Greetings to all from the Saudi desert, where it's bloody hot right now! Still, not as hot as the transfer activity down on the gentile English south coast, where Pompey seem to be making the most of the final day of the transfer window. It looks like we are getting that Croatian you've been looking for Eski Kanka; Niko Krancjar, son of the current Croatian coach. Add him to the others already signed this summer, Sol Campbell, David James, Glen Johnson, Andy Cole (also today) and Manuel Fernandes from Benfica, and things have never looked so good for us.
For those who don't know, and I suspect that there are a few who don't, Pompey were hours from bankruptcy in our Centenary year 9 years ago. Our regular last game escapes from relegation is the stuff of legend, before and since. However, after promotion to the Premiership in May 03, we haven't looked back.
"Mad" Milan Mandaric started the process by finally injecting some much needed cash into the club, managed to keep us in the Prem for two years, before things started to go wrong again. A fall out with manager 'Arry Redknapp was the catalyst to decent players leaving and some not so decent ones coming in.
And then we got a great Christmas present last year; Sacha Gaydamak, who has a dodgy reputation with failing businesses and an even dodgier father (arms to Angolan rebels is one of the less tasteful stories reported), decided to put his vast wealth into our club, 'Arry was back from Southampton after taking our deadliest rivals down into the Championship and no less than 12 players were brought in during the January transfer window.
It took the best part of two months for things to gel on the pitch, but we stayed up with a game to go, and that really was a great escape. At one point in February, we were 2nd bottom and 8 points from safety. 'Arry has now been forgiven for going to Southampton, the crowd is once again behind him and he seems to be getting some quality players in, as I mentioned already.
After watching us dominate away from home on Monday night against Middlesbrough who, incidentally, beat champions Chelsea in the previous game, most of us Pompey supporters are confident of a top half finish this time around. In fact, and I am having trouble believing this myself, let alone convincing anyone else, we could even be in for a European place this season. At least we would seem to have more chance than Hibernian!!!!
However, the setup at Pompey is still distinctly second-rate; training takes part at the local playing fields most days, we have no state-of-the-art stadium - it's the smallest in the Premiership and, lets face it, Pompey is a dump! It's well known that any foreigner we are interested in is signed well before he actually gets to see any of the facilities and the city, lest they change their mind!
Our next game is at home to Wigan, then we have Fulham and Charlton before we get the really big boys coming to town - Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool etc. You could do worse than keep a watchful eye on Pompey for the rest of this season. It's a shame that we have a break for the International footy this week. England v Andorra then Macedonia doesn't really do it for me!
All the best from Pompey Kanka!