Dave's Sunday Toast - #8 Lassana Diarra
Beasant or Best
You will of course have spotted that they all have the same first name - David but all in all not a bad side eh? Although the bench is a little bit attack minded.
There are a few names that Chix, I and others have written about but one name we have not touched on is David Munks.
The former Sheffield born, England Youth international was signed from the Red side of the Steel City in 1969 for £20,000. A stylish midfield player with a Beatle style hair cut, he soon became a popular player with the fans. He started in with Brain Bromley as his midfield partner but when Harry Harris was injured in the FA Cup defeat by Tranmere Rovers, Munks was tried as a centre back reverting back to his usual role when Harris and Tommy Youlden returned to fitness.
The next season 1970/71 was a personal triumph for Dave. He played every game that season at centre back alongside new partner Colin Blant and was awarded the fans player of the season award. He scored only one goal against his old club Sheffield United but it would be a game he would like to forget as the Blades won 5-1 at Fratton Park. Strangely they had won by the same score at the Park the previous season. Revenge was not long coming though as Pompey dumped United out of the FA Cup in round 3 2-0.
David spent four and a half season at Fratton before being sold to cut the spiralling wage bill being run up by Chairman John Deacons spend, spend, spend policy. He played 137 games and scored just 2 goals. He moved to Swindon Town and Exeter City before in 1976 a knee injury ended his career. As far as I can tell he did not stay involved with the game in any capacity.
10th Pavel Srnicek will be 40, Lassana Diarra 23,
11th Paul Hardyman 44,
12th Amdy Faye 31,
13th Martin Phillips 32,
15th Gianluca Festa 39.
Few who have seen Lassana Diarra play in the last few weeks could believe that he is such an inexperienced player. When he made his debut against Derby in January it was only his 50th competitive club game. However by that time he had already played eight times for France.
Born in Paris, Diarra struggled to find a club in his early days but eventually settled the other end of the Portsmouth Ferry route, Le Havre in 2003. He soon settled into the defensive midfield role, which would become his strength and the national U21 squad soon found a spot for him. He made 29 appearances in two years before Chelsea signed him in July 2005 as an eventual replacement for Claude Makelele.
His two years at Chelsea saw little opportunity for Diarra to impress. His chances were limited to Champions league replacement, League and FA Cup and the very occasional Premier League game. Even so at the end of the first season he was awarded the Young player of the year prize. The second season saw a number of games played at right back as injuries struck the Chelsea squad and Glen Johnson was on loan at Pompey!!
With his contract due to expire in January 2008, Chelsea decided to cash in on their asset an on deadline day, 31 August 2007 sold him to Arsenal. Diarra was over the moon joining Arsene Wenger's side but despite some spectacular performances could not hold down a regular place in the Gunners midfield. After only 139 days at the Emirates, Diarra became a Pompey player for a fee in the region of £5.5 million.
He had broken into French national team in spring 2007 for the Euro qualifier with Lithuania and has only missed one international since - 9 in total. Quite an achievement when you consider that those fighting to take Claude Makelele's place include Arsenal's inform youngster Mathieu Flamini. French manager Raymond Domenech obviously thinks very highly of our Lassana and so, of course, do we.
And finally what links Dave Munks and Lassana Diarra? Toughie but worth a guess.
See you all next week with another alternate XI - it could be yours and don't forget I can always add your birthday to the list (won't give away your age).
Written by eastneydave.
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