Date:Sunday March 27 2011
Have you put you clocks forward today? Those in the UK anyway.
History Lesson - No game
With the International break this weekend Pompey had no game which was a welcome break allowing the players a few well earned days off. Steve Cotterill took the chance to jet off to Asia as well to assess facilities on offer for the club pre-season tour in July and August. Of course it is a shame that the break came when the team are performing so well but with SC claiming that at the Walkers Stadium last Saturday half the team finished limping.
This week's history lesson looks back on days when Pompey had no game yet changed divisions. We start back in 1987, the 5th of May to be precise when promotion back to the op flight was confirmed in deepest Shropshire.
The previous day Pompey fans had travelled up the A3 in large numbers to Selhurst Park knowing a win would seal promotion. Inside the ground their was a carnival atmosphere and before the game started the home side made their award for their youth player of the season to a certain John Salako. Who? Asked the visiting hoards a comment they would live to regret.
Pompey had failed to beat Crystal Palace on their own ground since December 1966 when Albert McCann and Ray Hiron sealed a 2-0 win the South London snow (yes, I was there). That record had to be broken on this day surely as a Pompey side with all to gain game up against a mid table side already on their summer holidays - although Palace would finish sixth.
The Pompey team that day strangely was the same eleven that started the first game of the season at Brighton - Pompey in fact used only nineteen players in total that campaign and one of them Liam Daish played just once. The Palace side contained two future England internationals in Ian Wright and substitute Salako.
The game, a Bank Holiday noon kick off, was a low key affair in the early summer sunshine and Pompey found it difficult to raise their game and despite an attempt from Paul Mariner being ruled out rightly for offside the game seemed to be heading for a goalless draw. Then cruelly for Pompey with just three minutes on the clock Salako on as a sub crossed for Ian Wright to sweep home. Their was still time for Vince Hilare back on his old stomping ground being sent off for a shove on Andy Gray.
We trooped out of the ground afterwards feeling deflated but knowing that Oldham had to win at Shrewsbury the next following night. We had to sit huddled round the radio listening to the commentary with fingers crossed. I remember Kenny Swain was a guest on Radio Solent that night and he was eventually to have plenty to celebrate as two late goals from the Shrews handed Pompey a place in the First Division. Me? I had a beer in the front room much rather have had it with 10,000 others in Thornton Heath!!
The end of the season party was dampened with the final game against Sheffield United also being lost to goals from Peter Withe and Peter Beagrie after a Mick Quinn opener. The day was famous for fans climbing the floodlight pylons, spilling into the disused section of the Fratton End and several pitch invasions. There was plenty to be happy about but two wins would have won us the title which after several years of knocking on the door we probably deserved.
The other occasion we changed divisions without playing does not need a history lesson as it occurred only last April when Pompey were relegated without kicking a ball but this time we had an even bigger party the next day when we beat Spurs at Wembley and 35,000 of us were there to celebrate wildly.
Last week I feared that popular loanee Richie de Laet would be recalled by SAF after United began to lose Right Backs at an incredible rate. In the Champions League game with Marseilles they lost two in John O'Shea and Rafael da Silva (or was it his twin?) with injuries and with Gary Neville now retired and Wes Brown forced to play as a central defender it seemed to me anyway that Richie might return.
Thankfully that was not the case however will he be with us next season is a major doubt. Good news that Greg Halford does not want to get on his bike and return to Wolves but once again Pompey would need to stump up a sizeable fee to persuade his owners to let him go.
The current odds on Pompey for Promotion are 18/1 - anyone fancy a flutter? Is Frippy offering this at the virtual bookies?
Good to see Danny boy back training this week. It is over a year since Danny Webber injured his cruciate at White Hart Lane and he deserves the chance to try and earn a contract for next season.
think there is little doubt that this Government will listen to arguments for safe Standing areas in grounds however strong they are put - but sign the petition please.
Fancy a tifo?
Well you either know what a tifo is or you don't. The word comes from the Italian Tifosi which means a group of fans and tifo has now become the term used for a choreography displayed by fans - or holding cards up to produce a flag, badge etc.
The Supporters conference came up with the idea of a fans day for the last game of the season and the plans are moving forward apace. Let's allow Tom Dearie to tell the story.
The idea for the Fans Day has really taken off, and with the game being moved to the bank holiday Monday we feel it now presents an even better opportunity for us. There will be a proper briefing for everyone on the 9th April at the Fans Conference. This is just to give everyone an idea where we are at present and what's been done since that meeting.
INSIDE THE STADIUM
• TIFO ideas have been drawn up for both the Fratton End and North Stand Lower. We have a meeting next Wednesday (30th) with the club to finalise exactly what we can and cannot do inside the stadium - Our Fans Day options in the stadium are going to be dictated by how this meeting goes. We'd like to do the TIFO obviously but also have the rules relaxed a wee bit to allow tickertape in the Fratton End for example and allow flags to be brought to the game - the same size ones as the cup final ones would be great. The university cheerleaders have also been booked for the game and we've made a tentative approach to the RM band (not sure how the switch in fixture will affect this) We've asked the club about having penalty shoot out involving fans from both teams like we used to and also about donating a raffle prize to allow a youngster to walk out with the teams carrying the matchball - awaiting answers on these.
OUTSIDE THE STADIUM
• For those who have not seen the plan, the area we have been able to secure (thanks Colin!) is as follows - The burger bar in the centre of the car-park. Imagine a line that runs across to McDonalds and a line running to the megastore, we have that ¼ of the car park - this is a great space as it isn`t a perfect square and the additional area that just out is in 'our' ¼!
• We've secured a Beer tent from the portable pub company, kiddies rides, sweet stalls, candy floss stalls, inflatable rides etc and we`ve also managed to get an inflatable table soccer pitch, a rodeo bull ride and the jousting bar too. Hopeful for a dunking tank (pay to drop into a tank of water - now who could we use????)
• We're looking at starting the event at 1pm and running it through till about 6.30 with a view to try and get as many people in the stadium as possible before kick off to make the inside stuff successful.
What we need now is everyone's involvement - all the different supporters groups to put forward either a suggestion for something they can help with or something they`d like to do themselves - For example the Jousting bar will need someone to collect money as its used, perhaps a fans group would like to do that. I'll get a definitive list of what is going to be at the event and what needs to be manned and make sure it's available for the next fans conference. We`ve spoken to the Study Centre and think it may be an idea to have a couple of games between the kids at either Goals or Roko that morning. That's something that will take some planning so if a couple of people would like to do that - Speak up and help out!!
You can get involved by visiting the Website or on Facebook .
As we all wait for news from the club over the pleas from the Trust for more time to pay etc. I can open your eyes to more problems that exist.
Quite a large number of fans do not even know that tickets are on sale. Why you ask? Well the reasons are many but basically because they live outside the city and do not have internet access. I spoke to an older fan on Friday and he told me he only heard about the early bird by overhearing a discussion in a pub. He said 'if you do not use the internet or waste 50p on the News how would you know?' The club have not written to me yet'
And there lies the problem the club have not communicated with their season Ticket Holders other than through the media.
Date:Sunday March 27 2011
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