By Bulldog Drummond
Portsmouth are a League One (ie third tier) team, chasing promotion. In this League, the top two are automatically promoted; next four compete enter into the playoffs (two semi-finals and a final), with the winner gaining the third promotion spot. Here’s the League One table at present.
Although there are technically 24 teams in the league, in effect this season there are only 23 since Bury went bust earlier this season and are not playing their fixtures. To make up the numbers for the 2020/21 season only, the EFL have now reduced the number of relegation places at the end of 2019/20 from League One to League Two, down to three.
So as things stand at the top Portsmouth are heading for a playoff position with Wycombe, Sunderland and Peterborough – but of course there’s still a way to go. It may well be that although Portsmouth will be excited by playing Arsenal, their main thoughts are with promotion – which would bring higher income to the club, and of course exemption next season into the FA Cup until Round 3, which could mean a big tie, and major income boost all of its own.
Portsmouth have shown themselves to be a particularly strong team at home being undefeated thus far.
Home games only
They are the joint top scorers at home and have the fifth-best defence, conceding under one goal a game at home on average (while scoring over two goals per game).
Since the start of the year they have been having a strong home run, although in February they did suffer two away defeats in league games. I’ve removed the three Football League Trophy games from the sequence although they won all three.
|01 Jan 2020||Gillingham v Portsmouth||D||1-1||League One|
|04 Jan 2020||Fleetwood Town v Portsmouth||W||1-2||FA Cup|
|11 Jan 2020||Portsmouth v AFC Wimbledon||W||2-1||League One|
|18 Jan 2020||Bolton Wanderers v Portsmouth||W||0-1||League One|
|25 Jan 2020||Portsmouth v Barnsley||W||4-2||FA Cup|
|28 Jan 2020||Lincoln City v Portsmouth||W||0-2||League One|
|01 Feb 2020||Portsmouth v Sunderland||W||2-0||League One|
|08 Feb 2020||Tranmere Rovers v Portsmouth||W||0-2||League One|
|11 Feb 2020||Coventry City v Portsmouth||L||1-0||League One|
|15 Feb 2020||Portsmouth v Shrewsbury Town||W||2-0||League One|
|22 Feb 2020||Fleetwood Town v Portsmouth||L||1-0||League One|
|25 Feb 2020||Portsmouth v Milton Keynes Dons||W||3-1||League One|
|28 Feb 2020||Portsmouth v Rochdale||W||3-0||League One|
So it is six consecutive home wins for Portsmouth. Their one home slip up came in the League Cup against another south coast team: Premier League Southampton on 24 September when they lost at home 0-4. Since then they have been winning at home pretty much all the way.
Historically their highlight was winning the FA Cup in 2008, part of the era in which they had Kanu playing for them – although all the reward he got was a failure to pay his salary. It appears he started to sue them, but then in order to help the club survive he let them off and stopped the case. I do hope they appreciated the gesture.
Portsmouth were relegated in 2010 while getting to the cup final again. In 2012 they went from the Championship to League 1 and in 2013 down again to League 2 which they finally won in 2017. The last couple of seasons they have finished 8th and 4th, and are obviously now looking to rise up to the Championship to continue their rise back to the upper reaches. That would mean exemption in the Cup until the 3rd round and enhanced chances of a big payment from just one match.
And here’s a bit of fun:
Portsmouth are one of only two clubs to have been champions of five professional divisions: the 1st, 2nd, 3rd (south), League One and League Two. The other club is Wolverhampton who included the 3rd Division (north) in their list.
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