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Toast 7#20 - Fred Brown who never won remembered

No game yesterday because of the FA Cup Second Round and of course Pompey are already out of the competition. Incidentally the Second Round is an unusual calling place for Pompey in fact they have not won a game at this stage since 1979/80. In took two replays against Wimbledon and two years as the game started on December 18 at Plough Lane and finished at the same venue in the second replay with a Jeff Hemmerman winner.

The initial replay at Fratton Park was played on Christmas Eve which is the only time fans have had to wait to celebrate the festive season since the war! Long walk home for me after extra-time and trains had stopped running! That was also the season when Middlesbrough were almost beaten in round three but Hemmerman`s goal was ruled out for offside - the crowd that night was 31,743 - not bad for a fourth division side.

Pompey in fact have only ever won a second round game at the first attempt and the victims were mighty Minehead back in 1976. (That is under the current FA Cup format)

Fred Brown 1931 - 2013

I was made aware of the death of former Pompey goalkeeper Fred Brown this week. Fred has been suffering from a brain tumour and was a few days short of his eighty second birthday.

Fred was born in Stratford, East London on 6th December 1931 and joined Leytonstone on leaving school before signing for Aldershot 1952. As a regular at the Recreation Ground he played over 100 games for the Shots and was spotted by West Bromwich Albion and moved to the Midlands in 1955.

Fred struggled to make the first team at the Hawthorns and managed just eleven appearances- before handing in a transfer request. Meanwhile Pompey had just changed managers and new boss Freddie Cox who had a motto 'I only sign players I know` heard of Brown being available and made him his first signing - Cox had been on the staff at West Brom when Brown was there.

Fred though had to bide his time though as first choice keeper at the time was Norman Uprichard a Northern Ireland International. However 1958/59 was a wretched season for Pompey and over the Christmas period in three games Uprichard conceded eighteen goals in three games and Fred got his chance making his debut in a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest at Fratton Park on 3 January 1959. He played in almost all the remaining games that season at Pompey were relegated from the top flight.

He made two more starts the next campaign and was replaced by Dick Beattie and he eventually joined Poole Town. He played in eighteen league games and never finished on the winning side. He had more success in the FA Cup though with a couple of triumphs. You will remember that when Pompey went to Accrington in August I told you we had been there before in the FA Cup - Fred played in that game.

The nearest Fred got to a win bonus was at White Hart Lane when Spurs equalised in the 89th minute to draw 4-4. They were also two up at home to Manchester City but ended up losing 4-3!

We have an exclusive picture here of Fred taken with Vital Pompey stalwart pompeygray who met Fred by chance. Fred`s daughter spotted gray in a Pompey shirt who was staying with friends in the Guildford area when on a visit from Australia. She told gray that her father once played for Pompey and he would love to meet and fans. She collected her dad and the two spent a hours sipping beer and talking Pompey as you can see from our picture.

Fred made a great play that all he wanted was to have won a league game at Pompey and it was his one great regret. There is going to be a Memorial Service for Fred on the 15th December. Vital Pompey would like to send our sympathy to daughter Kim and other members of his family.

Turning up the heat

It was certainly a cold night at Fratton Park last Wednesday especially during the first half when Pompey were abysmal. One fan close by asked why clubs do not install central heating systems in stands especially with the price you pay for a ticket. Another fan added that is clubs can afford under soil heating why not under seat heating?

I had of course to put them right by asking the question 'have you ever been to Burnley?` Then I told them the story about how when the Cricket Field Stand was built in the late sixties they incorporated pipes to provide heat under the seats. The problem was the running costs and after just one game Chairman Bob Lord ordered the system to be switched off! Out of interest that stand now houses away fans.

What I can`t understand is why so many fans in and around where I sit seem to have moved.

Well I almost did

You will all of course be avid readers of the 'on this day` column that appears every morning. Well this week storageMatt wrote in the comments - 'A few thumpings today, not least at Carlisle in 1970. Any of us who would have gone all that way for that match deserved a medal. I didn't, I was only 4 & my mum wouldn't let me go. Thank you mum.`

Well Matt I almost did! A group of us decided that although there was no official travel planned we had to make the trip the Northern outpost of the Football League and I was detailed to organise a coach.

Rand a few companies and got prices and eventually got a price of 300 leaving on Friday night before the game. Well we tried and tried to get 6 of as many as possible but with a week remaining it was obvious that we would have to abort and hand back the money etc.. We were disappointed but that almost changed to elation when we discovered the result especially being three down in twelve minutes!!

New Boss

So it looks like Ronnie Barker is set to be named the new Pompey manager tomorrow. Next week`s Toast we plan to have a look at the incoming manager and tell you all about his career. Well that is the plan anyway!!

Whatever the Toast team wish him every success and we are all right behind him!

and finally... A speedy recovery to Danny East from that horrific looking injury. The midweek games at the Park this season have been dramatic, with the Wycombe freak storm, the delayed start with Southend and then Danny's crash landing.


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The Journalist

Writer: eastneydave Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday December 8 2013

Time: 1:00AM

Your Comments

Good article. RIP Fred Brown. Poor guy, can understand his regret - especially with Pompey dropping out of the top tier - but that is still some 'stat' - never being on the winning side in the League. "So it looks like Ronnie Barker" - that's 2 places now. Is it his nickname, or am I missing something, and Ronnie has 'regenerated' - with presumably Mr Corbett as D.O.F?
scott mc
..meant to say - yes, good news on Danny East, looked nasty - and first tweet from his was not encouraging. He may not have yet 'pulled up trees', but is whole-hearted and that always goes down well here. I think we've yet to see the best of him, but hopefully we will soon.
scott mc
Good read as usual, Dave. RIP Fred. Commiserations to his family.
A great Toast as always Dave & team ... didn't know much about Fred Brown but a true Pompey gent it seems. As I write your next edition is being written for you thanks to Sam Sodje !
Yes Chix a true Gent, quite humble and great to talk too. I had the pleasure of reading his scrapbook with a great write-up as he made his 1st Division Debut for West Brom v Man City in a 2-0 loss. Bert Trautman was at the other end.
Wow .. that sounds like an afternoon to remember it's great to meet these guys and it gives you a real sense of honour and togetherness .. I spent an afternoon with Len Phillips ten or so years he passed away .... His stories and memories were something to treasure
Better late than never, great read as always & thanks for the mention. As for those second round replays, I was there xmas eve 1979, just turned 13, amazing my mum let go but thanks mum.

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