Toast Season 5 #10 - who needs a manager?
Pompey came out on top of their fiftieth meeting with Barnsley in all competitions. Two goals in a minute just after the hour from Chuck and Reg sealed what in the end was a comfortable victory over the Tykes. The same Barnsley side that before the game were unbeaten on the road.
The first thirty minutes was totally forgettable but then on a break Jacob Butterfield hit the inside of the post from long range. After football that the fans have been screaming for, with Liam Lawrence having switched to the left flank leading by example.
Perhaps it was fitting that the two players departed boss Steve Cotterill was so desperate to sign in the summer should score the goals. David Norris with a right foot shot from the edge of the box and Luke Varney sweeping home a cross after some good work by substitute Dave Kitson. Interestingly Barnsley only touched the ball twice between the two goals.
There were to be more chances after that but the crowd left happy that maybe the corner has been turned and as an added bonus no home players managed to find their way into the referee`s notebook.
It was good to see keeper Stephen Henderson give an assured performance on his home debut and get a deserved clean sheet. Ricardo Rocha also looked at his best restored to the middle of the back four and I thought Tal Ben-Haim had another good game at left back always willing to go forward and was as ever strong in the challenge.
All in all it was a good display and perhaps the only worrying sight was to see Benjani limp off early in the second half.
On the downside was the attendance of just 11,261 which was the lowest since the visit of Tranmere Rovers in March 2000! Yes the game was on TV and the kick off time awkward and Yes, the team have only stuttered through the first two months of the season but a crowd of that size does nothing to persuade the owners to splash out big money on a new stadium.
When we heard that Sky Sports had picked this game for live coverage we thought - strange choice. What to the bosses at Sky know that we don`t? they end up with a game where Pompey started with no manager - big news and they picked it months in advance - now is that luck or some special insight?
Another ordinary week!
Recently I seem to write the same thing as an opening to the Sunday Blog along the lines of 'it has been another strange week in Pompey life`. This week has been no different but the question on everybody`s lips is 'did he go before he was pushed?`
The advantage for Pompey is they get compensation rather than having to pay it out in a couple of weeks time. It seems to be the view held by some that Steve Cotterill was perhaps another two or three defeats away from the boot. That of course is only rumour and we will never know the real truth
Another rumour that was being put around was that SC was the lowest paid manager in the Championship. Rather a strange one that because how can anyone know that? Certainly Pompey have a very limited budget as they struggle to pay off the CVA and satisfy the Football League that they are living within their business plan. There are certainly clubs in this league such as Doncaster and Peterborough that have much smaller budget so how can people circulate such stories?
We left the story last week at the end of the sixties and in that season 1969/70 Pompey had seven home games covered by the local cameras. Ray Hiron was to especially enjoy that term as he scored seven goals in those games including a hat-trick in a Valentines Day massacre of Charlton Athletic.
The next season saw just four games but with another three goal hero, this time Mike Trebilcock on Halloween with Blackburn the victims. That was Trebs second threesome in the month. One off those games was definitely covered for the benefits of East Midland viewers as Leicester came to Fratton Park with a win needed to clinch promotion. City won it 2-1 and celebrated in front of the cameras.
1971/72 was a fairly barred season for coverage with just three home games shown on Sunday afternoon. Richie Reynolds scored in all three and the pick was the fantastic 6-3 win over Fulham in October - the game also was to see Fred Smith score for the only time in a Pompey shirt.
The next season saw the number of games covered reduced to just two and included a 2-0 win over neighbours Brighton with Reynolds again scoring in front of the cameras, Norman Piper netted the second. In 1973/74 the Southern TV cameras did not visit Fratton and all, in fact there may have been some financial reason involved as there were only four editions of the programme all season.
Did you know that Pompey don't train on Wednesdays but have their 'usual day off'. How many of you are given a day off every week?
The latest odds on the new manager are Sean O`Driscoll 5/4, Dave Jones 5/2, Stuart Gray 6-1, Guy Whittingham 6/1 with Alan Curbishley at 8/1. Fancy a long shot Barry Harris the former mascot who was 100/1 on Friday is now available at 1,000/1. Guy has of course now counted himself out of the running.
I did ask everyone to keep their eyes open for faces in the crowd and the only name I have been given is that someone thought they spotted Dave Jones in the stands. Of course Aidy Boothroyd was in the Sky box and did not count himself out of contention - he is available at 8/1.
Next week we have a trip to Ipswich on Tuesday in a fixture where the away team have a better record whether it be at Portman Road or Fratton Park - strange fact that but let`s hope it can continue. On Saturday it is back to the Park for a visit from Doncaster Rovers where we owe them something after they pinched the points last term
The next home game after that is a November the fifth clash with Nottingham Forest!! That should go off with a bang.
And finally if you get a chance go the official site and watch the Ashley Harris goal that has been nominated for September`s Youth Alliance and Academy Goal of the Month award. Chix believes this is the winner. He should know because as we walked to game yesterday I asked him to pick his side for the game if he was the caretaker manager and he got in 100% correct!!
Must go and help my fellow co-ed complete his application for the vacant job. Now what percentage fee should I be looking for do you think?