Sunday Toast Season 3 # 28 - slipping away
Pompey cling by their fingernails to their Premier League life after they conceded a late winner to ten man Stoke City last night. Pompey were not really at the races throughout and were simply bossed out of it by the visitors who are big side with just one tactic to pump the ball high into the box.
Surely now there is no way back for Pompey now and even the most eternal optimist will have given up any real hope. The simply do not have good enough players in key positions in Centre half and striker to be able to defend the high ball and take the chances that are created - there were not many of those yesterday.
Watched the game with wellyit who won the Vital Pompey ticket competition set by Chix in the week. He travelled all the way from Somerset to watch the game and it was a real pity the match was so poor.
Well we all enjoyed last Saturday`s fifth round FA Cup win but I for one did not enjoy the TV coverage or indeed any of ITV Sport`s games. Why you ask? Well it is all down to the commentators and their total lack of preparation and the production staff are little better.
Let me show you some examples.
1. In the introduction to the game it was stated 'Pompey have only two Englishmen in their line-up, David James and Jamie O`Hara'. Wrong! Hayden Mullins was born in Reading and won three England U21 caps!! Does he not count?
2. The next day during the Bolton and Spurs game after a foul by Matty Taylor on Jermain Defoe the commentator asked 'Were they not teammates at Portsmouth?' to which the summariser responded 'yes they were for a spell'. Wrong! As they both wore the number fourteen shirt when at Pompey they would have to have been very close friends.
3. When they introduced the studio guests at St Mary's the caption went up 'Mark Hately Portsmouth Player of the season 1983/84. Wrong! It is spelt Hateley.
Let us hope this bunch of clowns is never allowed to show Premiership football live.
O'Brien for England
No not Andy (who is Irish) but Liam the 18-year-old goalkeeper has been named in the Under 19 squad. He is selected in an 18-man party to face Holland in Waalwijk on Tuesday, March 2.
The young keeper had a few problems last season and it is good news that he over them and this will be a great lift for him mentally.
Watched a bit of the Europa League this week and wondered whether any Toasters have an opinion on the use of six officials. To me it seemed to be strange to see an official wandering around the penalty area when the ball is at the other end. When he was needed though he came up short as Cahill appeared to block off the keeper with his arm and the ball hit Distin and rolled into the net.
The game between Everton and Sporting was bit like a Pompey old boy's reunion Yakubu and Distin for the Toffees and of course Pedro Mendes for the Lisbon side - Pedro looked rather strange with number two on his back. Distin's goal of course was so lucky but his day was balanced though by a red card after he lost control of a bouncing ball and bought down his opponent to give away a penalty and a vital away goal for Sporting. Pedro was certainly Lisbon's best player pulling all the strings from midfield.
As some of you will already know Toast had a day out this week and visited the offices of the Guardian and Observer. The purpose was to aid in the re-launching today of The Observer as more of a review paper than a news paper with weekly specials on popular genres such as Sport and food. This Sunday it looks at the state of English Football and has an interview with Sir Alex Ferguson. That`s right we are rubbing shoulders with the big names now.
They invited representatives from various clubs fans websites who have 'problems' at the moment as well as Pompey. They included a Liverpool fan (from near Detroit!!), a United fan from Lincoln, a QPR fan from Sheffield and a Pompey fan from Pompey - does that sound familiar!! There were others due from Chester City and the like but they arrived after I left. Kevin Rye from Supporters Direct who helped with the Pompey Trust was also here.
We all had some good banter before and after our sessions and there is no doubt the football fraternity want Pompey to survive, The United fan, Rob Blanchett, gave special mention to our support of their Green and Gold campaign. I thanked him for the result too!
They asked me three questions
1. What is it like being a Pompey fan at the moment
2. Tell us the story of Pompey over the last seven years and
3. What do you think of the state of English Football
I answered all at some length and the much edited version can be seen here - course this is same link as last Thursday for those who have already seen it but it is not often I get a chance to actually speak to you all!!
The paper will also carry a major story on the session. It was all introduced by Brain Oliver the sports editor who incidentally is a keen Pompey fan.
Beleaguered Pompey Chief Executive Peter Storrie is beginning to remind me of a jar of Marmite - you either love him or you hate him. Having read so much on the site and spoken to fans all over the country there is no doubt that views have polarised.
Some fans say that in his position as Chief Executive he should have taken some action to prevent the club getting in the mess it currently finds itself. On the other side are those who still believe that he has managed to hold it all together with the fires burning all around him and deserves credit for that.
Remember is was not that long ago that the Fratton End were singing his name but then opinions change eh!
Watching Bayern and Fiorentina at the Allianz Arena the other night got me thinking - how much did we pay Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron to design our new stadium both at The Hard and Tipner. They didn't do all that work for nothing and they are the premier stadium designers in the world. Cost millions is the belief of Toast's resident architect. Of course the debt has probably been paid but it is all part of that £60 million plus.
About ten days ago there was a Premier League manager meeting in London and afterwards three of our leading managers decided to take Pompey boss Avram Grant for a well earned pint.
Once inside Arsene Wenger went straight to bar and ordered four pints. The group sat down and after a short while Rafa Benitez jumped up and bought a round. Next to the bar was Avram ordering four more pints and finally Sir Alex Ferguson repeated the order.
The discussions were now in full flow and our leading managers enjoying their evening when suddenly Avram jumped and walked to the bar 'One pint of bitter please' he asked the barman. The others in unison retorted 'what about us?' to which Avram turned and replied 'This is the fifth round and you boys aren't in it'!!
New Chelsea date
Pompey's Premier League clash with Chelsea at Fratton Park has been rearranged for Wednesday, March 24, kick-off 7.45pm.
The club advise that anybody who has reservations about purchasing their tickets in advance we suggest that they are purchased using a credit card. Please check with your credit card provider that you would receive a refund in the unlikely event that a fixture commitment is not fulfilled, prior to purchasing your ticket.