Sunday Toast Season 3 # 18 - luck returns.
Has the luck changed at last? After two poor performances but four points bagged in the last two weeks one might believe it has. But Janice what are you doing? After taking on the Black Cats single handed in those final few minutes why, oh why, take your shirt off? Perhaps Pompey players should have their shirts sewn to their shorts to prevent them taking them off!
Avram just shrugged his shoulders after the game but he must take some action or perhaps he should play in skins every week.
Team of the Decade - the 90s
I am glad to say that my team selections over the last three weeks have certainly got you thinking and throwing up names that I ignored. However to date I have not received any alternative teams from you. Remember I promised I would publish them if you send them to me and I will stick by that guarantee.
Last week the names of Mick Quinn and Vince Hilaire were two names put forward and let me tell you why they failed to make the final eleven. Quinny was a great striker but was not in the class of Mark Hateley. He struggled for goals when we were in Division One scoring just six times in 32 league appearances. The other striker was Alan Biley and he was of course a Pompey legend. Vince Hilaire was a great player to watch and could go by a full back but his crossing at times was awful!!
1. Aaron Flahavan
2. Warren Neill
3. John Beresford
4. Alan McLoughlin
5. Kit Symons
6. Andy Awford
7. Darren Anderton
8. Gerry Creaney
9. Paul Walsh
10. Martin Kuhl
11. Guy Whittingham
Another decade of comparative mediocrity highlighted by an FA Cup semi final and Pompey's only taste of the play offs. There we are ten years summed up in twenty words. The team however has undoubted class running through it and a fair sprinkling of home grown talent with it.
The vast majority of the side played in the 1992 FA Cup run which was ended after Pompey had been just minutes from Wembley in the misery of a penalty shoot out.
Where possible I have also tried to keep some semblance shape in the team, using proven partnerships where possible. At full back I have chosen Warren Neill and John Beresford who played two seasons as a pair, were both good going forward and defensively. The same could be said of Kit Symons and Andy Awford both products of the clubs youth system and together they offered hope to fans of a bright future ahead. Kit of course went on to play in the Premier League and Wales while Andy chose to stay at Pompey. It was Symons of course who scored the only penalty in that shoot out with Liverpool at Villa Park.
In midfield we have Alan McLoughlin one of the few players to move from Southampton and be a success at Fratton Park. Macca has become a legend since that 1992 £400,000 move both on and off the pitch. He is joined by another who went on to greater things, Darren Anderton. Shaggy as he was known at Fratton Park scored probably Pompey`s most memorable goals of the decade at Highbury in the FA Cup semi-final with Liverpool. It put us just three minutes from a Wembley final and after all those years in the wilderness made Pompey fans believe again.
Sadly Darren was sold shortly after to Tottenham and would win thirty England caps in an injury ravaged career. The midfield in completed by the ball winner/sitter in Martin Kuhl. Kuhl could also pack a punch in his shot and scored a goal every six games in his four year Pompey spell.
Up front we have the pair of Paul Walsh and Guy Whittingham who between them would score fifty one league goals in 1992/93. They were a perfect spell with the skill of Walshie opening up defences and the finishing power of Corporal Punishment doing the rest. Promotion came so close and who knows what would have followed.
I have also included Gerry Creaney who would manage better than a goal a game in his Pompey stay of sixty games. Quite while his career went off the rails after he joined Man City is perhaps for another time.
Finally in goal as we have included Alan Knight in the eighties side I had no hesitation in choosing the late Aaron Flahavan. Aaron was to die so tragically at the age of just twenty five. A fine keeper who played nearly one hundred games for Pompey and perhaps fittingly is the only one Pompey my team to play in the last game of 1999 - a Fratton Park defeat by Blackburn Rovers.
Well Toasters how is that team for you?
The Guardian's email fiver announced it as follows ''Portsmouth defender Linvoy Primus, 136, has announced his retirement from football because of persistent knee-knack, which is sad because it's not how you'd expect a man who sounds like a Transformer to exit the game'.
One way of breaking the story of the retirement of the Pompey player who has helped lift the club from obscurity to being cup winners, but not perhaps my way. His debut was marked with an own goal at Sheffield United back in August 2000. Few who saw that game would have predicted the birth of a true Pompey legend.
So after 219 games in league and cup it is over but it was a greater rollercoaster of a ride. He struggled to get into the side having to convince a succession of managers that he was good enough, then he discovered religion and passed his new found faith onto his team mates. In 2003 he became a Premier League player and that meant he had to up his game.
After the cup game at Old Trafford in the promotion season few gave him a chance but Linvoy was up to the challenge and every season he became a better player. The pinnacle of his career came to 2006/07 when he partnered Sol Campbell at the heart of the Pompey defence. Pompey finished ninth that season their best finish since 1955 and it was built on the defensive stronghold of Linvoy, Sol and of course David James.
Sadly injury was to strike and Linvoy was never able to challenge the newly arrived Sylvan Distin for a place in the side until he made his final bow at Fratton Park as a late substitute against Sunderland back in May. The reception he got that night bought a tear to the eye of even the hardened fan.
Along the way he told his story in his book Transformed which is well worth a read for any fan. But in the end I am glad to say that 'When Linvoy went up to lift the FA Cup I was there`. Although he could not play it was a great pinnacle to any player`s career.
Only once please!
Last Thursday with the vultures of the national press gathering the club decided to put out a statement denying the fact the club was on a headlong path to Administration.
The fans were (mostly) pleased to hear the news but did the club need to produce it about five times during the afternoon and evening. It kept hitting newsnow and had me scrambling to see whether there was more news or the story had been updated but it was the same.
We all know Pompey have been accused, rightly, of keeping fans in the dark but please just tell us once!!
You may have missed the news that Alan Knight has joined Aldershot as goal keeping coach after a spell as Horndean assistant manager.
Lionel Phillips is 80
Andy Rollings is 55 Ron Humpston is 84
Aaron Flahavan born 1975 died 5 August 2001 - and in the nineties team - would he have still been at Pompey today?
Sebastian Olszar is 28 Sylvain Distin is 32 Mark Blake is 39
Courtney Pitt is 28 Abraham Smith born 1908
Tommy Berntsen is 36 David Hillier is 40 Justin Edinburgh is 40 Kevin Dillon is 50
Peter Harris born 1925 died 3rd January 2002 - Pompey`s greatest ever player? Some think so.