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.
Jeff Peron is 44
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
Markus Heikkinen is 31
Carl Robinson is 33
Richard Money is 54
Glen Little is 34 - doing well now at Sheffield United.
Andy Cole is 38
Steve Wigley is 48
David Unsworth is 36 - recently joined the training staff at Preston
John Beale is 79
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