defoe for £7.5m from Tottenham - additions that help Portsmouth to silverware later on in the season. Come the end of the January transfer window, Redknapp and Pompey had spent £30million on transfers and had brought in £13m from player sales. 

With a solid team, Pompey then go on and win their second FA Cup trophy after beating Cardiff City 1-0 thanks to a Nwankwo Kanu goal. As well as the FA Cup they also achieved an eighth-place finish in the league and also qualified for the UEFA Cup.

In late 2008, Harry Redknapp leaves the club in order to join struggling Spurs and it is Tony Adams that takes over in charge at the club.

In November Portsmouth hosted AC Milan in the UEFA Cup in front of a sell-out crowd of over 20,000 and the game finished 2-2.


The club sell both Diarra and Defoe for a combined fee of £35million to Real Madrid and Tottenham respectively and then a month later, Tony Adams is sacked from his managerial job and replaced by Paul Hart.

At the end of the 2009 season, Pompey finished in a respectable 14th position, but that is when financial problems first start to hit the club.

Late 2009, financial problems hit the public eye and it is reported that the players and staff have not been paid. Paul Hart then leaves the club and Avram Grant takes over.


In February, Portsmouth were issued a winding-up order and they became the first ever Premier League club to go into administration.

Despite terrible circumstances off the field, Pompey then make it to the FA Cup final once again, but this time around they lose 2-0 to Chelsea.

Although the FA Cup had it's glorious moments, that was simply not the case in the Premier League as the club were relegated into the Championship.


Manager at the time, Steve Cotterill achieves a respectable 16th placed finish with Pompey after a long, struggling season, but he then later leaves the club to join Nottingham Forest.


With the club in debt and unable to pay off their taxes, the club go into administration for the second time and also receive a ten-point deduction.

In May, the club suffered another relegation and found themselves in League One and in the summer, all of their playing staff left the club.

Michael Appleton is then hired as the club manager, but has next-to-nothing at hand and has to field youth players and could barely name a substitution bench. He then left the club as well in order to join Blackpool.


The club go on a 23-game streak without winning before beating Crewe Alexandra 2-1 and things off the pitch finally get resolved.

Portsmouth Supporters' Trust gain control of the club from administrators, but on the pitch it gets worse as they get relegated to League Two.

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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