As soon as the bomb dropped that Portsmouth were in the bottom tier this coming season, my mind started whirring. I’ve always felt an affiliation with Pompey – nothing particularly close, but I used to be sent their merchandise catalogue as a bairn, and one of my good friends is from Portsmouth, and I saw them promoted once – that kind of thing.
I’m also acutely aware that, with 96 meetings, Portsmouth were a team my club, Huddersfield have played something like the most frequently. However, as these things go, their hitting of the big time coincided with our implosion and rebirth and it feels a long long time since we met.
Having played in all four divisions in a downward trajectory, Pompey are in the rare position of being able to ‘mop up’ opponents this season, as they’ll have recently played – or so I thought – against all 91 other teams by around Christmas time.
So I thought I’d give it a look and see if it were true. Well, in some ways, what I thought holds. On 29th December 2012, Pompey should complete their League 2 set with a game against Northampton Town – a team they last faced in September 2003 in the Carling Cup (though its an impressive 3rd May 1980 since the clubs last met in the league).
However, my extensive research indicates that by 01/01/2014 Portsmouth will have featured in four divisions in five seasons and played 84 of the Football League teams in that time. The seven outstanding teams, with their last league games against Pompey? Well, if you insist.
85. 20-01-2007 – Charlton Athletic (Premier League)
86. 04-05-2003 – Bradford City (Last day of promotion to PL season)
87. 27-04-2003 – Rotherham Utd (Clinched Div 1 title)
88. 12-04-2003 – Sheffield Wednesday (Champ/Division 1)
89. 22-02-2003 – Gillingham (Champ/Division 1 – have met in cups since)
90. 31-01-2001 – Huddersfield Town (Champ/Division 1)
91. 01-04-2000 – Port Vale (Champ/Division 1)
So, there you have it. You can have played Portsmouth more than any other team, or be closer to them than any other team alphabetically, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get to play a league game against them.
Another curio that this season will produce, I would say.
Right, I’m off to cross my fingers that Vale get Pompey in the League Cup. If Huddersfield can win something, I’m all for it.