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That first Fratton moment!

That first Fratton moment!
When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I came to realise that football was a fantastic sport.

Growing up, I never really knew anything of football other than playground rush goalie jumpers for goalposts games because my dad wasn't really into it all that much. My uncle then told me about Portsmouth FC and how great they were. He was a big fan, and despite not really having a team to support, I decided Pompey would be the team for me. I was instantly hooked, and started really supporting the blues from home, and reading the Evening News whenever I had a chance, expanding my Portsmouth knowledge.

I never had a chance to go to Fratton Park, however on 31 August 1998 when I was 12 that my uncle took me to my first Fratton Park match. The game was Pompey against QPR and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was so excited to be going, and I still have the programme and ticket stub safely stored away!! I remember going to my Nan's house really early that morning to meet my uncle, I was absolutely busting with excitement!

I remember parking the car (not literally, I was only 12 remember) and my uncle took me the long way round. We could have walked along the side of the South Stand, but instead we walked to the main road, and turned right onto Frogmore Road, so I could see the famous black and white thatched cottage design of Portsmouth FC from far away. I was in awe, not just at finally seeing Fratton Park properly, but also the amount of supporters - this was my first EVER Football match!!

I was sat in the South Stand upper tier, near to the Fratton End. I remember the game as if it was played yesterday. At the time, I had only read about the players, and I had only read awesome things about the man of the time, John Aloisi. To see Aloisi in the flesh was just brilliant, and I couldn't contain my excitement when he put us one nil up with a peach half-volley. A fantastic goal, and it was probably the happiest moment of my life up until then! The noise, the atmosphere, it was all just amazing. Everyone was singing and chanting, and the ground was only half-full!!

In the second half another of my Pompey favourites scored towards the end, Alan McLoughlin. Martin Phillips then scored his one and only League goal for us in the dying moments (I think it was his first touch too, but my memory is a little Hazy.) I was just too excited to be there and the walk back to the car was a long one - I was HOOKED. I knew immediately I just had to go back - the FA are so selfish, why couldn't they make Pompey play every day?!

My favourite moment of the day, was the crowd chanting 'Bally! Give us a wave! Bally, Bally, Give us a wave!'. Watching Alan Ball step from the dugout and give a wave was just heart-warming, and I was just gob smacked that happened. Truly surreal. I was too young to really understand what financial difficulties the club had in and around that time, although I was aware of it, but I like to think that I really couldn't have had a better start to life as a football fan.

I think I'll end this article with those immortal words: 'PLAY UP POMPEY!'

Written by PFCGino in March 2009.

Pompey Memories


Others written in this feature so far are as follows, click on them to check them out!

11/05/85, Huddersfield away - paultsmouth ... Palace, Venables, Fenwick, Ball - pompeyrug ... Milky Magic - paultsmouth

Join the Vital Pompey Debate

Date:Friday April 3 2009
Time: 8:05AM


Great memories, and not really hazy at all. Sounds like they will be there for life Gino!
03/04/2009 10:30:00
its a crackin read Gino, as soon as i read the 'snippet' in your knowing me knowing you article i thought it would make for a good 'expanded' pompey memories read, and so it has - nice one!
this could still, or the 'watered down version' in the knowing me knowing you', be used in toast at some point tho couldnt it dave?
03/04/2009 10:47:00
Great read Gino. I remember that game with QPR. I flew out on holiday the next day. A lot has happened to us in those 10+ years!
03/04/2009 11:13:00
Cheers guys - it really was a special day. The day will stay with me forever and I will never, ever forget it!
03/04/2009 11:43:00
"Nice one Gino, nice one son, nice one Gino, let's have another one !"
03/04/2009 12:05:00
I was there didn't see you!! One fact you forgot - attendance 12,106.

This was a series of articles I started in Sunday Toast which appears to have been pinched!! Anybody else want to tell their story let me know. Nice one Gino.
03/04/2009 13:41:00
'pinched' sounds so nasty dave, i like to think 'borrowed' or better still 'shared' :-)
this was the game when i foolishly became convinced that buster phillips would become the world beater bally predicted he would become earlier in his career when he managed him at exeter... how wrong i was, probably the highlight of his time with pompey on his first outing, what a 3 minutes or so it was!
03/04/2009 21:51:00
Phillips, who was the other "winger" scored against Norwich when we had 10 men and Barry knight played 12 mins injury time?
03/04/2009 22:01:00
Nice one Gino great memories ... I must do one of these articles I think they are great .. 'pinched or not ....'
04/04/2009 09:27:00
I wasn't lucky enough to go to football that young, I just wasn't from a football family, and my Dad, in particular didn't want to know. I'd do one of these articles, but my memory is so awful (I think its a sign of age) so there just isn't enough information in there to do it. I can't even remember who we played on my first match.
04/04/2009 10:04:00
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