Toast Season 4 # 23 - Lucky Thirteen
Four successive wins and four clean sheets how things have changed in the last two weeks. In fact Pompey have now gone 416 minutes since they last conceded. So one minute Pompey are staring back to back relegations in the face, the next they are thirteen points above the drop zone and sitting comfortably in thirteenth place with two home games against clubs in the bottom three to come this week. More to the point the play offs are now only ten points away!
With the bottom three all losing yesterday surely all but the most pessimistic fan must now think relegation is not on the agenda. Remember we are one point better off than Blackpool were at the same stage last season and we know what happened to the Seasiders. There are not many fans who really would like promotion yet but we can dream and maybe the end of the season can at least be enjoyed more that perhaps we thought a few weeks ago.
The strange thing about the Championship this is how inconsistent teams have been this season stringing together great runs and then hitting the buffers. In our recent climb up the table we have passed Derby and Coventry going in the opposite direction; they were both fancied play off contenders. The next team we can pass are Watford who after winning seven on the trot have now gone nine games without a win!
On the Sky Sports News special earlier in the week Steve Cotterill offered his thanks to the managers who had loaned his players in his hour of need and there is no doubt that they have played a major role this season. On Tuesday Richie De Laet was awarded the man of the match by the sponsors and yesterday Dave Cotterill on loan from Swansea proved the match winner making one and scoring the other. David Nugent scored his goal as usual against the Tractor boys and after withstanding intense pressure Pompey jumped on the coach home with three more points in their pockets.
Change of plans
Quite a number of fans were planning a trip to Pompey`s final match of the season at Scunthorpe. Well the game has been brought forward a day.
The eagerly awaited Glanford Park clash will now kick-off at 12.45pm on Saturday, May 7 - as will all of the final round of npower Championship fixtures for some reason.
Bet that has ruined a few travel plans.
Due to essential maintenance work, the phone systems at Portsmouth Football Club will be down from 2pm on Monday, February 28.
It is hoped that they should be back up and running again for the start of business on Tuesday, March 1. Tickets for the Scunthorpe game on Tuesday can be booked on-line or in person during that time.
Incident at Marylebone after Cup Final
We at Vital Pompey are always keen to help the Football Supporters' Federation as they work hard for the lot of the normal football supporter. I received a plea from them the other day which I am pleased to pass on.
There was an incident in Marylebone between The Perseverance pub, Shroton Grove and The Globe, Lisson Grove between 7 and 8 pm after the Cup Final. Were you there?
Mostly Chelsea fans occupied The Globe and Portsmouth fans were at The Perseverance.
An accused fan has contacted the Football Supporters` Federation for help and is in court soon. We are still gathering information and witness statements.
If you were there and can provide any evidence at all relating to this, can you please contact me, either by phone on 01288381259 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm a Pompey fan (writes Ken) myself and anything you tell me can be in the strictest confidence.
History Lesson -27th February
We go back to 1988 for this week's lesson and a visit of Liverpool to Fratton Park. Pompey arrived at the game with a run of ten unbeaten games behind them but we were playing the mighty Liverpool.
Crowds that season had been very disappointing. Fratton Park in those days had a capacity of 28,000 and the biggest crowd to date had been 22,000 for the visit of Man Utd. Liverpool were on their way to the title and arrived on a twenty six game undefeated run - so something had to give.
Fratton was packed to the rafters well before kick off and 28,112 made it inside and the atmosphere was electric. Pompey really made the Reds work for their win with Mick Quinn missing a couple of chances and having a goal disallowed. John Barnes put the visitors ahead shortly after half time with a shot deflected in off Billy Gilbert and same player eventually put Pompey out of their misery with a second five minutes from time.
It was one of those great Fratton Park occasions when the opposition were made to sweat and feel uncomfortable. It had been a troubled season as John Deacon sought to sell the club and recover some of his investment over the past fifteen years. Their had been no real money spent on the side and the only major signing Ian Baird scored only one goal. Fans favourite Mick Kennedy had been sold to Bradford City for £250,000 in early January.
After the Liverpool defeat Pompey were to win only one more game before the end of the season - at Tottenham - and finished in nineteenth position out of twenty one teams. Watford and Oxford were also relegated along with Chelsea who lost out in the play-offs. The league was undergoing the change to twenty in the top division in those days.
An interesting fact about that season was Pompey were to win three away games - at Norwich, Southampton and Spurs - and Barry Horne scored in each of those matches - his only three goals of the season!!
The death of Dean Richards yesterday at just thirty six was very sad news for the football fraternity. Dean was a more than useful defender for Wolves, Southampton and Spurs.
During his spell at Spurs, Richards began to suffer from dizzy spells and headaches and he was forced to retire in 2005 after taking medical advice. The terrible irony of his Spurs career was his initial squad number was 36.
In 2007 Richards was made youth-team coach at Bradford City, his hometown club and where he started his career.
Our heartfelt condolences go to Dean's family on this very sad occasion.