Sulaiman al-Fahim was caught up in traffic but arrived at Fratton Park just in time to witness Fulham's fortuitous winner and see for himself the work required at Portsmouth who began the season with a 1-0 defeat.
Al-Fahim, who is fronting a potential takeover of Pompey, took his seat and saw Bobby Zamora break the deadlock with a fluke - before Roy Hodgson's men held on to start their Barclays Premier League campaign with maximum points.
The goal summed up the uncertainty at Pompey. Clint Dempsey set his sights on goal from 25 yards, and his effort struck Zamora on the back before spinning past David James and creeping in. It could have got worse for Pompey when Danny Murphy's free-kick found Zamora at the far post, James tipping the header over the bar.
James had missed England's midweek friendly in Holland but recovered sufficiently from shoulder surgery to start against Fulham.
Debutant Frederic Piquionne forced Mark Schwarzer into a low save, before Niko Kranjcar lifted a free-kick over the bar from a dangerous position.
Nadir Belhadj should have levelled when Kranjcar's corner found him unmarked, but the left-back totally missed his header.
Pompey fashioned a chance to equalise early in the second half after work from Piquionne down the right flank. The ball was pulled back to Hayden Mullins, who picked out Younes Kaboul on the edge of the penalty area, but his finish was lifted over the bar.
Kranjcar had an attempt on the hour, but his drive was too high - and he was also inches away from a Belhadj cross.
But Pompey were always one step from self destruction, which was the case when Marc Wilson missed a simple clearance from Zamora's cross. Fortunately for the young centre-back, Andrew Johnson planted his finish wide when he had plenty of time.
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