Portsmouth fan gives his views ahead of Elland Road visit TSS December 27, 2010 Away Fans Views 6 Comments With Ryan a little busy over the Christmas period, I’ve jumped in to help out with ‘Interview with an away fan’ and am this week joined by Ben from Pompey Pages for a look ahead to their Elland Road visit. TSS – I think it’s fair to say you’ve seen a similar amount of turbulence to what Leeds United have experienced in recent years. After administration and relegation from the Premier League last season, were you fearing a similar freefall to League One or did you expect to be challenging for a quick return? POMPEY PAGES – Having spent the last seven seasons in the Premier League, and featuring in two FA Cup finals in three years, expectations are high amongst Pompey fans. However, Pompey’s well documented financial situation has not helped anything. A realistic expectation for this season for Pompey was to stay up, as only a couple months ago we were supposedly minutes away from going in to liquidation. It has been deemed possible that a promotion push wouldn’t be far out of our depth’s but many Pompey fans will take it one step at a time. TSS – After a relatively poor start to the season, you seem to have found a little form of late with two wins and a draw from your last three. However, Leeds United are a team unbeaten in the last ten who currently sit third in the Championship so do you fear defeat is inevitable at Elland Road or do you think Pompey may have a surprise in store for the Whites? POMPEY PAGES – Many fans will be traveling to Elland Road with the optimism of a Pompey win, and after having beaten Swansea and Norwich away recently, nothing is impossible. TSS – Your spell in the Premier League reached it’s climax when you won the FA Cup in 2008. Was the resulting financial turmoil, relegation and uncertainty worth the risks you took to compete at the top level? And is it inevitable that clubs will continue to gamble like Portsmouth, and indeed Leeds United did in the pursuit of silverware? POMPEY PAGES – Clubs will continue to gamble their existence, but hopefully what has happened to both Leeds and Pompey will make clubs a bit more wary, and hopefully sort out the issue of The Fit and Proper Person Test which lead us to having so much dodgy owners recently. I heard many people say over the last year “Would you trade the FA Cup win for financial stability to secure the existence of the club”, and I think any die-hard Pompey fan would say yes! TSS – There’s been a lot of changes since your relegation last season. Do you feel the team have properly gelled together yet, and who are the ones to watch? POMPEY PAGES – Steve Cotterill has worked wonders with this team. The backbone of the team from last season are still there, and some of the players who didn’t really shine in the last few seasons are really starting to come out of the shell in the Championship, such as Nugent, Ashdown and Utaka. Liam Lawrence and Greg Halford both provide us with great options from set-pieces and Kitson’s experience upfront has helped Nugent excel and is becoming a great player! TSS – Steve Cotterill had the unenviable task of following Avram Grant as manager of Portsmouth and has a pretty average record so far. How has he settled into life at Pompey – Is he the right man for the job? POMPEY PAGES – Steve Cotterill is without a doubt the right man for us in my eyes. He has taken on a club who were in financial turmoil, couldn’t afford to buy any players, pay wages, and have sold the majority of their squad from the last couple of seasons. Without Cotterill’s hard work and belief, we would be a lot further down the table than we are currently. Although we still love Lord Avram for the FA Cup success and his optimism, Cotterill’s job is completely different. TSS – Leeds United generally seem to be hated by everyone in football – usually without any real reason. How do the Portsmouth fans feel about us? Is the trip to Elland Road one of the seasons highlights, or just one of 46? POMPEY PAGES – To be honest it’s just another Championship fixture. Many Pompey fans love some away fun and banter, but won’t hold a grudge against anyone apart from Southampton, and recently Spurs (for the Redknapp and former players connection). I’m sure many fans will remember the 6-1 thumping back in 2003 I think it was, and expect to be reminded of that on Tuesday, along with some light banter. TSS – The Championship 2010-11, three up, three down? POMPEY PAGES – Bristol City, Scunthorpe United and Preston North End look like the three to be going down in my opinion, but the top 3 and bottom 3 can change so much in the next few months. I think Cardiff and QPR will still be up there, and Leeds will probably follow them up in the play-offs to be fair to them. I’d love to say that we’ll get promoted but we’re having too much fun in the Championship, the only benefit the Premier League will bring is more money. TSS – Finally, what’s your prediction for the game tomorrow? POMPEY PAGES – A draw would be a brilliant result away at Leeds. They are a top side and have some great players to work with. Their position in the league proves they’re a top side and gagging to get back in the top league, so anything better than an away loss would be brilliant we think. Obviously we’re hoping for all 3 points again though. Many thanks to Ben for taking part this week. You can also see a reciprocal interview with me answering the questions here.