Vital Football

Sunday Chimes #3 - Wot no Humps?

Sunday Chimes #3 - Wot no Humps?

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I spent Thursday working in a Polling Station in Eastney and it was a fairly quiet day until one voter walked in and proclaimed 'Pompey have signed Danny Hollands!` With that the peace was broken with an outbreak of approval. Believe me an outbreak of approval can be earpiercing on a day like that but even the local pensioners joined in.

Such is the impact that Hollands has had on the locals in such a short period and without doubt if asked who saved Pompey most would say Awfs and Hollands.

Chimes would ask one question though about Danny and that is simply where did that form come from? He was Player of the Season in 2007/08 when at Bournemouth but at the end of the 2011 season he decided after 200 games for the Cherries and as a free agent to join Charlton Athletic.

He hardly pulled up trees at the Valley and last season started on loan at Gillingham playing seventeen times netting just once. Richie Barker ten set up the loan deal to bring to Pompey when Toumani Diacouraga was recalled by Brentford. Awfs made the right decision, to trust his departed predecessor and sign the ex Chelsea youngster.

So we ask, was his form at Pompey just a flash in the pan or was it a matter of Danny loves the South Coast and is back in his adopted him. The Sunday Chimes really hopes that he can produce the late season form week in and week out next term and it could be a big piece in the promotion jigsaw.

The Humps get the boot

As promised God`s green acre is getting a summer facelift as work has started on improving the Fratton Park surface for the 2014/15 campaign. The grass is currently being removed in order for long-awaited drainage issues to be sorted.

In addition to that the mounds in the goalmouths - a familiar Fratton sight down the years - will be removed to leave a flat playing surface.

Head groundsman Steve Baker told the club`s official site "First we have to take the grass off the top and rotovate the pitch. "Then we`ll put a machine called a laser grader on the back of the tractors, which means we`ll be able to level off the pitch. The traditional humps in the goalmouths will be no more.

"We`ll have a nice flat pitch, as well as new drainage and pop-up sprinklers, so we won`t have to keep dragging out hoses. In a couple of weeks it should be seeded, so we can be ready for the Bournemouth match."

Baker has welcomed the investment in a Pompey pitch that has been neglected in recent years. He said: "A lot of people have commented - and I agree with them - that this is work that should have happened when the club was in the Premier League. We`ve had more work done since the community takeover than in the whole two-and-a-half years I`ve been here. It makes our job a lot easier because we`ve now got better machinery and will soon have a better pitch."

View from the Hump - No humps?

What are they doing? There is not a Pompey fan alive who has seen football played on the Fratton Park pitch without the humps.

If I remember Chix correctly the pitch was cambered in the mid 1920s when the South Stand was built and as with a lot of Archibald Leitch grounds the terracing was sunken below pitch level. This meant that fans low on one side could not see the feet of players on the opposite flank. However that was not why it was done quite simply it helps the drainage. It allows the water to run all over the feet of those in the front row too through the weep holes.

Sorry but those of us on the Hump are not prepared to listen to these stories that technology of pitches is more of a science and cambers are no longer needed. That camber gave Duggie Reid one of the best pitches in the country and the drainage was superb.

Modern technology is killing the game we knew what is wrong with a muddy pitch? Leitch was a Scottish Architect who designed so many great stadia and now bit by bit they are disappearing. A real shame the Hump says.


Ed`s autobiography project is going well and we hope to have the first instalment in a couple of week`s time. He has ignored all the advice I have given him such as suggested chapters, format etc. but is busy spending wet days writing and then wife Sue has the unenviable task of editing and typing the work.

All he wants then is a publisher which may be a difficult task but after airing a taster in the Sunday Chimes who knows?

Just one more opponent for next season remains to be settled. Will it be Fleetwood or Burton that will triumph at Wembley on Monday in front of what will be a crowd that could fit inside Fratton Park. Most fans will be pleased that Cambridge United edged out Gateshead last week as the distance to travel is greatly reduced.

On that note of the size of Fratton Park I found an interesting clipping I had pulled from a football magazine in 1983 last week setting out Pompey's chances for the upcoming 83/84 season. It describes Fratton Park as 'one of the best appointed grounds in the country and constant envy of local rivals Southampton` and liked the signings of Mark Hateley from Coventry and Richard Money from Luton. It also suggested Pompey with heir loyal support set 1986 as the target for reaching Division One. Just one year out there then!

Can`t for the life for me remember what magazine that came from, anyone any ideas. Page size is A4 and it is no comic style publication.

Any thoughts on my idea that we replace 'on this day` with the Vital Pompey diary? Here at VP things they are a changing and like everything on life it is nice to have fresh ideas. Is it popular? Do you read it? Anyone fancy writing 365 of them?!!


It was a real pleasure to hear from Simon Brocklehurst in the Big Apple last week and I know there are a lot of others out there reading and not commenting. Why not tell us where you are?

Thanks for the comments too Simon makes it all worthwhile. Good evening.

Back page - Money pours in

Yesterday`s PST 'open day' at Fratton Park has been hailed a success by the PST Board and those fans that attended after an initial £50,000 was pledged by fans.

Over 200 fans came to mingle with the PST board, view the plans of the new training ground and discuss plans for the club with Mark Catlin and Paul Hardyman, who both also attended the event.

One fan even travelled down from Macclesfield for the day and went home the proud part owner of some shares in the PST.

PST Spokesman John Kimbell said 'We were delighted with the number of people that came but more importantly the amount of money we were able to raise. Fans seemed to be really impressed with and excited by the plans for the training ground. Whilst a number of fans came and signed up for shares today, a large number also took our new prospectus away with a view to applying for shares in the coming weeks. We wish to stress that the share offer remains open and we'd encourage any fans who wish to get involved, to do so as soon as possible'.

Fans that were unable to attend today's event but wish to buy shares do so through the Trust website (go to Join Us/Apply For Shares) or by contacting for more information.


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Date:Sunday May 25 2014
Time: 1:00AM

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