Portsmouth FC are a key example of the importance of a steady bank balance in professional football. The economic situation hit Pompey hard and they plummeted from being a mid-table Premier League side to being a mid-table League 2 side in less than 5 years. Their demise has been a sad one for everyone linked with football, whichever team you support (except Southampton perhaps).
At one point they had a very commendable squad full of emerging talents. This team took them to the 2010 FA Cup Final, where they were defeated by Chelsea. This squad also however was on the receiving end of the fall. So where are they now?
The following team consists of players with the highest number of appearances in the 2009/10 Premier League season…
GK – David James
The well travelled England international played 134 games between the sticks for Portsmouth after signing from
Manchester City in 2006. Following Portsmouth’s relegation, James, whose contract had run out, expressed interest in succeeding Avram Grant as manager at Fratton Park. This never materialised. James was offered a new contract at the club, but the offer was withdrawn after he failed to commit to the club. Following his release, David James played for Bristol City and Bournemouth before moving to his current team, IBV of Iceland. IBV or Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja are managed by James’ former Pompey team-mate, Hermann Hreidarsson. The chairman of the club announced that attendances increased significantly since his arrival.
RB – Steve Finnan
Borussia Dortmund, joining Espanyol for an undisclosed fee. Injury hampered his time at the Catalan side and in 2009 he was released from his contract. Later that year he returned to the Premier League with Portsmouth. He played regularly but with Pompey in administration, Finnan was not offered a new contract.
He retired in 2010 and is taking time away from football at present. The Irishman was an integral part of the Liverpool team that won the Champions League in 2005, providing width in attack and a sturdy defence. Steve Finnan left Liverpool for Spain in 2008 after the arrival of Philippe Degen from
CB – Younes Kaboul
The French defender joined from Tottenham in 2008 for £6 million. Admired by the Pompey faithful, the powerful centre-back played 50 times for the club scoring 5 times.
In January 2010, Kaboul resigned for Spurs for a reported £9.5 million. Since the move the 27 year old has played 165 times for Spurs and 5 times for his country.
CB – Marc Wilson
Signed in 2004 from Manchester United’s youth team, Wilson became an established player during the 2009/10 season following two seasons out on loan. Following relegation, Wilson was made club captain. However the financial situation led to his move to Stoke City as part of a swap deal that saw Dave Kitson and Liam Lawrence join Portsmouth.
The converted left-back has played 84 times and will play more in midfield this season following Stoke’s summer transfer activity that saw Erik Pieters and Marc Muniesa sign for the Potters.
LB – Tal Ben Haim
Following unsuccessful spells at Chelsea and Manchester City, the Israeli defender signed for Portsmouth on Transfer Deadline Day 2009. He became a key member of the Portsmouth defence but suffered an injury which kept him out for the second half of the season. Following relegation, Ben Haim was released due to the clause in his contract however he declined the chance to activate it.
Before their Championship campaign had begun, it was evident that the defender had to be sold due to his crippling wages. He was subsequently loaned to West Ham United. He returned to Fratton Park the following season but didn’t play a part due to an unpaid wages dispute with the club worth £1.4 million. Ben Haim was criticised over his £36,000 a week contract at a club facing liquidation. In 2012 the Israeli left the club. He joined QPR for the 2012/13 season but was released following their relegation and is now playing for Standard Liege in Belgium.