Sunday Toast Season 3 # 13 - down with a bump
It all began so well at Ewood yesterday but ended so disappointingly. The bright start in the first half was undone by poor defending at three set pieces. Paul Hart said afterwards they have spent a lot of time working on defending dead ball situations but you would not have known that from watching the game.
Well no game for two weeks now as there is an international break for the World Cup qualifying playoffs. A number of players will be away including the recalled Aruna Dindane who will join the Ivory Coast if fit enough.
The lion is back
The roar of the lion that is. Last Saturday the atmosphere returned to Fratton Park after too long an absence. Some give total credit to the snare drums allowed in after a plea from fans, others say they could not hear the drums but the group on the Milton End should take the credit.
Fans were told at the meeting that they would have to stay seated if they wanted their percussion back. But although they agreed to that they stood throughout. The stewards took no action but with the Safety Advisory Group meeting soon the club risk having the capacity of that area drastically reduced as they are aware of the blocking of emergency exits.
The Toast team are all in favour of the return of standing areas to all grounds but rules are rules and cannot be flaunted, the risk of losing several hundred seats on the Fratton End should be enough to ensure they are followed. The decision will be taken out of the club's hands and failure to carry out the SAG decisions will mean no Safety Certificate and hence no games!!
The pies have it
Thousands of Pompey fans (ok hundreds then) descended on Ewood Park yesterday when they heard that home club Blackburn Rovers had offered free pies to all those who had a pint at the concourse bars before the game. Not sure what the pies where like but we have no doubt many fans were looking for someone to drink the alcohol while they tucked into their complimentary steak and kidneys!!
What's in a name?
This week it appears that clubs are desperate to sell the names of their stadiums to the highest bidder. Newcastle have done a deal to name their ground sportsdirect.com@StJames'Park until the end of the season and the Toon are up in arms. Chelsea are reported to looking for a sponsor (£100m) for their ground too and I expect the new name to be Battle of Stamford Bridge 1066!! (History lessons given on request)
But Toasters are the Newcastle fans are they right? Clubs need to bring in cash and is the name of the stadium really important. Would we mind if Pompey played at the the XYZ Stadium after all we would still call in Fratton Park. The various stands have sponsors names but they are still the Fratton and Milton Ends aren`t they?
Good to see Pompey wear a poppy embroidered on their shirts yesterday, just a pity that a few bigger clubs especially those in red failed to follow suit. With lives being lost by our troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world it the very least that clubs can do. In my opinion there is absolutely to excuse.
We were shocked to hear of the redundancies at the club the other week. Paul Hardyman had served the club in many guises on and off for nearly thirty years and of course was a local lad and an England Under 21 International. The treatment of Mark Chamberlain was also far from commendable with him being marched from the ground with security staff in attendance.
I also feel sorry for my friend John Millington who had given up a job with the Sussex FA to join the Pompey Academy as Education Director. That job was far from easy especially with the number of non English speaking youngsters joining the club.
Toast wishes all those involved the very best of luck for the future.
The reason for it all is not known but I believe it is either Paul Hart wanting to show who is boss or the new owners slimmimg the number of staff drastically to cut costs. The main Pompey office this week was described as like the Marie Celeste with empty desks everywhere.
Read this week that Tomasz Kuszczak the Man United keeper has said that Edwin Van Der Sar has constantly shunned his requests for help and advice. So much for the so called keepers union then. We are reminded that back in the nineties Brad Friedel received similar treatment when he first joined Liverpool. The culprit was none other than David James.
Good to here that ex Pompey star Richard Money is back in business. Money resigned as Walsall boss in the spring of 2008 and had been working in the Newcastle academy for the lat year or so. Last week he agreed to take the managerial reins at one of his former clubs Luton Town. The Hatters are of course now in the Conference so good luck to Dickie Dosh in his bid to reclaim league status.
He suffered first game heartbreak though when his side squandered a three goal advantage over Rochdale but at least they have a replay at Spotland to look forward too.
Last week in the Rutland (ok outside) a group of us were talking and Rug and UKTony were laying bets with each other over the score. The outcome was Rug offering Tony 100/1 on the score being the same as on the Tuesday's game with Stoke i.e. 4-0. Tony agreed to have £2 on it.
Well when Aruna Dindane completed his hat-trick I immediately thought that poor old Rug would have his head in his hands praying for another goal - at either end, while the rest of us were celebrating. The latest news is that money has not changed hands but perhaps Tony is wishing he used a more reputable bookmaker!!
Quite a few this including one who was introduced as our record signing at €3.5m but it turned out he was only on loan.
Diomansy Kamara is 29 Andy Gosney is 46 Terry Connor is 47 Peter Higham is 79 Mike Williamson is 26
Chris Burns is 42 Steve Agnew is 44 Jimmy Carter is 44 Jeff King 56. Maurice Leather 80.
Patrick Berger is 36 Guy Whittingham is 45 Billy Gilbert is 50
Kevin Ball is 45
Paul Wimbleton is 45
Mick Mellows is 62