Sunday Toast Season 3 # 22 - Snow way!
I have had an awful week!! Struggling with a mystery virus - me not the laptop - and then having to struggle to work in the snow and ice, getting home too knackered to write this weeks Toast or even get on Vital Pompey and add my twopeneth!!
So this week we have no Toast - nah only joking I have put something together for you but it is perhaps not quite the usual quality but I know you would miss it and complain. You might even organise marches or petitions if the Toast team does not seem to be carrying out the job properly!
Snow game yesterday and with the weather forecast for the coming week I would have thought the Birmingham game next Saturday would already be in doubt.
The weather reminds me that the last time we had such severe weather in Pompey was back in 1963. Pompey did not play a League game between Boxing Day 1962 and 23rd February 1963!! What is a coincidence in on 13th March 1963 we played Coventry City in the FA Cup fourth round at Fratton Park. The game ended 1-1 and the crowd was 11,482. The next time we play Coventry in the Cup the score is the same and the crowd 11,214.
Shocking news coming out of Angola concerning the prolonged attack on the Togolese team bus. Will the tournament go ahead? Of course but let us hope this is only an isolated incident and all the players return home safely. African football in on the up but a number of countries have what is best described as unstable areas which need to be avoided. Cabinda an enclave in the very north of the country is obviously one of these. However football has to be taken to the people and these areas must not be left out.
Finding the balance is so difficult and perhaps Togo ventured too far. However I have just heard that Emmanuel Adebayor is on his way home and Togo have been pulled out by their Prime Minister. How will that effect the competition?
Noughty stats part 2
This week we look at the number of competitive appearances made by players for Pompey between 1st January 2000 and 31st December 2009. I asked Phil at our sister site PompeyRama to provide me with the information. These are stats unique to Sunday Toast and I thank Phil for spending the last month responding to my demands across the globe.
Because of the huge turnover of players through the decade not one has completed two hundred league games which I find remarkable. So in true Alan Freeman tradition let's count down from
Number 10 - Sean Davies League Games 102 (3 goals) Cup games 14 (1 goal) - Sean made his debut at home to Everton in January 2006 after signing from Spurs with Noe Pamarot and Pedro Mendes. His final game was also at home to Sunderland last May. Sadly Sean is suffering with a serious knee injury picked up soon after his move to Bolton.
Number 9 - Arjan De Zeeuw L 106 (5) C 5 (0) Arrie played just three seasons at Fratton Park but is without doubt a Pompey legend. Making his debut at home to Nottingham Forest in August 2002 he was a key member of the Championship winning side that season. The Dutch doctor would then be a lynchpin of the side that gave Pompey a foothold in the Premier League. Fans will long remember his final goal which came in the 4-1 win over Southampton in April 2005.
Number 8 - Dejan Stefanovic L 112 (3) C 13 (0) - Dejan was a regular partner of Arjan De Zeeuw in the Pompey back row. When he signed from Vitesse Arnhem for £1.7m he was our record signing. After leaving Norwich at the end of last season he is now a free agent. Dejan still lives locally.
Number 7 - Kevin Harper L 120 (9) C 9 (0) - Joined from Derby for a bargain £300,000 back in March 2000, Kevin who played down both wings and won a place in the Scotland squad but never won a cap. Had the pleasure of meeting Kevin a couple of times and he loved to talk about the game.
Number 6 - David James L 121 (0) C 20 (0) - Most fans will be asking themselves, will he play for Pompey again?
Number 5 - Richard Hughes L 114 (0) C 28 (2) - Just to show how up to date these stats are Richard was at number 6 when they were first drafted but he then played games while Jamo was sidelined and just squeezed into the top 5. Will he ever score a league goal for Pompey?
Number 4 - Nigel Quashie L 148 (13) C 15 (1) - One of the few ex players who still has his name sung at almost every home game. There was talk of Nigel returning to QPR this week but as far as I can find he is still a West Ham player on loan at MK Dons. Won an England B cap and then played for Scotland!
And now the top three -
Number 3 - Gary O'Neil L 174 (16) C 19 (1) - Home grown talent that came good. GON is the only player to play for Pompey in nine of the eleven seasons - Gary captained England at most levels up to U21 and looked to be a great prospect but could never win a place in the centre of midfield where most fans felt he needed to be to influence the game with his passing skills and powerful 'engine'.
Number 2 - Matthew Taylor L 178 (23) C 25 (6) Super Matt joined from Luton in 2002 for a fee of £400,000 and soon became a firm favourite with the fans especially for his long range goals with both feet. Rather like GON should he have gone on to even greater heights? Had the manager at the time had more confidence in both of them rather than signing foreign imports they may both have made the full England side.
Number 1 - Linvoy Primus L 198 (5) C 21 (1) - well who else should be at the top of the list? We have said so much about Linvoy since he announced his retirement and can add little else. Played in eight seasons and but for injury would easily have gone way past the 200 landmark. Arise Sir Linvoy!!
Academies - are they worthwhile?
Ninety two clubs, one hundred and fifty youngsters from the age of nine and yet only one per cent will win a professional contract. That is the academy system but is it really working. Do clubs raise the hopes of young boys and their parents only to drop them from a great height in the years ahead?
These are questions that we will address in a new series of articles in the weeks and months ahead. Written by a man with a unique insight to the Academy system and with firm opinions on the way forward.
The glorious twelfth?
Will it be glorious? Will the transfer embargo be lifted? Will it lead to the new signings Avram says he has identified? Will it be the kick start our season so desperately needs?
There are more questions than answers.
After two years the birthdays section has been moved to 'On this day' - Today`s include Martin Kuhl.