Toast Season 4 # 8 - a topsy turvy kind of day.
What a last twenty four hours as Pompey have been to Hull and back in more ways than one and survived the process.
Last week I finished the column by saying we would spend the week in the jungle playing with the Lions and the Tigers. Well it was not as dangerous as we thought because despite the odds stacked against them the return of six points was magnificent. We now sit proudly in the top half of the table just three points off the play offs. Well done to the management and playing staff.
Early reports from the KC Stadium suggest it was another commanding performance against a Hull side who are down on their luck at the moment. It also sounds as though David Nugent should perhaps have notched hat-trick but had to settle for just one and it is good to see new boy Greg Halford get on the score sheet too. Plus a late arrival for Hermann too. That makes it ten games without defeat against the Tigers and Nugent was NOT offside.
That all sets things up for next weeks visit of Nottingham Forest to Fratton Park where early indications are that we might just get a full house for the first time this season - that is of course if the deals that are going on behind the scenes are signed and the club ownership sealed and administration ended. I am told the box office has been busy this week so if you want to see the game, get your ticket now.
Well done the Hawks after their 2-0 win over Histon to reach the FA Cup First Round - just for Tracy that one - maybe another cup run on the cards.
There is only one problem with writing a column such as this, when you think it is finished something happens and all that work is wasted. Well of course it happened on Friday as news broke the club was sliding inexorably towards liquidation and all panic broke out. Emails were flying in to my inbox asking the same simple question - what is going on? On went Sky Sports News and the whole 'story' began to unfold.
Somewhere in the world, possibly Paris, discussions had broken down over the final details of the agreements necessary to exit administration. For some reason the media unit at the club decided to put a grim message on the official web site and email all staff with the same story. The man at the centre of events, Sacha Gaydamak claims that this came out of the blue for him and Admin Andy also called the story unhelpful.
So why was the article predicting doom and gloom run on the club site? Last week when I was at the club all was what could only be described as 'uncautious optimism' and just six short days later they have sent the football world especially the city of Portsmouth into absolute turmoil. WHY??
Of course we are all desperate for news of the transfer of ownership and exit for administration and were wondering why things had stalled during the week but this was just stupid in my mind and has caused a lot of fans a great deal of heartache since it was released. It also had the effect of dragging the clubs name through the mud again! Even Sacha`s solicitor was quoted as saying 'I was baffled and saddened .. to see announcements saying the club was at the brink, it has caused anxiety for no good reason.'
Life is hard enough being a Pompey fan without your own club driving you to despair.
Last week we talked about the Watford Gap and we were asked where is the Watford Gap? Well ask any fans who have met up at Watford Gap services before the game!! Watford Gap is the oldest Motorway service station and 50 miles north of the town of Watford!! Watford is a small village situated between two hills hence the name.
Have you ever got lost on the way to the game? I remember my first trip to Bournemouth for a pre-season friendly many, many years ago arriving at Dean Park cricket ground and not Dean Court!! Thought it must be close - wrong it was miles away (well at least a mile and a half). If you have got lost in funny circumstances on the way to a game why not tell me about it.
I hope that you all take a look at the 'On this Day` feature that is prepared for us by our sister site pompeyrama. Always brings back memories for older fans with good memories. We used to feature some of the information in Toast - birthdays etc but I thought we might look at some of the things that stand out today or later in the week.
23 years ago today Ian Baird scored his only goal for Pompey at Loftus Road. Not a bad return for £285,000!
57 years ago today up at Hillsbrough it finished Sheffield Wednesday 4 Pompey 4 and Johnny Gordon scored his only Pompey hat trick. Those you saw Johnny play back in the sixties did not realise he mad his debut right back in August 1951 alongside the likes of Jack Froggatt, Len Phillips and Peter Harris
Happy birthday to my friend Pat Neil - 73 years young today!!
Next Thursday it will be thirty years since that trip to Anfield!! A day those there will never forget when as many as sixteen thousand fans descended on Liverpool for a midweek League Cup tie between the European Champions and a side fresh out of Division Four. I will never forget the trip up the M6 with every service station packed with fans and the atmosphere was unbelievable even though the Kop left their voices at home. We lost 4-1 but it was an absolute travesty.
The tickertape that night dwarfed anything the Argentineans produced in the 1978 World Cup as we stood knee deep in paper on the Anfield Road end
Sadly some idiot set fire to it as we started to leave the ground too which warmed up a cold night in Lancashire. A night to remember!!
I liked Brian Oliver's take on the Millwall game the other morning. Brain is the Sports Editor of the Observer and is a much respected man in football circles who I had the pleasure of meeting earlier in the year - oh and he is a Pompey fan to boot. His report included -
'It was an unusual night out. As news of Margaret Thatcher's confinement in hospital was announced, the pre-match sight of a huge police presence at London Bridge brought back memories of her 'I hate football' days in the 1980s. There were scores of police outside the Barrowboy and Banker pub outside the station (London Bridge), and riot vans parked all the way down the road. There were police everywhere all around the stadium — and a raucous atmosphere inside.
Among the away fans, bizarrely, sat Sulaiman al-Fahim, the Walter Mitty character who played a big part in Portsmouth's financial troubles. What the Dubai property dealer made of it is anybody's guess, because it wasn't exactly a directors' box atmosphere.'
So what was SAF doing at the game? It is bad enough going to the New Den for a game but when you are hated by both sets of fans it makes no sense. Nice pub the Barrowboy too.
Fans are not happy with the TV coverage from Fratton Park. The BBC claim they will not climb to the TV gantry on top of the South Stand because they only have one member of staff available. Perhaps they should send a taller cameraman!!
If you think fans should pay for an improved service including interviews then go to http://www.portsmouthfc.co.uk/vote/ and have your say.
We have slagged off the five officials plan in the Europa league in past editions but on Thursday it at last paid off when Liverpool defender Paul Konchevsky cleared from the line at Napoli. The players appealed and the commentator thought it was over but the officials waved them away and TV replays proved they were probably right.
One up for UEFA there then although the official had wandered slightly off his line. Of interest to Pompey fans Hasan Yebda came on as a late substitute in that match.
Scott Mclachlan of the Trust dropped me a note in the week -'I now have final approval to move forward the Trust Pompey Legends so I need a decent list of players to be voted on.
Firstly I am looking at players for shirts 9,10,11 (Strikers) - can I have your submissions please. One name for each number please.
Please don't add to the thread as it makes trawling through votes and the inevitable comments really hard, so please email Scott direct with your choices.
I will then take the 5 most popular from each and submit them to a Fanwide vote to decide who will be on the Trust Legends T-shirt series.
The deadline for submissions will be Wed 27th when I will then launch an appeal for Midfield players.
Again, email me direct to Scott Mclachlan at firstname.lastname@example.org'
Bet you will have plenty of names Toasters.