Presenting the inside scoop on the latest Football League news

5 Fallen Giants

1. Portsmouth FC

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It’s weird to think that only five seasons ago, Portsmouth were in the Premier League. Now they’re languishing dangerously close to going out of the fourth division into the Skrill Premier.

In the first twenty or so years of their humble beginnings, Portsmouth won the Southern League twice. Once in the 1901-02 season and the second in the 1919-20 season. They then found that their luck was continuing and soon they reached the top tier. But, their time there was hardly successful, however, they did reach the FA Cup final, but could only win the runners up medals.

They managed to avoid relegation and again reached the FA Cup final. This time beating Manchester City. A pattern seemed to form and Pompey reached the FA Cup final for a third time and winning it for a second after beating Wolves. Back to back league titles then followed for the Hampshire side.

Between 1954 and 1970, Portsmouth saw themselves relegated to the Third Division, before settling down in the Second Division. That was until relegation struck them in 1976. Soon, the Fourth Division beckoned and Pompey found themselves in real trouble. Little money, inexperienced players and a manager that wasn’t tried and tested. A roller-coaster of promotions and near misses followed and the club found themselves up in the second tier.

With the arrival of long term manager Harry Redknapp and funding from chairman Milan Mandaric, Portsmouth were crowned champions of what is now the Sky Bet Championship and were heading to the Premiership. The 2007-08 season seemed to be the best season in a long time for the Hampshire club, winning the FA Cup after beating Cardiff City 1-0.  Even with European football, Redknapp left the club. Tony Adams took the job, although only lasted month in the role. Paul Hart was given the task and after a slow start he turned things around, saving the club from relegation.

New owner Sulaiman Al Fahim seemed to bring bad tides to a club that was doing relatively well, and Portsmouth found themselves in monetary troubles yet again. Key players had to be sold and the Premier League placed a transfer embargo on the club. Portsmouth entered administration and a nine point deduction followed, which was made harder to swallow with relegation. An FA Cup final defeat rounded off a season of woes for the south coast club.

Steve Cotterill was handed a three year deal in 2010 with the objective of giving the club some stability and at first it seemed successful ending the 2010-11 season 16th. As with Pompey’s recent history as things started to settle down another managerial change came. After Cotterill’s departure to Nottingham Forest, Michael Appleton took the reins. Administration followed again after the company of then owner Mr Antonov went into administration itself. With ten points deducted, relegation and League One were almost certain, and they were confirmed at the back end of the season.

League One was hardly kind to Portsmouth after losing 24 of their 48 games. And with the administration cloud still looming over the clubs head, it was dark times at Pompey. A second successive relegation was confirmed. This time, to the fourth tier of the English leagues.

Finally Portsmouth exited administration with thanks to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, but still find themselves struggling in the football league’s lowest tier. It’s highly unlikely that Portsmouth will ever be half the team they used to be because of ongoing financial worries, and they still have a long way to go to secure their place in the Football League next season.

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