Why Pompey's record unbeaten run is making some supporters nervous

How can a club record feel underwhelming?

You hear about club records all the time. Although it's usually relating to transfer fees and let's be honest financial comparisons between today and the 1930s are a bit pointless for a host of reasons. I'll spare you my rantings about football's transfer obsession for another day.

Performances in the league though, those can be compared to past years. Portsmouth were elected to the Football League 103 years ago. Until this season they had never gone 16 league games unbeaten. Not when they won back-to-back English titles in 1949 and 50, not under the legendary Jimmy Dickinson and not under Harry Redknapp's dominant promotion side or either of his Premier League outfits.

A fine feather in the cap then for rookie head coach John Mousinho? Well, sort of. The problem is that 10 of the 16 matches have been drawn. If the form over than run was extrapolated over the whole of last season it would have been enough to scrape into the play-offs in sixth place. A top six finish is always the minimum expectation for Pompey in the third tier.

A quick look on social media (always dangerous) would suggest some fans have already hit the panic button over the team's hopes for the season. That is of course extremely premature but this run which does span two seasons has been fairly underwhelming. Too many draws at the end of last season extinguished any hope of the play-offs. Nine points from five games is a decent start to this campaign but it's understandable some would have hoped for more given the fixtures which on paper have been against favourable opposition.

Fratton Park just hasn't been the cliched "fortress" in the past few seasons. In two of the past three years Pompey have failed to win 10 of their 23 home league matches. There are always great moments, memorable midweek wins over promotion chasing Wigan and Bolton stand out but a failure to see off teams lower down the table feels like a pattern.

Portsmouth face a tough September

A new season should be a clean slate and a fresh start but football fans don't quite work like that. They can't and don't forget the struggles of the past, so when Cheltenham arrive at Fratton Park and get a nil-nil draw despite having lost every other game there will always be a tendency to think "here we go again".

Defender Joe Rafferty spoke passionately earlier this season about how the failures of the past can't be blamed on the current squad. They just need to supporters to get behind them. A frustrated home crowd often translates onto the pitch and only helps the visitors. He makes a very valid point but forgetting the past isn't always so easy.

The next month will tell us a lot about this Portsmouth team with fixtures against sides expected to challenge for promotion. Mousinho is correct to point out his team look in a good place defensively. When you've had a number of draws it only takes a couple of wins for everyone to start seeing the positives, even if you have been hurt by years of failure!

You can hear every Pompey match live on BBC Radio Solent with Andy Moon and former Blues striker and manager Guy Whittingham.

Around the BBC - Sounds
Around the BBC - Sounds
  • Listen: Portsmouth owner Michael Eisner chats with Andy Moon ahead of 2023-24 campaign, here

  • Analysis: Why Eisner's walkway ambition may be a bridge too far, here

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