Date:Sunday December 15 2013
Fans always talk about the new manager effect well yesterday at Fratton Park it was not to be seen. Newport County who share their Rodney Parade ground with a rugby union club looked like they had brought the wrong team with them but they simply bossed a lightweight Pompey and two goals in three second half minutes sealed their victory.
Richie Barker fielded what I might call their strongest side and but for a spell at the back end of the first period they rarely played the football the new boss would have liked. County have f course just come out of the Conference and fans were talking about Pompey replacing them next season with performances like this. It is too early to about relegation but when you can`t score goals and let them in with such regularity then who knows.
Jed Wallace was used as a late substitute, on for an ineffective Sherlock Holmes, made a couple of runs at the visiting defence and hit the woodwork twice but it was all too little too late. Our old friend at Toast referee Darren Deadman did not help matters with some strange decisions at crucial times.
So how does Richie view this? Well as always I am writing this before any comment has come out but I would reckon it will be along the lines of Rome not being built in a day and I am beginning to learn about my players etc. What will he have learnt? His defence is poor and Joe Devera is not the player we were led to believe when he signed. The two wide men, Barcham and Holmes are only really on their game in short spells and central midfield cannot get the ball down and create chances. Up front Connolly and Agyemang have seen better days but should be able to do more in this company.
Richie has worked on the dead balls in training and using Potts to take most of them seemed to work and Pompey did cause the visitors some problems from them. Another week and then a trip to Bristol Rovers beckons. The hosts would move above Pompey with a win and the draught of relegation would grow a little stronger. This is where Richie will start to earn his corn.
That was Newport`s first visit to Fratton Park since 1982. In those days we seemed to play them every week but then we won promotion and County were to lose their league status in 1988 and within a year they had disappeared altogether. But they reformed and fought their way back through the Hellenic League until returning to the Football League last May. The path back was fraught with legal cases, ground changes and a lot more but they made it back and must take immense credit for that.
Just a quick reminder for those intending to go the Boxing Day clash with Dagenham and Redbridge the game kicks off at 1:00pm - surprised how many did not know that when we have the Vital Pompey huddle in the Rutland before the game.
Did you know?
Turned on the telly on Friday hoping to get a glimpse of all time Pompey hero John Utaka in action for Montpelier against Saint Etienne only to discover that the big man is now playing his football in Turkey for Sivasspor a club I will admit I had not heard of. Their manager is a little better known one Roberto Carlos.
On the subject of new clubs on the European block did you notice the names of some of the qualifiers from the round robin stage of the Europa League, quite a few new names to me.
Good for Guy
Guy has got a new job with Crawley Town as a coach; interestingly working for his manger John Gregory. This is great news for all Pompey fans who will want to say a big thank you an sorry it did not work out. But thanks for your efforts in very difficult circumstances. Chance to see him in the week on BT Sport when Crawley meet Bristol Rovers on Wednesday night - chance to size up our next opponents to.
Why is Gregory back in football I was asked the other day? The answer is that John has been coaching abroad in Israel and Kazakhstan until recently. I think that Gregory has now managed at least ten different clubs.
Servants from the past
Pompey have recently announced the loss of two real stalwarts of the boardroom from the past.
Sir Alfred Blake died recently in his South Carolina home, aged 98. He was born in Gosport and went on to become Lord Mayor of Portsmouth in 1958, having previously been a local councillor. He was Knighted by the Queen in 1979, it was in his role as Pompey`s life-vice president in 1972 that Sir Alfred introduced John Deacon, who went on to become owner, to the club.
Local businessman Peter Faulkner recently died at the age of 93 following a long illness. He became a Pompey director between 1971 and 1976, in a bid to strengthen the ties between the club and non-league neighbours Waterlooville, where he was chairman.
Peter will best be remembered for his part in the original SOS Pompey campaign he chaired the famous meeting in the Guildhall when the troops were made aware of the problems and put to action. I remember that £1,009 was raised in the collection that night which was quite a sum back then. Peter also gave an impassioned plea for a 10,000 plus gate in the coming Saturday game with Reading. He got his wish as 11,937 turned up as Pompey went on a run of eleven winless games.
Things have never changed really in the life of a Pompey fan!
We mourn the passing of two great Pompey men,
You can bet on ...
Last week in the comments Chix wrote that next week`s column had already been written after the Sam Sodje admissions. Well I do not intend to make any comment on that subject as it has nothing to do with Pompey or indeed football. It is more to do with the levels of betting available.
Back in my day you have the pools and fixed odds and even then there were a few fixing scandals involving a few clubs including Pompey in 1962 and a few big name players. Now of course you can bet on anything on-line, in play etc.etc. That of course means that individual players can influence things more easily and hence the game needs to introduce a system of self policing.
What makes things more difficult is the levels of sponsorship especially from the betting and gambling industry. It made me laugh last weekend when a manager was being interviewed on the subject he was stood in front of a placard Sky Bet Football League!
With demands of the Xmas period almost upon us I was thinking about when we might produce editions in the next couple of weeks. I am away next weekend visiting the grand children so there will be a guest columnist writing Toast. Please look after this mystery guest Toasters and no such lines such as burnt toast. Will try and put one together around Xmas though but if not Happy Christmas all and thanks for reading!
Date:Sunday December 15 2013
Stats: Pompey v Cheltenham (Sunday March 9 2014)
On this day in history...9th March (Sunday March 9 2014)
Toast 7#31 - Pompey not at the races (Sunday March 9 2014)
On this day in history...8th March (Saturday March 8 2014)
Pompey predictions league update #34 (Friday March 7 2014)
Life's a pitch... (Friday March 7 2014)
Mani talks planned (Friday March 7 2014)
Amen to that! - Player contracts (Friday March 7 2014)
On this day in history...7th March (Friday March 7 2014)
On this day in history...6th March (Thursday March 6 2014)
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