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Vital MCFC Interview: Portsmouth

Vital Pompey's very own Pompeyrug gives us the lowdown from Fratton Park before sunday's top five clash...

What made you support Pompey?

Born and raised in Leigh Park - a great place, ask anyone from that area! - but left Pompey at quite a young age. I always followed them from afar but could not afford to actually go and watch them until the mid 90s.

Basically with a whole family from the Pompey area it was inevitable but I have never been as proud to be from, or support Pompey as I am now!

Are you happy with how your season is going so far?

Hell yes - how could I not be, without doubt as apart from the Arsenal game we have basically played well in all the games - and even when we have not we have still got something, apart from the Chelski game when we were robbed!

We can dream and reflect, but had we not missed the penalties against Liverpool and West Ham, as well as gotten the point at least we deserved at Chelski we would have been top, or at least joint top so in a way I am disappointed. Seriously though I am delighted, we are still 5th…

The cynical would say that Sven only went to City because we have money, would you agree - either way how do you think he is doing?

I do not really know, clearly with money he can do more so it is acceptable really is it not?

But I think the fella is as greedy as they come and to be honest I would not trust him - but then again I am judging my opinions on 'what I have been told`… You cannot doubt his obvious ability as a club manager, he is fantastic although I feel that if a bigger job came up he probably would not hang around, but then again I might be one of those cynical people?

Either way, he is doing a top job with City so if he can get some more players in in January who knows - it is going to be an interesting season for a lot of clubs though.

How are things at Pompey under Harry Redknapp?

In a word fantastic! I am always happy to say that he is the reason we are still even in this league as he is the only man that could have saved us in 2005/06.

He has a vision and knows the direction he wants to take so I am happy to sit back and enjoy it, he will make the tough calls we might not want to see, but he knows what he is doing.

Are you happy with his signings?

It is hard not to be really, he had picked up some top players, even though he has had to pay the price, but this does not appear to be over the top for any to be honest. Sulley Muntari has been top class, John Utaka fades in and out but on his day is unplayable, I feel sorry for Dave Nugent as I think he is going to be a top class footballer, so if he will be patient and wait for a chance it could still be here - but I have my doubts to be honest.

Glen Johnson and Papa Bouba Diop rose more than a few eyebrows when they re-arrived/arrived but they have been terrific, the cream of the crop though is probably a City old boy, Sylvain Distin - what a defender this fella is!

Who should the City fans watch out for in the Pompey team?

I have said this in answers to others, but the whole team are playing with confidence so it is tough to single anyone out.

I really like Niko Kranjcar though and this fella has been immense the past few weeks, his skill, vision and work rate is phenomenal such a contrast to the player we saw 12 months ago. He is destined for stardom no two ways about it and will probably take the mantle as one of, if not the finest Croatian player of all time I reckon…

How do you feel Pompey will do this season?

I can only see us building on the start to this season and what we did last season.

A lot has been made about how we will cope when the African Nations comes round, which will be important - but if we can get through this period okay, which I feel we can as we have a squad of players for this and will buy others in January - then my prediction of anywhere between 4th and 7th is possible and will be one I stick by.

How do you feel City will do this season?

To be honest mate you lot are far exceeding what I expected already, I thought you would have a good season but I did not expect you to have seen so many new signings click so quickly.

The battle for places between 4th - as I am convinced 1 of the usually top 4 will drop out, my tip Liverpool - and maybe as low as 10th or 12th is going to be brilliant, so as long as you finish below us I will be happy, so long as we do finish in my predicted area!

If you had to pick one of the current City players to be in your squad who would it be and why?

I liked Geovanni when we had him on trial, thought he was a different class until you pinched him - but then again that was only against Yeovil… Although he does have a proven pedigree but I have not lost too much sleep over missing out to be honest.

I do not really like saying this, as it can appear big headed or defamatory to an opponent but I would not really take too many of your squad over ours to be honest, as first team players anyway. Although Micah Richards is a different class but Sol and Distin are great in the middle of defence - and we have Linvoy Primus too, fantastic defender still one of the best I have seen to be honest - and I am really warming to Johnson at right back, speaking of Johnson I do like that Michael Johnson you have in midfield and Elano looks a classy player.

So picking one, I would like to say Richards but he would not get in ahead of others, so would pick out Michael Johnson I think, the fella has a big future.

Prediction for Pompey v City?

I love playing City, as I have some great memories against you - Pedro Mendes and his goals being the best. I also have some bad memories, mainly of the pair of animals that are Ben Thatcher and Joey Barton! They have damaged Mendes, who has not been the same since they got him - I am glad you have got rid of those thugs.

Anyway, back to the point… had this been at your place instead of at Fortress Fratton I would have settled for a point, even if I might have thought we could get more. We are flying, really flying although our last two showings at the Fortress have not been good and have seen us draw and lose - in the league cup - but I reckon we will get back to our best this Sunday and win 3-1.

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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday November 9 2007

Time: 1:23PM

Your Comments

Vedran Corluka vs Niko Kranjcar ---- what game this will be
Easily the pick of the fixtures this weekend, andycroat28!
Johnny Baguette
nice interview, interestin read! portsmouth are doin well at the mo, but then hey you guys know alot about that!
sky have a bonus with this one ..... shame they aren't plugging it like they would if two of the 'big' four were in the same positions
Smokie...You over here spamming aswell?? Feckin hell mate...:))
Blue is the colour
two high flying sides, 1 stadium, 3 points between them. i havnt read that much about man city - but from what i have read about the pre match game between us, pompey are being touted as the leagues surprise package, not city (matt le tissier, sky sports). that slightly baffled me, as we are only 1 point better than we were last season, and 1 point better than pompey fans themselves predicted. other than that, i cant wait - but im going for a tight city win.
The brain say a draw, 1-1. The heart wants a home win.
great point ronin... it should be a crackin' game i reckon, but a game i reckon we will win 3-1.
Nice return interview bread man!
A pleasure, greyhound! The legend that is Stuart Hall taught me everything I know on "Sports Report!!"
Johnny Baguette
Aaaah Mr Hall. Alderley Edge, neatly trimmed lawn, missing a carriage clock collection. Marvellous.
Then of course, there was "It's a Knockout!!" Have it!!
Johnny Baguette
Then there was the ill-inconceived Stuart Hall International Travel business, remember that? A manc legend
Craig Cain
Ronin - Do we have you back at HM's pleasure again?
Craig Cain
We do indeed .... like City I'm back
Win or lose, get this in your earphones......come on! Nagging drum and bass lines coming at you on a tripping seventies flute edge. I'm on to Paul Tyrell for this one getting aired at half time v Reading... Shabba!
Johnny Baguette
ffs johnny, get a grip - think you've been in existentialist company too long.
Craig Cain
LOL! Meanwhile, check out Mackems v Barcodes. Zico Barton is taking the freekicks!
Johnny Baguette
I hope all that recent Michael Owen to City speculation remains just that. He was brutal today for Newcastle and looks to have shot his striking bolt. As for Barton, there is nothing at all that he would add to our side on today's evidence. He's arriving late in the tackle and losing it. 5.8 million and he's done nothing for them.
Johnny Baguette
But good business for us JB at that price.
Buzz Lightyear
Yep Buzz, even in the Prem a 5.8 mill outlay demands some sort of immediate results! Right now the result is in MCFC's favour. That bloke will never play for England again.
Johnny Baguette
You lot can't moan about a lack of roof fro the 5th year running this time, you've got one!
That's handy. Understand there's a sizeable support on the way down from Mcr. Should be a cracking atmosphere. Bring it on!!
Johnny Baguette
Still a *****hole ..... albeit an atmospheric one (if you like bells and drums)
I've had some uncomfortable times on the south coast following City. However, the best one was for Stefan Karl's whammer v Southampton. How we celebrated!
Johnny Baguette
It might be a *****hole Ronin.. but it's our *****hole ;) Hoping for a good game and a home win (sorry fellas) and hopefully no forearm smashes !! -
the 2 animals thatcher and barton have gone, so we should have a good clean game - i see barton was up to his old tricks against sunderland yesterday for the barcodes wasnt he! what the hell is that fellas problem? the roof on the away end now gives the away support a big helping hand - not that some need it of course - but even united sounded vocal when they came to the fortress, need i say anymore...
Indeed pompeyrug! Barton's latest behaviour means he's heading for another ban!!
Johnny Baguette
Cannot believe he got away with it, what are the FA playing at?!!!
will it ever happen
Christ knows. The fact that he has the gall to issue a *****poor excuse is pretty stunning. Any other rival manager without the track record for ending another player's career in a premediated attack like Roy Keane has would be up in arms.
Johnny Baguette
Was an enjoyable game for a 0-0, Hart had a cracking game in goal for you guys.

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