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Portsmouth: Remember John Utaka? Here’s what he’s up to nowawdays



John Utaka is one of the names that will be forever remembered at Fratton Park for his role in their FA Cup success and then subsequent fall out of the Premier League due to off-field issues.

Portsmouth signed Utaka in the summer of 2007 from French side Rennes as Harry Redknapp aimed to build a side capable of challenging towards the top end of the Premier League table.

It did not take the forward long to make an impact with him scoring on the opening day of his first season with the club in a draw at Derby County.

Utaka continued to be a reliable performer for Redknapp’s side throughout the campaign in a side that had a wealth of attacking options with the likes of Jermaine Defoe and Nwankwo Kanu providing a real threat in the final third for Pompey. The forward finished the season with five league goals in 36 appearances.

The forward also started in the FA Cup final win against Cardiff City and he played a key role in helping Pompey secure the FA Cup triumph with his performance on the day at Wembley.

The following season, Utaka found it more difficult to have a major impact for Portsmouth in the Premier League as the club dropped down into the bottom half of the table and saw Redknapp leave the club for Tottenham Hotspur.

In the 2009–10 season Portsmouth were relegated from the Premier League as their financial issues came to the surface. Utaka managed to make ten starts in the league and a further eight appearances off the bench in which time he scored just one goal in a difficult campaign. He did help Pompey reach another FA Cup final though.

Quiz: Have each of these 24 ex-Portsmouth academy players ever played in the Premier League?

1 of 24

1) Jason Pearce

In the first half of the following season, Utaka managed to score three goals in 28 appearances across all competitions as he helped Pompey try and consolidate themselves in the Championship. However, in the January transfer window he was allowed to leave to ease the financial burden on the club as he joined French side Montpellier.

Utaka’s time with Montpellier will forever be remembered for his role in helping them claim their first ever first division title during the 2011–12 season. During that campaign he managed to score a crucial double in a win against Auxerre that helped them wrap up the title.

The forward left Montpellier in the summer of 2013 and signed for Turkish side Sivasspor where he managed to make 47 appearances and scored 12 goals in his two-year spell. Unsuccessful moves to the likes of Ismaily, Nogoom El Mostakbal, Aswan and Sedan followed before he retied from the game.

Utaka is currently back with Montpellier in France where he works as a youth coach trying to bring through the next promising set of young players for the French club. While he has also helped to set up the John Utaka Football Academy minna.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Portsmouth: Remember John Utaka? Here’s what he’s up to nowawdays

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