Toast Season 4 # 4 - What a difference.
What a difference a day made, Dinah Washington famously sang many years ago (Yes Paul it has been covered my many artists since) well this week in Pompey`s case in should read three days. On Tuesday evening we all sat in shirt sleeves and again on Friday we sat in the same seats shivering. Yes the British climate certainly can change all of a sudden.
In football terms the result was just as different. Reflecting back on the two games it is difficult to imagine that it was the same to sides in action. On Tuesday Pompey started slowly and then tailed off only to be woken from their slumbers by the sending off of Richard Hughes. Leicester meanwhile fizzed the ball around in midfield and attacked with real pace and direction. Certainly Pompey were poor in front of goal but Leicester deserved their two goal lead at the break and to progress to Round Four.
Then on Friday it was all to change. The Foxes brought back their first team regulars and looked a shadow of the reserve laden side of three days earlier with only keeper Logan and war horse striker Steve Howard earning their corn. Pompey's players meanwhile all chose to turn on their season best performances on the same night and what a pleasure it was to watch. I wondered why Sky Sports chose the match to show live but I must admit it was inspired programming.
The goals were fantastic and so were the crowd but three things stood out for me. Carl Dickinson at last winning the hearts of the fans with his 45 yard effort that clipped the bar and his all round performance, Liam Lawrence who has given us a great deal but especially his dead ball skills and lastly the Kanu cameo. Watching the King in action is like watching your old Gran walking to the Post Office to collect her pension but his skills and laid back approach in the final quarter of an hour must have broken Leicester hearts. He simply runs his team like a conductor does his orchestra.
Pure magic to watch and we are privileged to see a player with his skils and artistry in a blue shirt. Shame it was watched by the smallest League crowd for eight and a half years though.
Three in a week
After two Leicester visits last week we now look forward to Bristol City and a certain David James this Tuesday. That will make three evening home games in a week. That is something we are not used to when in the Premier League we would be lucky to get three evening games in a season!
Now searching back through Pompey's records is something I am used to but trying to discover whether we have had three in such quick succession would be very difficult. I can find plenty of instances of three homes games in a week - like in 1993 when we played Swindon Town in the League Cup followed by Tranmere Rovers and Middlesbrough in the league. Curiously all three games were won 2-0, all the goals came in the second half and the crowd for each game were almost identical 12,554, 12,462 and 12,503.
Now of all the coincidences Toast has uncovered that is one of the most unusual - perhaps to save money the crowd camped at the Park. I was on a well earned Pompey sabbatical at that time.
But I think Toast can safely declare that it is the first time in Pompey's history there have been three home competitive floodlight games in eight days.
Had an invite to the inaugural Pompey Supporters Conference which is being held at Fratton Park on 16th October this week and you can bet that Vital Pompey will be there.
The conference being organised jointly by the club and the Trust is open to ALL Pompey groups whether Online or Off and the aim is to hold them 'regularly'.
You will remember this time last year we formed the Pompey Virtual Alliance as a umbrella group to meet the clubs officials it an attempt to get the answers to the questions on the lips of every fan. Well the Trust is looking to unify these groups by creating healthy discussion and association between them. Unity on the most important issues will give us (the fans) a more powerful voice and help us to achieve more. However I believe strongly that a broad church will need to be formed to ensure that the views of the minorities will also need to be catered for.
The proposal is that each invited group/club is allowed to send a maximum of two representatives; each conference will be jointly chaired by Johnny Moore and a further representative of one of the groups/clubs.
The Proposed Agenda items so far is
• Introduction and identities of each group
• Aims of the conference
• Joint aims of the attendees and the groups they represent
• PFC's ownership situation
As I said we will be there and a full report will follow. If you represent a group that has not received an invite then contact Johnny Moore, The Pompey Trust or me and the rest will be sorted.
Jamo's coming home
We mentioned it earlier but David James makes what might conceivably be his last appearance at Fratton Park on Tuesday night. Oh how we miss him and how the game will miss him when he eventually hangs up his gloves. Football as a game needs characters and Jamo is certainly one of those. Always willing to join in with the crowd behind his goal is what a keeper should do - remember Peter Mellor shadow boxing after he had been attacked by a fan at Port Vale or former Grimsby and Charlton custodian Charlie Wright who go up to all manner of antics in the 60s and 70s. Wright was also voted Hong Kong Footballer of the Year once but that is a story for another day.
Of course to play that kind of fool you have to be good and your job and without doubt Jamo is one of the best. I remember meeting him before the Spurs semi final and my wife saying to him 'don't let in any goals on Sunday' to which he replied 'I promise I will be trying my very best'. Well he kept to his word.
No time to dwell on whether he should have stayed or headed west but David will get a great reception on Tuesday and my message is just simply 'Thanks for all the memories'.
Got picked up by my fellow sub editor, paultsmouth last week after I said Pompey last won at Bramall Lane in 1948 and of course I was wrong. We did win there in 1948 but also in 1955 (November 5th as Paul pointed out) goals from Gunter, Harris and Robertson sealed a 3-1 victory.
Good spot Paul and that is the problem with looking too quickly at the record books.
Ilkeston Town update
You will remember a few weeks ago we told you about the winding up of Ilkeston Town over a debt to HMRC. Well the club have now been expelled from the Conference North and their record expunged. Meanwhile at a meeting recently over 120 fans turned up and will start the job of building a new club. Good luck.
We also discovered on their player rota at the end some well known names - Jason Lee better known at Pineapple Head, Chukki Eribenne who had spells at Bournemouth and Havant, Darren Caskey 200 games for Reading and David Graham Scottish U21 international striker.
Don't miss 'em
One advantage of being out of the Premier League in that we have to read no more of Lawro's predictions on the BBC website. Now that is something I bet no one misses!
Never leave early
Pompey academy with four players with professional contracts in the side are 5-0 down to Leicester after 78 minutes - would you leave early?
Well Toast contributor Jimbo did and Pompey scored five goals in the last eleven minutes!! To add insult to injury the start at the Wellington Sports Ground was delayed by an hour too kicking off at noon not 11:00 as advertised!
Have you ever left early and missed something exceptional? I know our old friend (Simon) pompey4me did. He is now living out in Perth Australia and left the Oxford Game (the Santa match) when we were 1-0 down with his father and had never seen the goals until I found them on youtube for him. Still have Simon's note to me saying simply 'What a true gent you are, after 25 years I can finally forgive my father!!!!`
I always wonder why fans run for the exits early, especially after paying top dollar for their seats. I suppose if you have a train to catch maybe that is an excuse but with a large percentage leaving that train must be pretty busy.
If you have had to leave and missed something special why not tell us all about it. Drop me a PM in the forum.
See ya next week