Vital Football

Toast Season 4 # 11 - more depth needed

Toast Season 4 # 11 - more depth needed

Donny in Town - here is a sad fact I have seen every league game Doncaster Rovers have played at Fratton Park. Ok yesterday was only number five but it was by far the most disappointing as Pompey contrived to lose the game twice.

It was another under par performance but for the first ten minutes all looked rosy with Greg Halford hitting the bar and other chances going a begging. Then within the twinkle of an eye Donnie are 2-0 up and cruising. After the break with Rocha and Ward on for Sonko and Kanu things looked a whole lot better but the clock was running down and into the final quarter when Joel Ward scored his first Pompey goal and David Nugent bundled in the equaliser seven minutes later.

Now there was only one winner or so we thought. From a hopeful punt upfield David Healy an experienced striker held off the attentions of Rocha and slammed a fine shot past the helpless Jamie Ashdown. Pompey were unable to save the game again and the sending off of Carl Dickinson for a very rash challenge on James Hayter was a sad ending to a sad day.

So after just one point from two home games Pompey will be looking over their shoulders again at the bottom three and with two tough away games to come who knows where this season will lead us. It is true we missed Liam Lawrence but several seemed below full fitness, Halford was feeling his back throughout, Kitson seems to have lost all confidence in front of goal and Nugent also struggled at time.

The squad is too thin for the strains of a forty six game Championship season and despite the spirit shown in the fight back it cannot cover that fact. Reinforcements are needed if Pompey are not to slip back into trouble.

A question for locals - is Joel Ward the first Emsworth born player to score for Pompey?

They got away

We look at a couple of players who escaped the Park and proved their worth elsewhere

Theofanis Gekas is now plying his trade at Frankfurt. After just two minutes playing for Pompey he is one of three men shining in the German financial capital along with keeper Oka Nikolov and Swiss playmaker Pirm Schwegler

Fani cost just €1m from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer and has started the Bundesliga with eleven goals in eleven games which ranks only behind Cristiano Ronaldo (12), domestically, in the whole of Europe. He was of course the top goalscorer of the European section of 2010 World Cup qualification, scoring 10 goals in Greece's successful qualifying campaign.

However it is not workrate that makes Gekas, he is described by some sources as lazy and not even bothering to stay onside. Stats show that in a recent game with Nürnberg, he touched the ball just 17 times in 84 minutes. As we reported in Toast at the time he is very much a loner on and off the pitch, rarely socializing with other teammates. But he scores goals and they are what the game is all about.

Mike Williamson had an even shorter Pompey career never making an appearance due to the cost of him doing do. However he has taken no time in settling into Premier League football with Newcastle and the results against Sunderland and Arsenal show that. The clean sheet at the Emirates is a particularly fine achievement for a promoted side. Williamson has started every game this season and impressively for a centre back only picked up one yellow card in those twelve games.

Another one that got away because of the financial mismanagement we have suffered from.

Bolton debt

The news that Bolton Wanderers have made a loss of £35.4m and their total debt is now £90m will ring familiar bells in the ears of Pompey fans. Not a club that had been mentioned among those in trouble these figures seem very similar to Pompey`s, with their wage bill running now at a staggering £46.4m.

They have a new stadium at the Reebok but it is situated right on the outside of the Town. It only has a capacity of 28,000 and is rarely full. Sad times for the Trotters and their loyal fans especially with the threat of a need to raise money in the January window.

Pitch battle

I was impressed with the condition of the Fratton Park pitch on Tuesday night. After an early morning thunderstorm that hit Milton with some force the streets around the ground were running in water - in fact Fratton Station was no go area as staff battled like King Canute to turn the tide.

Less than twelve hours later the pitch looked immaculate with no soggy patches and even more surprisingly it did not cut up allowing for a flowing game of football. Well done to all the groundstaff involved - Duggie Reid would have been proud of the billiard table.

Watch Pompey at Man U

Yes there is a chance to see Pompey take on United in their own backyard coming shortly. Not the first team though but the youth squad who have drawn their illustrious opponents in the 3rd round of the FA Youth Cup.

The tie will be played at Altrincham's Moss Lane ground before December 11.

Recall Ritchie

We are short of numbers in the squad, Nugent was out and it leaves a gap on the left hand side. So why not recall Matt Ritchie from his loan period at Swindon?

He has been their player of the month recently so is obviously well and would jump at the chance of playing for Pompey. Why sign new players when we already have them?

Balu's hair job

Graham Gooch, Shane Warne, Elton John have all famously have the Barnet Fair re-laid over recent years. Well to that list it looks like you can add the name of current Pompey Chairman Balu Chainrai. Pictures on the BBC of his interview with Tony Husband and then the library pictures used afterwards clearly showed that a new growth is beginning to appear.

Just need a bit of fertiliser from the groundsman's hut and all should be well. Don`t use the manure though as it gets messy!!

Small creditors paid off!

I have it on good authority that the plan of Balu Chainrai to pay off the small creditors in full has now started via Hacker Young. This will be good news for some businesses - Pukka Pies will get their £40! - but not for those who were owed slightly more

Alas no Lass

Sadly we won't get a chance to see our favourite Lassana Diarra in action for France at Wembley on Wednesday as he has failed to make the squad. Lass has been in and out (mostly out) of the Real Madrid side this season after the arrival of Jose Mourinho as manager but has been on record as saying he wants to stay and cement a regular place.

and finally…

Apologiees to those who had problems accessing Vital Football on Friday evening between 19:30 and 20:45. There was a power failure at the hosting company. Sorry for the interruption folks!

There will be no Toast next Sunday as I am out of town - Sorry for the interruption folks!


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Date:Sunday November 14 2010
Time: 12:00AM


Morning Toasters - hope you enjoyed the column. We are struggling again after a purple patch. Is it all down to a change of luck?
13/11/2010 22:35:00
Its true that our squad is too thin, but its a fact of life after all the financial troubles, which we've only just started to recover from really, and we've just got to live with it. Its one reason for caution on talks of promotion imho. Do agree with recalling Ritchie though, not sure most fans really understand why he's gone! I don't think we should read too much into the 'change of luck' thing though Dave, we'll keep going and we'll be OK.
14/11/2010 08:24:00
The Ritchie situation is a strange conundrum, Joel Ward gets a regular chance to show how much it means to him to play for his team, Ritchie however is loaned from club to club, scoring goals and winning awards, surely he has earned a t least a spot on the bench?
14/11/2010 08:54:00
Dave, this column needs to be renamed Dave's midnight munchies. Its not all financial mismanagement Dave. Discussed Gekas yesterday with a few of the "intelligentsia" ( Rug, Chix Lemmi and his boss) at the Vital office in Rutland Road. Gekas was a Goal Scorer before he came to pmpey and immeadiately after and it seems the only person in football he cannot abide is Paul Hart- wonder why that might be? Mike Williamson was similalrly unimpressed with a personality of the club, but i thik he was sold to prevent Watford going under. I think Cotterille plays Ward because he simply has to, he doesnt like Ciftci and Ritchie ruins the bid for emergency loan signings- there could of course also be the financial off set of salary matter. But i am suroprised the FL are letting us get away with that- praps they arent. Reality, the manager is not a genius but he is the manager, announces it daily and wont listen to fans anyway. Agreed with Tracy in that Kitson thing is nothing to do with change of luck - its all about lack of effort- he did it at Reading and Stoke; when he can be bothered it wll come back to him ala Nugent. I was told there was a fit and plays clause in his contract but i dont see how Cot would allow it. Pleased for the small creditors although i think Pukka Pies have a bludie nerve, i've personally put them back in credit in the last four weeks, three if you count away games . This payment process also means the Charity payments are happening - an essential olive branch to the community. I might buy Balou a pompey hat - no Mr Chanrai, trust me -it really does look better.
14/11/2010 09:45:00
As ever, a cracking Toast. I'll probably be the one of the few, if not the solitary blue at Moss Lane for the Man U game in the youth cup. It's only a 20 minute walk away, and my second home watching Alty in the Blue Square Premier.
Alty Blue
14/11/2010 11:33:00
I find the Ritchie situation particularly annoying and it makes me doubt Cotterill. If he wants to get rid of him, do it and replace him. With Ritchie, we could have had players in their proper postions in recent weeks and still be on our unbeaten run.
17/11/2010 13:39:00
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