Toast Season 4 # 5 - fighting spirit!
Yesterday Pompey made their longest trip of the season to Middlesboro and after being down at the interval fought back and in the end picked up a deserved point. Having read some Boro sites views it sounds as thought the referee had a mare in the first half but maybe he evened things up with the penalty and sending off decisions. I particularly like the story which is beginning to circulate that as Lawro was trying to get set to take the penalty the Boro keeper told him 'I saw your penalty against Leicester and know where you will put it'. After smashing home the equaliser the Irish International turned to Jason Steele and quipped 'well you didn't see that one!'
Once again however the team is showing the spirit to fight off adversity and the strength to fight back from two goals down when lesser teams would have folded and just waited for the flight home. Two weeks off now and perhaps a chance to concentrate on getting out of administration and filling a few spots in the squad. A few will be away on international duty but for others it will be a chance to top up on the fitness levels and other training ground work.
Roll on Watford on 16th October when Pompey can keep the run going - it won`t be easy, the Hornets have started well.
Last week we asked about leaving early and Alty Blue told us 'I was only 10 (would have been 1984), a home game against Middlesbrough stands out and would have been the start of me refusing to leave early and ultimately my granddads` refusal to come with me to games any more!!!
So I thought let`s have a quick look back at the game. By coincidence it was against the same side we met yesterday for the one hundred and first time in the league, it was the opening game of the 1984/85 season which was to finish with Pompey just missing out on promotion on the final day. The side included two debutants in Noel Blake and Scott McGarvey who are still remembered by fans today but for different reasons. New signing Mick Kennedy was suspended and missed the game with his old club.
The game was settled when super sub Nicky Morgan crossed and Alan Biley ghosted in on the far post to score and send Pompey on a ten game unbeaten start.
A lot have asked me about how many times Pompey have won six one at home and the answer is perhaps surprisingly six times since the war. They were
• Middlesbrough 14 April 1948
• West Bromwich Albion 4 December 1954
• Scunthorpe United 25 August 1979 (their last visit to Fratton)
• Northampton Town 29 December 1979 (Pompey's last game of the decade)
• Millwall 14 March 1992
• Leeds United 8 November 2003 (Leeds heaviest PL defeat and Pompey's biggest win).
Only one player scored in two of those games - who was it?
Is it me or does every club have to have a long throw man in their team these days. It started with Stoke City and Rory Delap and that caused mayhem in the Premier League with some opponents happy to knock the ball out for a corner rather than a throw.
This season it seems to me that every side we have seen in the Championship have had one or more players in the gym working on the upper body strength and them the technique to propel the ball thirty yards or more. Some seem to have conquered it others throw it straight up in the air. Not sure I like this as part of the game but I must remember a certain Roy Lunniss the Pompey left back in the early sixties who could throw the ball incredible distances without a run up. I remember a game when Lunniss took a throw at the Fratton End, the ball hit the far post and Cliff Portwood tapped the rebound into the net.
Six months in Admin
The club have now been in Administration for over seven months and the six months progress report of Hacker Young makes interesting reading. It shows a surplus of income over expenditure of £301,000 but that is mainly due to the income from the run to the cup final.
The turnaround has meant that ninety of the clubs staff have lost their jobs and numerous others have taken substantial pay cuts as have those who look after the clubs under eighteens (house parents). A lot of the remainder of the clubs infrastructure has one to - the fan`s marquee, the digiboards, PFCTV, two shops, etc
One more saving we would suggest is to sell off some of the seats that make up the Pompey bench. With only four subs and no assistant manager they are surplus to requirements.
Supporters Advisory Panel
The panel have suffered a lot of criticism recently over the survey that they carried out for the club concerning the Fratton Park experience and atmosphere.
Some fans believe that it was the Panel who set the questions but as Alan Taylor the Chairman told me 'Let me dismiss one overwhelming myth that has been created, there is not one member of the SAP who suggested that a survey be carried out intent on doing away with the drums and bells. On the contrary the SAP is fully supportive of Johnny Westwood and his pals.'
Well that puts the record straight on that one - thanks Alan.
Cash turnstiles please
Crowds are down which is hardly surprising when you have dropped a division but are the club helping themselves?
In the Premier League fans were prepared to book in advance nut now they would like to pay on the day the day. The club, who claim to be listening, do offer cash only windows at the ticket office but advise you to arrive several hours in advance.
Six thousand empty seats with the return of David James and off the back of a televised 6-1 win surely tells its own story. The cost of installing cash turnstiles would soon be reimbursed. There are many old spaces available around the ground why not use some of them?
Last week we asked have you left a game early and missed some of the action? Well most who replied blamed public transport in one shape or another - last train back to London etc. The club on their website have also been pushing fans to use buses and trains and even advertising links to timetables.
Well after last Tuesday's game I spotted a group of fans trying get back to Paulsgrove and after peering in the dark at the timetable in the shelter one of them exclaimed 'buses are only every hour and we have just missed one!' Whatever happened to the ''football specials?'
More ticket news
The ticket office was closed yesterday and again next Saturday (9th October). This is so staff can prepare to launch a new initiative that will allow supporters to print tickets from their own home. Hope you have all got colour printers with plenty of ink in! More on that when we get it.
After listening to fans' views, the ticket office will now open from 8am-6.30pm on Fridays immediately preceding a Saturday home fixture.
Spread the word
Anybody remember Wigan at home last season? When the Milton End was packed and helped inspire the Blues to a 4-0 home win, with an Aruna Dindane hat-trick. Well a group of fans we will be doing it all over again this time against Nottingham Forest at Fratton Park on Saturday the 30th of October.
Tickets are now on general sale......go for tickets in block R in the Milton End so they get all people who want to create an atmosphere sat together. Bring you flags and banners etc but most of all ............SPREAD THE WORD
That was he headline I read the other day and assumed it related to the famous military marches of American composer John Sousa. As usual I was wrong it signified the start of the Championship sack race as Leicester City parted company with manager Paulo Sousa after less than three months in charge.
Bottom of the table and having just been hammered at Fratton Park and conceded four at Norwich it just shows what an insecure profession football management is. Had we lost to Leicester last Friday would the outcome have been reversed?
The Italian Job
News is just reaching the Toast News Desk that Genoa have at last made the first payment for Kevin Prince Boateng who is on loan at Milan. Meanwhile Admin Andy has announced that Internazionale now owe Pompey appearance money for Sully Muntari after he played eighty games. The amount is believed to be €1m.
The Prince has picked up the nickname 'il treno senza freni' - the train without brakes from his Milan team mates. Nice tag but does he run to London allowing fans to get home after an evening game?
See you next week for a rather different edition of Toast.