A player exodus and a brand new ten-point deduction heighten the gloom
Rangers fans are entitled to feel a little sorry for themselves at present, but a peek at Portsmouth’s ceaseless shambles is enough to establish that things could be – or indeed will get – a lot worse.
Whereas the Gers have spent six months or so in the mire, Portsmouth have clocked up over three years of unrelenting decline, and while Rangers got to toast 54 Scottish titles before the hardship set in, all Pompey enjoyed was an FA Cup triumph.
The latest chapter in the sinking south-coast side’s series of struggles was a swift one, confirmation that one of their few remaining players, South African defender Aaron Mokoena, had left shortly being followed by news of another ten-point deduction.
While it represents a welcome surprise for the likes of Walsall (11/8), Yeovil (7/4), Oldham (9/4) and Bury and Leyton Orient (5/2), who are judged the most vulnerable to relegation from League One next season, it is another brutal blow to fans.
Though none were likely as optimistic as to expect a promotion challenge, they might at least have hoped for a little stability and an end to what must feel like an eternal period fighting solely for survival.
The player count according to their site now reads ten, with manager Michael Appleton ominously warning that more must leave before the next rebuild can commence.
The senior “squad” that remains could scarcely be more imbalanced, with no goalkeepers, three defenders, two midfielders and five strikers. Of those, Nwankwo Kanu has all but gone, Luke Varney is linked with Leeds and David Norris with Sheffield Wednesday.
Naturally, reasons to be cheerful are in even shorter supply than players, yet there is a miniscule one: only once in their history have Portsmouth been relegated in their first season in a new division.