Toast Season 4 # 26 - Foxes outfoxed
Pompey completed the league double over Leicester City yesterday for the first time since 1929/30 and also notched their first win at the Walker's Stadium (they only won twice at Filbert Street). A solitary David Nugent strike after thirteen minutes proved enough for the three points and means that the table is now really interesting. The goal followed a long throw from Greg Halford that the Foxes defence failed to clear and Nugent scored with a neat side foot volley to send the 1,001 visiting fans home happy.
That was in fact the only Pompey effort on target during the ninety minutes and after substitute Joel Ward missed an open goal Pompey were forced to hold on at the end.
With defeats for Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Burnley and Watford, Pompey are now just six points off the play offs and with nine games left it will make the end of the season interesting to say the least. Next weeks trip to Reading who are seventh now takes on even more interest. For the pessimists among you (and you know who you are!) Pompey are almost mathematically safe now!
Room to let?
I read this week that Pompey are seeking to recruit accommodation providers for young professional football apprentices (aged 16-18) in the local area. You must live within two miles of Fratton Park and be prepared to be trained in how to get the best out of the youngsters.
I doubt it will quite like the regime that Duggie Reid would have run with his wife back in the 50s and 60s when he had the young apprentices under his wing in the club 'crèche' when they had to be in bed by ten, no drinking etc etc.
But on the plus side if you would like to take on the role you do get paid!! Interested? Well write to Jon Slater at the club. You will require two referees` names to speak for you too - not preferably any of the Championship referees though!
Complex pricing structure
I noticed the prices for yesterday`s Leicester game were £26 for adults, £22 for seniors (60+), £16 for young adults (18-21), £10 for Juniors (12-17), £5 for juniors (8-11) and £3 for under eights (must be accompanied by an adult). Well that is quite a list and good to see the Foxes are trying to offer discounts for most groups but what about all the arguments about how old people are? Yes I know they say proof age for concessions but for eight year olds?
Anyway I can`t remember how old I am, so how do I get on?
History Lesson - Fortress Fratton?
I was sat snoozing through the second half of last Saturday`s goalless draw when my eyes focused onto the Fortress Fratton sign near where John Westwood`s Punch and Judy stall used to be and it got be thinking is this really a fortress?
Yes it can have an unbelievable atmosphere at times and that can intimidate inexperienced opposition but surely the home results over the years hardly prove the case for Fortress Fratton, do they? I accept we are currently on a six game unbeaten home run but before that we went six without a win!!
A look back in the records show that since the war Pompey have only completed one league season with an unbeaten home record; that perhaps unsurprisingly was in 1948/49 when the club won the Football League Championship for the first time. That season the club only dropped three home points when being held to draws by Bolton, Blackpool and Manchester United. Those games came in a run of four matches; the other game being the famous Golden Jubilee match with Arsenal that the Blues won 4-1.
I believe that rather than Fortress Fratton it is more a matter of good home season equals good season and poor home season equals relegation. Since the war the two worst runs at home came firstly in 1959 when Pompey went sixteen games without a home win until they beat Plymouth 1-0 in October having been relegated from the First Division in the process. That Plymouth game coincidentally marked my first ever visit to Fratton Park at the tender age of eight.
And then in 1975 it was fourteen games without win until Carlisle United were beaten 1-0 with local boy Billy Eames the scorer. That was in January 1976 and the season ended in relegation.
Now I believe that Fortress Fratton is an urban myth - Pompey have never been the best of clubs on their travels and rely on home form to determine their season, again 48/49 proves my point when Pompey`s away form was only just better than that of Huddersfield and they only avoided relegation by one point.
Season ticket sales - Trust statement
With the announcement of the release of season tickets and the arrangements for their sale on Friday came uproar from many fans. The Pompey Supporters Trust echoed this and released the following statement on their website.
We would like to express our disappointment at the recent 2011/12 season ticket price announcement made by PFC, and can confirm that we have already written to David Lampitt with our views.
In times of austerity when many Pompey fans struggle to find the money to pay for life's basic necessities it seems careless for Pompey to introduce such steep rises. Although we recognise the need to increase VAT we do not accept the Football League levy argument as it is long established and a charge PFC should have been paying this season.
There are thousands of fans who for various reasons, many of which might be outside of their control, have to pick and chose their games, for those the impact is more severe. For a newly defined category A game an adult will see an increase of 30%, or worse still bought on the day of the game 39%.
Unfortunately it is not just the rise in prices that will have an impact but the manner in which people will be asked to pay. For example:
• Early bird price only offered until the end of March
• Early bird not available if paying by debit/credit card
• Existing season ticket holder's seats held only until end of April
The mechanism for payment is obviously geared around getting people to part with their hard earned money as soon as possible, with existing season ticket holders wishing to retain their seat being asked to pay for next year before this season is even finished.
Further to all of the above the move to make tickets bought on a match day even more expensive seems to counteract the advice from PST and other supporters groups to encourage those who wish to make a last minute decision to come along to Fratton Park.
In summary the PST feels that the majority of supporters will be dismayed by this announcement and see it as a yet another reason why their football club has little or no respect for its fans. The fact that no attempt was made to discuss the idea with groups such as the Supporters Conference does little to counter that argument. Undoubtedly season ticket renewal numbers will be hit, but it is important that fans continue to find ways in which they can make public their passion for this great football club.
I must totally echo those words and that is why I have produced the statement in full. Less than two weeks to find the cash (and only cash is acceptable) the option is an 'interest free' credit deal with Zebra Finance who will charge an admin fee!! Come on Pompey listen to the fans please if you want to boost your cash flow situation otherwise fans may vote with their feet!
Last week I asked you of the Pompey players that started the Middlesbrough game what was different about Dave Kitson and Ricardo Rocca compared to the other outfield men? Well the answer was they were both wearing long sleeved shirts and congratulations to pompeyyong who got it right!!
No I am not referring to the Harry J Allstars reggae record popular on the terraces in the seventies but the man appointed to oversee the liquidation of the former Portsmouth City Football Club Ltd.
Baker Tilly are the firm given the task and the man heading the operation is former Wimbledon reserve goalkeeper David Hudson. He told the BBC 'The first thing we do is get hold of all the records, going back years if need be. Then we would want to interview all the key personnel. We need to get a feel for what went wrong. The questions we will be asking is were assets undersold and were there any transactions that took place whilst the company was insolvent that we could recover through the courts. We will also investigate what the company's directors did and liaise with the Official Receiver to see if charges are appropriate.'
Now that has to be some good news at last coming out of the whole sorry affair.
On a related subject an HMRC lawyer at Plymouth Argyle's recent hearing told a reporter his office was now on to its 29th folder in the Pompey case!
Click here to read the article