Draw-specialists Pompey seeking Football League promotion history

Paul Cook can't watch at Mansfield on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook can't watch at Mansfield on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler

Never in Football League history has a Pompey side been promoted automatically with as many draws as the current crop have amassed.

Members for almost 96 years, the Blues had emerged in 1920 from the Southern League.

Since then they have achieved seven automatic promotions, five of which secured post-war.

Yet never has a Pompey side drawn more than 12 matches during a successful promotion campaign.

Presently, Paul Cook’s side have racked up 15 draws with nine matches remaining of their League Two season.

They are positioned in sixth spot, five points off Bristol Rovers sitting in the final automatic promotion position in third.

However, in terms of the top four divisions, only Oldham have drawn more fixtures than the Blues this season.

And it is that frustrating statistic which continues to apply the brakes to Cook’s ambitions of leading Pompey out of the bottom division.

The highest tally arrived during the fourth-place finish under Frank Burrows in 1979-80.

In a 46-game Division Four campaign when the top four teams were promoted, the Blues totalled 12 draws as they went up on goal difference ahead of Bradford City.

Incidentally, that was the same figure champions Huddersfield produced as they finished six points higher.

On three occasions, a promoted Pompey side have collected 11 draws during a season.

The first instance was in 1923-24 during the charge out of Division Three as champions.

That also represented the maiden time a Blues side won promotion in the Football League, with Billy ‘Farmer’ Haines netting 28 goals in 31 appearances.

George Smith was the manager when Pompey were champions of Division Three in 1961-62.

Featuring the likes of Jimmy Dickinson, Ron Saunders, Alex Wilson and Johnny Gordon, they drew 11 of their 46 matches.

However, a tally of 27 victories ensured they instantly bounced back from relegation the previous campaign.

More recently, Pompey were crowned champions of Division One in 2002-03 with 98 points – including 11 draws.

Only three of those arrived at Fratton Park, with a grand total of 29 wins helping them finish six points ahead of Leicester City, who themselves had 14 draws.

Moving on to Bobby Campbell’s promotion side of 1982-83, there were 10 stalemates in a 46-game campaign.

Regardless, they still won the Division Three title by five points over a Cardiff side who had drawn one more.

Alan Ball’s promotion side collected nine draws from 42 fixtures in their Division Two promotion season.

Finally, the Blues side which successfully finished second in 1926-27 amassed eight draws from their 42 matches.

Paul Cook’s side presently have three more draws than any Pompey side promoted automatically in Football League history.

But then there are always the play-offs.