Toast Season 2 #12 - Albie
Lots of birthdays this week and one famous anniversary but let`s start by cheering one very recent old boy.
It will warm the hearts of all fans to see that Svetoslav Todorov has made it back into the Charlton side after another serious injury and yesterday was on the score sheet for the first time. There is no doubt Toddy has a great heart to overcome all these set backs and I know all Pompey fans will join with me in wishing him all the luck in the world and no further injuries.
26th October Don Colombo 80 - was with Pompey between 1952 and 54 but never made a first team appearance. Moved from Pompey to Walsall. Best remembered for the TV series that ran to 69 episodes!! (Thanks Chix)
27th October - Roger Davidson 60 - played the three games Ray Pointer was missing from in 69/70 season. Former Arsenal youngster - how many of them came our way by that route in that period? Moved on to Fulham where he played just one game and then six at Lincoln before joining Aldershot on loan and then he disappeared off the radar.
Adrian Whitbread 37 - Research has shown that Adey is currently assistant coach of the Peurto Rican national team. Epping boy Adrian started life down the Brisbane Road at Leyton Orient and after a spell at Swindon returned to the East End with West Ham. The transfer from Swindon was a well known affair because it involved the sale of Joey Beauchamp to Swindon after he could not settle with the Hammers. He never played for them because of the traffic commuting from Oxford and moved on to Swindon in a deal that cost West Ham £400,000.
He joined Pompey from the Londoners in 1995 initially on loan and went on to play 150 times for the Blues. Adrian was a reliable defender at what was a difficult time for the club in the late 90`s and was loved by most but certainly not all fans. Left eventually for Luton is a deal which Pompey helped to finance.
Adrian`s final Pompey goal was at Fratton Park in March 2000 in a 4-1 win over Swindon. Who scored a hat-trick that day?
28th October Stuart Doling 36 - Midfield product of youth scheme who played 37 games scoring four times in the early nineties.
Dejan Stefanovic 34 - Dejan who now plays for Norwich was signed by Harry Redknapp as Pompey prepared to start life in the Premier League. Dejan went on to become club captain and was instrumental in the return of Harry to the club. Played 112 games and scored just three goals.
29th October - Alex Wilson 75 - Scottish International full back who played 352 games in a sixteen year career that started in 1951. He was comfortable on either flank but made his debut in October1951 at the age of eighteen replacing the injured Jimmy Dickinson - Pompey lost 5-0 at West Brom and Alex was not seen in the first team again for another twelve months. Alex managed only four goals in that time but like Deon Burton last week one saved Pompey from relegation.
Coincidentally it came in Jimmy Dick`s last ever Pompey game at Northampton in 1965. The Cobblers were already promoted and had an excellent home record and Pompey had their work cut out to gain the point they needed to beat the drop. For some reason the game kicked off at 7.30 on Saturday evening and all the other fixtures had been completed. A Johnny Gordon own goal gave the home team the advantage but Alex struck with time running out to start mass celebrations from both sets of fans. Strange that fifteen years later we would again be celebrating at the County Ground - we had nothing to celebrate between the two!!
Alex was awarded a testimonial which he shared with Johnny Gordon. Arsenal were the guests at Fratton Park in November 1967.
John McLaughlin 54 - Full back signed from Swindon along with Steve Aizlewood in the summer of 1979. Made his debut in the league cup and was part of the side that gained promotion that season. Stayed for five years in all playing 172 games and netting just once on his league debut at Hartlepool.
Andy Stewart 52 - Another youth product who played just nineteen games with three goals in 1974 and 1975.
Leigh Barnard 50 - Blond midfield product of Youth team played 79 games and scored eight goals in the bad old days of the late 70s and early 80s. Played a key role in today`s anniversary game.
30th October Nicky Morgan 50 - product of the West Ham academy who signed as a striker and was converted by accident into a full back.
Colin Clarke 46 - was the top scoring Northern Ireland International until Healy took his record and is now stretching it. If you were at the Dell on 3rd January 1988 you will remember the number of chances Colin missed for the home side to allow Pompey to record their famous victory. Clarke managed eighteen goals in 85 games for Pompey before injury forced his retirement in 1993.
Guy Butters 39 - Guy has had a career that seems to have lasted forever!! Came from Spurs in 1990 and played over 150 games in his six year stay. In total achieved over 600 professional games before leaving Brighton in May and is now with Havant and Waterlooville.
Mark Summerbell 32 - midfielder played the last five games of the 2001/02 on loan from Middlesbrough. He became the fortieth player to appear that season for Pompey, a staggering total!
31st October - Maitland (Matt) Pollock 55 - Matt a diminutive Scottish winger played up front with Dave Kemp in the 1976 to 1978 era. Matt managed ten goals in 54 games but is best remembered for his missing of sitters and other gaffs. He ran and ran throughout games but had the unfortunate habit of getting in the way of others. I remember him fondly for his effort, others would put him their worst eleven,
1st November - Albert McCann 67 - mention the name 'Albie` to any Pompey fan over 45 and they will immediately know who you are talking about. Albert was the owner of one great trick, the stepover, which with his bandy legs made him instantly recognisable on the pitch.
Albie came from Coventry City for £8,000 in 1962 and made his debut in a game we talked about last week. Derby visited Fratton Park 1 September and Albie was in the starting line up alongside Pat Neal in a game won by a Ron Saunders goal. That was of course Pat`s final league game for Pompey but McCann was to play another 337 scoring a creditable 85 goals including a hat trick at Bristol City in 1966. That was a good return for a player who would probably be called a utility player these days.
Albert was rewarded for his loyalty with testimonial against West Ham in May 1973 and with the signing of Peter Marinello, Ron Davies and Phil Roberts in the days leading up to the game interest was high and over 20,000 flocked to Fratton Park to see Pompey win 4-1 with a Davies hat trick and one from Albie. That was a huge crowd when you consider that home league games since the New Year had only averaged 8,600. Albert played seven more games the next season before trying his luck in South Africa.
When I was young I used to deliver papers to quite a few Pompey players who lived in the Bedhampton area include Albie, when he retired he became a newsagent in Winter Road we had our papers delivered from his shop. One day the shop was short of staff and when there was a knock at my door, there was Albie delivering MY newspaper - strange but true.
Paul Wood 44 - Paul is another of those players who came back after leaving. He scored ten goals in 80 games wrapped around spells at Brighton, Sheffield United and Bournemouth,
Paolo Vernazza 29 - played seven games on loan from Arsenal; is now playing in the Blue Square Premier League with John Hollins` Weymouth.
As we prepare for what is now our annual trip to Anfield let us cast our minds back twenty eight years to what for a lot of Pompey fans was their first ever trip to the famous stadium. The 1980 League Cup draw sent Pompey fresh out of Division Four to the home of the European Champions in a round four clash. As soon as Pompey had disposed of Bristol Rovers in a third round replay the demand for tickets was huge.
Liverpool could not believe Pompey when they kept returning for more tickets but they just kept selling until the absolute limit of 13,000 was reached. Even then fans managed to get tickets from Liverpool and when the home team came out they were booed all around the ground. In the next night`s Liverpool Echo the Red`s stars claimed they had never played in such a hostile atmosphere at HOME!!
It was a night to remember as Pompey`s collection of ageing stars, youth products and nearly men played with great heart and almost pulled off an upset. Liverpool took the lead after 22 minutes but a quarter of an hour later Pompey were level when Alan Kennedy put through his own goal under pressure from Derek Showers. Unfortunately a Keith Viney error let in Kenny Dalglish to restore the home team`s advantage who led 2-1 at half time.
The fans who I estimate numbered 16,000 would not give up and they roared their team to a great second half performance. Anyone there will always remember Alan Rogers running at Liverpool and England right back Phil Neal time and again to put in dangerous crosses but somehow the Reds survived and two very late goals, the first yards offside, show the game finish in 4-1 home win - an absolute travesty. It was a great night to be a Pompey fan after years in the doldrums we had shown the football world that the so called sleeping giant was alive and well and living on the south coast.
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See you all next week.