Vital Football

Sunday Toast Season 3 # 9 - More bad press

Sunday Toast Season 3 # 9 - More bad press

No game to reflect on today which will please most of you and of course we now start to look ahead to next Saturday`s game at Fratton Park with Tottenham Hotspur and of course their manager.

Vital Pompey member pompeymadb has spotted a special song to mark the occasion and I hope you will spend the week practicing he words in preparation for the game.

To the tune of H-A-P-P-Y it goes

Tottenham 'til he leaves
He's Tottenham 'til he leaves
It won't be long,
He's almost gone
He's Tottenham 'til he leaves

Nice stuff mad and thanks to our friends at Fratton Faithful. I am certain that will be ringing around the Park next weekend.

Farewell Dr SAF

As you all know Dr SAF sold 90% of his stake in Pompey to Ali Al-Faraj (AAF) last week in a deal dreamt up behind locked doors in Central Southsea. So after just forty two days he relinquished power and passed the Chairman`s shirt to the Saudi.

Following this good news for Pompey fans the press once again is trying to drag the club's name into the mud and this after a weekend when the club made every effort to do the opposite. The win at Molineux followed by the takeover should have been the end of the dirt being thrown but alas it was not.

The players had not still been paid was the first attempt by Fleet Street but Jamie O'Hara told the Express - 'And not being paid brings us together even more - but at the end of the day, for footballers who earn good money, losing out on a week is not the worst thing that can happen.' Toast's research discovered that it was only those who could afford it that were not paid on time. The training ground, admin staff etc. were all paid on 30th September.

Next they try telling the nation Dr SAF is a joke. Cue the Telegraph 'On a less encouraging note, it is feared the Al-Faraj takeover could spell the end of Sulaiman Al-Fahim's involvement in English football. This is Bad News, especially for those of us who make a living by pointing and laughing at stupid people.'

Well Dr SAF has not covered himself in glory over those six weeks but he TRIED. He put his own money (£5 million he says) into the club in August to help the ailing finances and pay urgent bills. He is an experienced business man who had carried out an extensive Due Diligence of the club only to discover a tangled web of loans, contracts, land deals, debts etc. His staff battled their way through mountains of paperwork at a great cost of course to their boss. This work meant that any further investor in the club would have a much clearer picture as to what they were getting into.

Yes of course Dr SAF was naïve asking for the transfer deadline to be extended and some would say naïve for the use of his Doctor title but he had the best interests of the club at heart. He simply did not have the correct advice given him at the crucial times. The Potless Doc he has been tagged by the press - certainly not!! He is a very wealthy man but his assets are far from liquid and that is why he had to raise loans against them to proceed with his investment.

As a member of the Toast team put it recently you cannot buy players with an office block in Qatar, clubs would prefer cash! It will be interesting to see whether any of his £50 million will be utilised by AAF.

And of course finally it is AAF that the press try next. Now here is a man who has already passed the Premier League's stringent 'Fit and Proper Person test' but that will not stop the mud slingers. They find the chairman of the Saudi Professional League Commission, Dr Hafez Almedlej who says 'we have never heard of him'. Course they have not heard of him, he has never owned a football club before. Then they tell the gullible reader that the PL will investigate the takeover - course they will they do in all club sales.

Game of two halves

I was going to title this section 'The comebacks' but decided they were hardly that more a case of transformations. If I was to do with comebacks I would have to tell the story of the 1966 game with Norwich City when a 3-0 deficit was turned into 3-3 draw.

After fifty years of watching the Blues I have seen all types of games big wins, more than a few thrashings and too many bore draws but today I remember two games that changed dramatically at half time. Football is a game of two halves and these certainly prove that. In both games Pompey went in at half time 1-0 down and by strange coincidence with the goals coming in the 21st minute!! In the two turnarounds no Pompey player scored more than one goal either!!

The first game was back on 11th January 1975. Pompey were playing in their white strip with blue stripes ala the new away kit so elegantly modelled by Dr SAF. The visitors were high flying Sunderland just eighteen months after winning the FA Cup but still stuck in the Second Division. The Black Cats stormed the first half and the fact that they only lead by Pop Robson`s 21st minute goal was an absolute travesty.

Whatever manager Ian St John said at half time however turned the game on its head. With Brian Lewis and George Graham grabbing control of midfield it is became one way traffic towards the Fratton End. Ray Hiron equalised on 50 minutes with his first of the season and then Paul Went, Norman Piper and Graham put Pompey 4-1 up before Vic Halom grabbed a late consolation for the visitors. On a very wet afternoon the 14,133 who were there will never forget it and the Piper goal was worth the price of your season ticket let alone the admission fee.

Sunderland, who before the game had not conceded a goal for over a month, miss out on promotion because of that defeat and Pompey finish as usual in 17th.

Nine years later on 31st March 1984 it was local derby day as Brighton came to town. The weather again was miserable with wind and rain from the start. The first half was dominated by the visitors and Danny Wilson put the Seagulls in front after, you guessed it, 21 minutes. Pompey had lost their last four home games and things looked bleak.

The second half was no better until out of nowhere Neil Webb scored with an angled drive and suddenly the floodgates open, within thirteen minutes Bobby Doyle, Mark Hateley, Alan Biley and Kevin Dillon were all on the scoresheet and poor Brighton keeper Joe Corrigan had a nightmare. Those five in thirteen was not a record as Pompey had netted five in eleven minutes in a 6-3 win at Leyton Orient back in October 1963.

That was to be Bobby Campbell's last win as Pompey manager. Seven games without a win and he was sacked on the coach back from Derby. He was famously replaced by Alan Ball who started with a 5-0 thrashing of Swansea. That season Pompey finish 16th real strides in nine years but of course the story of those nine years is another story.

There you are two more of my favourite games and with no TV coverage lost forever except in the memory.

National Football Museum

Last week we mentioned that the Museum which is currently situated outside Deepdale home of Preston North End would be moving to Manchester. This appeared to be fine with some people as the existing facility only attracts 100,000 visitors a year and moving to Manchester would possibly triple the figure.

However Toast would ask the question - should a national museum be in the middle of a city centre or the home of one of the founder members of the Football League and first winner of the double?

Preston legend Sir Tom Finney plans to remove his collection of caps, shirts, medals etc from the museum if it relocates to Manchester.

Come in #32

Just a quick note to all readers who have gone out a bought a Notts County shirt with 32 Sol Campbell on the back you have until Friday to exchange it. Chairman Peter Trembling has offered the deal to disgruntled fans after Sol skipped out of the Meadow after just one game.

Jamie lays hoodoo

We were glad to see that Jamie Ashdown laid his St Andrew`s hoodoo last Monday when the reserves went to Birmingham and won 3-2 and Jamie put on a wonder show.

The last time Ashdown played there Pompey were pulverised 5-0 and all fans could hear the relegation bell ringing loudly. Jamie was made the scapegoat and did not feature in the first team for over two years.

And finally


11th October

Jeff Peron is 44

12th October

Luke Nightingale is 29 - still scoring goals for Havant his father tells me.
Kevin Bartlett is 47
Jimmy McCaffrey is 58
Paul Went is 60
Allan Brown is 83

13th October

Markus Heikkinen is 31
Carl Robinson is 33
Richard Money is 54

15th October

Glen Little is 34 - doing well now at Sheffield United.
Andy Cole is 38
Steve Wigley is 48

16th October

David Unsworth is 36 - recently joined the training staff at Preston
John Beale is 79

17th October

Rory Allen is 32
Cliff Portwood is 72 - back living in England after years in Australia and South Africa and I believe the States. Regularly gets to home games and more often than not the Sports Bar.


Apologies from Chix who has been out of circulation recently due to circumstances beyond my control. I doubt we will get his comments today but he assures me will be in the Milton next Saturday before the game if you want to buy him a pint.

I also note that Theofanis Gekas scored a hat-trick for Greece last night


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Date:Sunday October 11 2009
Time: 5:00AM

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You would think that pompey fans would be welcoming harry back to Fratton Park as a hero come next saturday. However you make yourselves look stupid by booing the man who not only publicly states he loves your club but brought you up from division 1 and kept you in a very tough league and also won you the FA cup. Your a small club who has been punching above their weight for years, Harry left for a huge club, his biggest and final challenge. He left because he knew this was his last chance to manage a big club. have some decency and give the man the respect he deserves.
11/10/2009 10:17:00
No one here begrudges floppychops leaving. Its the way he left that sticks in most people's craw, and this will be our chance to let him know. Respect is a commodity that has to be earned and decency is reciprocal. Now push off dinho.
11/10/2009 10:38:00
That's exactly what we are doing - giving him the respect he deserves. You're talking about the respect he earnt - a very different thing. The name Sol Campbell comes to mind. PUP.
11/10/2009 10:45:00
Dear oh dear, I got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning..... Of course, you are right Toast, Saffy did his best for us but totally misread the situation. We will never know the full story, but hats off to him, he did try and he does not deserve to be pilloried. But perhap had he kept a lower profile, it would have been better for him. As for digging the dirt on our new owner, no chance of that - no one knows him, so thank the lord (or is it Allah) for that! I note that Gekas scored three for Greece last night..... Excellent Toast as always (I'm still on that horrid diet tho).
11/10/2009 10:51:00
The way he left? He had 2 choices carry on doing a great job at pompey and retire, Or manage a big club in the city who have European aspirations. If he didnt take the spurs job he would be forever regretting the fact that he never got his chance to pit his wits against the big boys. 'NorfolknBlue' Sol Campbell left spurs for free, we received no transfer fee, and the man weeks before publicly stated he would not be leaving Tottenham only to leave for our arch rivals, you couldn't be further away with your comparison. This isnt a dig at Pompey, i want you to do well and i want you to stay up. I just thought it seemed wrong that you would chant the above to a man who spent the majority of the month looking for a buyer for you and come January will be deciding if Jamie O'hara will see out the season on the south coast which i think would be a huge bonus for your club.
11/10/2009 11:03:00
I forgot about Little. Good player, just didn't work out for us. Thanks Dave. I managed to see a bit of the Greece game and must say that even Samaras looked good against Latvia. All the best to Gekas, though, I'm not so sure it would be recipricated!
11/10/2009 11:05:00
I think you forget, hawkerdinho, that this will be Harry's first return to the club since leaving. I think it's fair that the fans are allowed to have their say and air their feelings. It's a bit like a divorce - there is a lot of acrimonious shouting at first but, as the years go by, there is always a shared bond that sometimes can be stronger than the marriage itself. The homophobic chanting against Sol is nothing to be proud of.
11/10/2009 11:16:00
Does well for the club, says one thing then does something completely different. Sol Campbell/HR - what's the difference. If you believe he spent the month looking for buyers then you're more deluded than we thought.
11/10/2009 11:17:00
Dino - You seem to forget that harry left us twice - and the first time he went, he left for our arch rivals. he second time he left was three weeks after pledging Pomoey was his spiritual home and he would retire here. So yes, I'd say that was more than a comparison for the Campbell situation. As for leaving Pompey to go to a "big club with European aspirations". Why would he want to do that? He was managing a team that already WAS in Europe - and he was making a right bloody mess of it as well! You obviously don't know much about the situation here and I am sure that you are well meaning, but all this really is quite pointless.
11/10/2009 11:20:00
Good read Dave, Your memories of past games is remarkable.
11/10/2009 11:22:00
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