YOU don’t need a drone to see the mess that City are in.

The unwelcome intervention of Fratton Park’s flying invader may have brought a couple of minutes of respite from their pounding on the south coast.

But there is no chance of getting away from the problems that currently engulf the club.

The next manager, whether his brief is just until May or beyond, will have some job on his hands.

Forget drones, it feels like City are stuck in a time machine intent on whisking them back to the dark days of 2010 and 2011.

Were those subsequent years of constant progress, those fantasy occasions against Premier League giants, those special trips to Wembley all one glorious illusion?

Because at the moment, the only way for the Bantams is back to another period of huge uncertainty and fear about what the future may hold.

Flick through the brochure of what the club can offer their next recruit: an owner who will want out on the back of a £2 millon debt, a chief executive only meant to be here for another couple of months, good players who are mostly on loan, fringe ones who are tied in on expensive long contracts, others who have become the target of the understandable frustration and wrath from supporters.

Yep, it’s sure an enticing package for some lucky recipient.

And yet, there has been a lot of interest to fill the void left by David Hopkin. That should be a given because of the size of a club that, still, rank as one of the giants at this level – and would not look out of place in the division above.

But the reality is that City are ticking off trips to the likes of Portsmouth, even Walsall before them, as a farewell tour before disappearing once more into the abyss of League Two football.

No wonder there is so much rancour and recrimination swirling.

It’s why incidents such as Anthony O’Connor discarding the captain’s armband cause meltdown on social media.

It’s why anonymous messages claiming dressing-room discord pop up the night before a game.

People want to hit out at something, anything as their beloved club disappear down the plughole seemingly with a muted acceptance that infuriates those who live and die by what happens at a weekend.

Someone must be brave enough to press the reset button. Once more start City up with a clear vision.

Whether it means a year of restabilising halfway down the fourth tier, as miserable as that sounds, there has to be some kind of structure put in place again.

We thought Hopkin was that man when he talked of long-term vision and redesigned the training base.

But, for whatever reason, he opted not to go through with that rebuild and decided enough was enough.

His absence from the dug-out at Pompey, and the sudden promotion of Martin Drury to caretaker status, changed nothing.

But then, City have never been one of those teams for the “new manager bump”.

Unless you count the first 20 minutes when they did show a bit of grit to dig in against opponents chasing a first league win since New Year’s Day.

That early resistance came to nothing, though, once Portsmouth predictably found City’s soft centre.

The defence could not lay a finger on Ollie Hawkins all afternoon, the beanpole striker controlling the airwaves with more impact than the second-half drone could dream of.

O’Connor, more on him later, and Nathaniel Knight-Percival were bullied to a pulp by the sort of forward target that City would kill for.

The former Dagenham product may not win any style points but he is hugely effective at winning the ball, holding it up and creating space for supporting team-mates.

How Jack Payne and David Ball must have watched with envy as Gareth Evans hoovered up a series of knockdowns in and around the City box.

Hawkins had rattled a post before Evans drew first blood from the penalty spot. It looked a soft call after a wrestle between O’Connor and Matt Clarke from a corner but referee Oliver Langford had just warned both that he was watching the contact closely.

“Naivety” was Drury’s description and that could pretty much sum up the rest of the sorry scoresheet.

Portsmouth’s second, with the sanctuary of half-time in sight, was the weakest.

Richard O’Donnell flapped at another corner, Paul Caddis denied Ronan Curtis on the line but Tom Naylor was left with a simple tap-in.

Caddis did not appear after the break because of an elbow problem so O’Connor, having been publicly stripped of the captaincy, had the armband back.

Well for a couple of minutes at least before tossing it into the City goal because the stitching was coming away.

Video of it from Ifollow looked damning – and the court of public opinion quickly condemned the Irishman before the game was out.

That sparked a lengthy statement delivered from the team bus later as O’Connor pleaded that it was all a big misunderstanding. He also rubbished the pre-match chat that he had been more bothered about a goal bonus – which he does not have in his contract – than the result at Walsall.

But these are the most toxic of times and mud sticks. In this environment, it is too easy to believe any accusation that is thrown about.

Back on the pitch, there was the briefest of City rallies as the drone, at least, did its job of checking Portsmouth’s momentum.

When play resumed, Hope Akpan, back in the team alongside the anonymous Jacob Butterfield, suddenly burst from his slumbers with a long shot to disturb home keeper Craig MacGillivray.

From the corner, Akpan was there again to stab in Kelvin Mellor’s knockdown.

City prepared to throw bodies in forward in search of an improbable equaliser. Instead, Portsmouth, almost offended by their visitors’ cheek, picked them off twice on the counter-attack within five minutes.

Jamal Lowe converted Lee Brown’s cross then Ben Close diverted in a Gareth Evans shot. A large number of the near-500 travelling fans had seen enough at that point and made an early exit to embark on the long haul home.

Many would have been in the same stand 16 months earlier to see a late Matt Kilgallon header seal all three points. A very different City team, a very different City world.

Those quick to the motorway missed one more Portsmouth goal as local lad Close slid in his second to make it five. It didn’t matter a jot in the grand scheme of things.

The size of the sort-out that is needed remains huge.