Toast Season 4 # 14 - Canary stuffing season!
They say that Canaries are a miner's best friend well after yesterday they will be every Pompey fans too. The home side missed chance after chance and Pompey took advantage of their generosity to nick the points with two late goals. That gives the Blues back to back away wins against sides in the play off zone and shows that they are how back on track after the hiccup in November.
Back in the top half with a game in hand against most of the clubs around them Pompey are now surely on their way to a promotion challenge rather than the anticipated relegation struggle. Some investment is needed in January and things may be rosy once more. It has to be noted that we had only five subs again yesterday.
It was another tale of two halves where the half time break made the difference. Norwich seemed to have total control in the first period but after Stevie C had his say Pompey got a foothold in the game and after Liam Lawrence hit the post David Nugent set up Dave Kitson for the opener and a late, late Greg Halford penalty sealed the victory after more good work from Nugent. By all accounts the Pompey man of the match was a hard worked Jamie Ashdown.
The petulance shown by home defender Leon Barnett in throwing the ball at referee Hooper after being shown a second yellow card will doubtless land him in hot water with the Football League.
Scunny visit Fratton Park next Saturday when three more points will set up an interesting Christmas period. With the top two both losing this weekend and the bottom clubs again picking up points the table is just getting so tight that a run like we had in October could put us well into the play off arena.
I saw a story in one of the free London papers this week about a Pompey fan who travelled all the way from South Africa last Saturday only for the game to be called off!! Cost was over £1,000! Shame then the decision was taken so early but heh I cannot keep going on about it can I?
Happily Plymouth were given a stay of execution by the High Court this week as the HMRC continued their efforts to wind up as many Football League clubs as possible. Hopefully come February they will be able to satisfy the Revenue and find a way forward. They had asked for 56 days' grace at Wednesday's hearing, but perhaps surprisingly were given 63 by the registrar.
Good luck Argyle.
Award season approaching
I am told that the late J.L. Carr, a fine English writer, teacher, sports-lover and eccentric, once wrote a book called 'How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup`. It was about a village team which eventually got through to the Cup Final, beating Glasgow Rangers at Wembley.
Well if the voters of this year`s sporting awards are looking for a team of 2010 there can be no better candidate that the Pompey team that reached the Cup Final back in May. They were a collection of players begged, stolen and borrowed from the four corners of the football globe. Many of them had not been paid on time for months and a number of them were hardly fit enough to walk.
They played from the heart along with the manager who led them. Avram Grant and they completed that remarkable achievement of reaching a Wembley final that all players dream of.
Standing on the terraces
Remember when we could all stand legally and watch a game wherever you wanted in the ground well maybe those days might be returning.
A Private members bill is being launched by the Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, Don Foster. It would allow clubs in the top two divisions to erect standing areas. Critics say there is no demand by the Football Supports Federation say 90% of its 180,000 members support the move.
The Lib Dems included the return of terracing in their manifesto back in the summer and supporters groups were hoping that after they formed part of the coalition there may be a change in the legislation. You only have to look around the top two divisions to see exactly how many fans stand throughout the game. It tends to be those behind the goals and surely it would be far safer for this standing to be done without the hindrance of a seat between rows.
UEFA do not allow standing at any games in their competitions and clubs around Europe have to install temporary seating or risk a huge fall in capacity. This is particularly prevalent in Germany where clubs such as Dortmund and Schalke have huge terraced areas and it can take several days to install the temporary benches.
Private members Bills rarely become law but let`s hope this one will break the mould.
Linvoy's Carol evening
A final reminder that tomorrow (13 December) sees the annual Carol Concert at Fratton Park. The fun all starts in the Victory Suite at 6pm with coffee, mulled wine and free mince pies. The carols start at 7pm with the local Salvation Army band and school choirs.
The car park is free too so why not go along and join in the festivities?
Did you know that between 27 December 1994 and 14 January 1995 (18 days) Pompey played four home games all against sides starting with a 'B'? Barnsley, Burnley, Bolton and Bristol City - they won three and only drew with Bristol City.
Talking of Bs were are of course off to Brighton in the third round of the FA Cup but don`t count any chickens yet. Pompey's last two visits to our eastern neighbours in Cup games have both ended in 1-0 defeats.
In 1969 we fell to an Alex Dawson goal in the League Cup - that was my first visit to the old Goldstone Ground. Then in 1993 we lost by the same score in the FA Cup third round - strangely that was the first FA Cup game after the semi final heroics against Liverpool; now it comes straight after a Cup Final.
Funny how the draw does that!