The Sunday Chimes - Edition #1
Good morning and welcome to a brand new feature here on Vital Pompey, the Sunday Chimes.
You will be aware that Sunday Toast had been running since January 2008 and I thought we were in need of a change. This new project is simply your usual Sunday morning paper with all of its usual parts - the front page, leader column, features, your letters, adverts and the back page which would normally carry the match report. Of course the back page will always come first as that is the way us sports lovers always start there.
Sadly though there will be no cartoons and I am not going to try writing horoscopes! We might just squeeze in the odd joke though.
The Front Page
Greg Dyke this week published the findings of his commission into the future of English football. It came out with a four point plan which has certainly been seen to be controversial to say the least. The plan is for a new League Three with -
• 10 Premier League B teams and 10 from the Conference would take part.
• 20 of the 25 players in the squad should qualify for the home-grown rule.
• No non-EU players allowed.
• 19 of the 25 players in the squad should be under the age of 21.
Football meanwhile has stood solidly against the proposal, Pompey Chief Executive Mark Catlin said 'This is absolutely disgraceful and a complete lack of respect to both the Football League and all its clubs.
'I am very angry - this is not about Portsmouth but the whole Football League structure. Why are they looking to change the most revered league in the world? Why are we having a conversation about changing that?
'All for the chance it might improve the England team. That is one hell of a gamble to take by destroying the whole pyramid structure. This has to be stopped in its tracks.`
Richard Scudamore of the Premier League was also vociferous in his opposition saying that the majority of his clubs were in against the idea of B teams.
I must admit that this is a strange plan and in my view is too late in a player`s development to really change things. Remember that once a player signs for a club as a boy they are not allowed to play schools football and then at city or County level hence missing out that natural progression.
Once at their clubs players should have a competitive league to play in they should not invade the long standing Football League structure which has been on place since 1888. In the years gone past we had the Central League and the Football Combination (once known as the London Combination) and those league were hard fought and often watched by decent crowds too.
I had a discussion with a Central League referee many years ago who gave me an insight into the competition and gave me a list of players he had seen come through and go on to play international football. It was also a very good grounding for young referees.
So Mr Dyke think again there are plenty of good suggestions out there as to how to improve the national side and yours is NOT one of them!
Leader column - View from the Hump
Any older fan will know why we have given this column the heading View from the Hump as in the years gone by the fans who gather on the Boliermaker`s Hump were down for always having an opinion.
Before we write the final lines of the Richie Barker term of office at the helm at Fratton Park let us remember a few key factors.
Firstly he had an eye for a player. When he signed Ryan Taylor a look at his stats showed that he appeared a panic buy. His figures were awful on paper and I for one doubted Barker`s sanity; but he has become a real favourite with his effort and link up play and he has scored goals too. One other thing I like about Taylor is he never complains about the treatment he receives just gets up dusts himself
Then there was the loan of Danny Hollands he set up when Toumani Diagouraga was recalled by Brentford. This was of course his final throw of the dice and Awfs took him on loan. What an impact that deal had on Pompey`s final finish!
He also handled himself well on Sky Sports News when invited as an expert on the FL72 preview show. He knew the game and the players in it well but as everyone has said he did not fit. He seemed a popular figure in the game too except that is with Steve Evans the Rotherham manager!!
So the Hump says Richie made his mark.
Your money wanted - to launch the new share push, the PST would like to invite you to join us at the Victory Suite at Fratton Park on Saturday 24th May between 11am and 3pm where the proposed new training ground plans will be on display and PST Board Members will be discussing how once again, through various methods, fans can buy new or additional shares to provide funds towards a training ground project which thanks to our magnificent fans, will make Portsmouth FC stronger than ever.
If you are interested in buying a share please bring identifying documents with you.
Letter to the Editors
Toast has gone! Long live Toast! Gone but not forgotten and least by the three laptops I wore out writing it!
I thought I would just look back at the final comments you the readers made -
Thanks Dave for all your efforts over the past six or so years. I hope others will share my thanks to you and your team, as the last crumbs of toast are digested ring out the chimes
There have been times in the reign of toast where I have been deliriously ' happy' and have commented Dave's on column within seconds of it being posted, times when I thought it was just imbalanced and wrong and times when I've dreaded to read it. Times when I've read it over and over again, hoping if I ignored her enough Leonie would give up asking me to do the garden. The strangest times though were when the toast wasn't there - that's when you know it's become a personal institution.
Ed - Russell I agree some weeks Toast was awful but thanks for sticking with it. Times have been hard being a Pompey fan and getting the enthusiasm some weeks was impossible!
Well done Dave, thanks very much for all your efforts and hopefully the new column will coincide with an upturn in our fortunes as poor old Toast has suffered with our down turns! It's a good read and as Russell says, missed when it isn`t here.
Bye bye Toast, a very palatable start to a Sunday. Thanks Dave, and looking forward to the Chimes.
Ed - many thanks for the comments, which is why I write these columns. I hope this new column lives up to expectations but it will take a few editions to settle down. Your letters, ideas, comments of course are always welcome.
I am still working on ideas for this section looking at possible interview opportunities. Any ideas would be very welcome. Guest columnists could also feature.
The back page
So Andy has started his cull of the huge squad he inherited and nine have been released. There were no real surprises among the group but it is always sad to see youngsters come through the ranks and then fail to make the grade such as Ashley Harris. I do hope he can prove the club wrong and make the grade elsewhere but I think he has been given a fair chance,
The failure of Jake Jervis to gain a contract is also disappointing considering the efforts Pompey and UEFA went through to get him freed from his contract in Turkey. He never really applied himself on the pitch and always seemed too laid back. More effort would have brought more reward!
On a similar vein sad to see Thery Racon, a player of undoubted skill miss out
Now there are five who the club are negotiating with over their future - Jed Wallace, Nicky Shorey, Bondz N'Gala, Nick Awford and Jack Maloney and probably two others that discussions will take part with are John Sullivan and David Connolly.
Both Ryan Bird and Adam Webster have had their one year options taken and that is good news for both. Bird scored eleven goals in nine games on loan at Cambridge United and deserves a chance to prove his worth - a goalscorer is a goalscorer after all. Adam has to settle into a position that suits but is it at full back? He has filled out and looks a better player but where to play him; he does not like a tricky winger at all.