Toast Season 5 #16 - are there troubles ahead?
Pompey got a point yesterday afternoon from a very strange game. The first half was appalling and neither side had a shot on target except for Joel Ward whose effort was saved by Kasper Schmeichel and then ruled out for offside.
The second opened with the home side obviously smarting from the words of new boss Michael Appleton and only a brilliant save from Schmeichel prevented Dave Kitson putting Pompey in front. The game then returned to the earlier mediocrity until midway through the half acting skipper David Norris was found by Hayden Mullins and his shot was deflected past Schmeichel.
The lead was to last only six minutes and it was inevitably David Nugent with a fine twenty five yard strike that tied things up at 1-1. Straight from the kick off though Pompey broke and Norris struck the angle of the bar and the left hand post and Scmeichel had to scramble across goal to keep out Joel Ward's follow up effort.
The game then petered out and the single point now leaves Pompey just a single point above the bottom three. With no game in midweek as Birmingham City are in Europa cup action so some club below us may make a move.
The game was pretty poor fare for the 14,391 crowd, with even the second half only bursting to life in fits and starts. Pompey sadly missed both Liam Lawrence and Luke Varney (tight hamstring) who give both width and creativity to the side. With them Appy played a 4-2-3-1 formation with Mullins and George Thorne in the holding roles. Thorne looked a very promising player for one just eighteen but fellow debutant Joe Mattock looked unsteady at left back and while he does have a left foot and gives more balance to the side he is not as defensively sound and the man he replaced Tal Ben Haim.
Thorne grew in stature as the game went on and was busy organising players around him which is a very good sign for one so young. Mattock however seemed reluctant to go forward and misplaced too many headers and passes for my liking; (any fans wondering why Mattock received so much abuse from the visiting fans need to know that Leicester sold him to West Brom and last year he was convicted of affray in Leicester nightclub his victims included two women). Still it was a first game and I will reserve judgement for now.
That only leave the performance of referee Philip Gibbs and I will let others perhaps comment on his poor display in the comments below.
Coventry City at home next Saturday is now a big game for the team and boss Appy as he tries to find his feet in league management. It was strange yesterday that he made no changes when the team was so clearly misfiring and Kitson in obvious need of support up top. What he said at half time got the team playing but he still has a lot to learn I think.
Did you all see the Prince`s goal against Barcelona? Something special that and how much did we sell him for in the 2010 fire sale?
Mind you he has played games for Milan this season scoring six goals but has picked up two red cards to boot.
The current situation
The main subject on the lips of all fans yesterday was of course the situation concerning chairman Vladimir Antonov. The not knowing is the worst part of it all and quite where things going to end up.
It appears as though the extradition order could be protracted, as they usually are, and the freezing of assets will mean that Roman Dubov will have to make every attempt to keep his own businesses alive.
The Pompey Trust is appealing for calm and in a statement earlier in the week they said 'Although it is important that we try to understand how PFC will be affected there is likely to be limited information forthcoming in the near future. What is important is that we work to safeguard the future of PFC and the PST is already trying enlist the support of relevant parties.
It is important to stress that the majority of those at PFC are not connected with any of these stories and continue to work for the benefit of the club. We have been in discussion with senior management at the club and will continue to encourage an open dialogue, with an aim to ensure supporters are kept up to date with the latest facts.
It is very disappointing to see that PFC is once again having its image tarnished by news that is linked to one of its owners and we are appealing to any Fans or interested parties to contact us if they have information or relevant skills that can help us in our understanding and reacting to this latest situation. It will be received in the strictest confidence.`
To that end at the Fans conference meeting yesterday it was agree to seek an urgent meeting with Chief Exective, David Lampitt and Finance Director John Redgate. Any time, any place will be the invitation and hopefully next Saturday morning - whatever I will try by hardest to get there and Chix is also keen to represent Vital Pompey.
Ken Malley who was at yesterday`s meeting told me the aim will be to issue one jointly signed statement after the meeting thus showing to the media one united front. We are at present preparing a list of questions to ask David Lampitt to address - I will keep you fully informed of any developments are the week progresses.
Conference member, Susan Maskell, wrote a brilliant article on the subject and all the relevant facts are included - it is not for those of a nervous disposition. Read it here
Park yer bike sir!!
Eddie was telling one of his favourite stories last week about storing bikes in his house outside Fratton Park. The whole of the ground floor was utilised the piano scratched and the décor in the hallway particularly ruined just to squeeze in another few pennies worth.
Ed was put in charge by his father as he was off to the game leaving his young son to stow the bikes wherever he could and collect the money. The main problem was when the owners returned early disgruntled with the action (yesterday for example) he had to attempt to extricate the vehicle from the corner of the back room or simply tell them 'you will have to wait'.
In those days of course everybody in Portsmouth owned a bike as could be witnessed in Edinburgh Road when the Dockyard closed at four (or was it forty thirty?) When Pompey were at home out came the bikes again and of course the owner needed somewhere safe to leave it. In those days pre 1965ish just about every house or forecourt in Frogmore, Ruskin, Carisbrooke and Apsley Roads was full of them. As you would leave the ground after the game they would be being handed back over the front wall to an eager owner who wanted to take advantage of the flat land that is Portsea Island.
So both clubs have tickets left for the derby match which is now just twenty one days away and both clubs are having problems selling their tickets. A combination of live TV coverage, bubbles and the price probably are to blame but I expect they will go eventually.
Perhaps the example shown by South Yorkshire neighbours Doncaster Rovers and Barnsley is one to follow. After discussions between the clubs they decided to get are many fans from both sides was to reduce prices by up to £7 for adults. The same will apply to the return game in the new year.