In our latest instalment of the Flashback series, we take a look back at a certain moment and look at how things might have changed those initial reactions.
Following Portsmouth’s 0-0 draw against Gillingham, Kenny Jackett admitted that his side had not been creative enough, as they failed to break down the opposition’s resilient defence, as reported by the club’s official website.
Ben Close and Tom Naylor were the two midfielders, and while the latter put in a solid performance, the pair did not complete a dribble between them and only made 2 key passes combined, despite having a total 19.4% of the game’s overall possession, as per WhoScored.
Considering this, they could perhaps use a midfielder who can make more of a difference in the final third – while it will not be a player of the same quality due to the fact they are now in League One, there will be those at Pompey wishing for someone to come in and have a similar impact to Pedro Mendes’ in 2006.
With Pompey struggling in the Premier League, the Portuguese midfielder was signed in a £7m deal, which also saw Sean Davis and Noe Pamarot move to the South Coast from Tottenham Hotspur, as reported by The Guardian at the time.
He would go on to score some very important goals that campaign, with the first two of those coming in the form of a brace in a 2-1 win against Manchester City, which included an incredible strike that flew into the top corner from outside the box, as shown in the highlights video on the Portsmouth FC YouTube channel.
Mendes then followed that up with another strike from range, helping to earn a 4-2 victory over West Ham United, as reported by BBC Sport.
Speaking to The News Portsmouth, Mendes later recalled the strike against Man City: “When we got that winner, and the time it happened, the hope it suddenly gave to everyone was what you could pick out. There was a relief – but the most important thing was hope.”
Including the two aforementioned wins, Pompey went on to get an incredible 20 points from a possible 27, completing what has since been called The Great Escape.
It can be argued that staying up was his biggest achievement at the club because of how unlikely it seemed, but it should also be kept in mind that he was an integral part of Pompey’s FA Cup final win in 2008.
The challenges for any midfielder moving to Fratton Park will be very different to those faced by Mendes: rather than fighting to stay in the Premier League, they will need to help the club push for promotion from League One, while FA Cup finals seem a world away at the current time.
Nevertheless, with many fans bemoaning the football currently being played, there is definitely an opportunity for a midfielder who can change games to come in and be a heroic figure in blue.
Portsmouth fans, how fondly do you remember Mendes? Join the discussion by commenting below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!