A first glimpse of 'chicken legs'
Of course there have been more 'memorable' and 'important' meetings with Barnsley, I am sure that we could all point to a couple off the top of our heads, such as the 4-4 draw when Robert Prosinecki scored a hat-trick, a 4-1 win and a 6-0 spanking at Oakwell, incidentally the meeting in August before this return at Fratton.
Although on my way up to Pompey recently, for the game against Doncaster, for some reason this match in the 1999/2000 season cropped into my head...
You know what, in all honesty, I still do not know why?
Perhaps it was for the simple reason that we were soon playing them and that - at the time the game came into my head - we were playing at Fratton against another somewhat 'unfashionable club' Doncaster, that brought this into my head?
Perhaps there was also the subconscious reading of something about Middlesbrough and that made me think about Gary O'Neil, and it was this game against Barnsley that he made his debut - when he became the youngest ever Pompey debutant. So, as he has always been a favourite of mine this game, and it being his debut, sticks in my mind?
Lets face it with Milan Mandaric as your chairman, more often than not, as manager you are on a hiding to nothing and pretty much always living on 'borrowed time' as he has never been one for offering much time to his managers, so Tiny Penis (Tony Pulis) was always going to be on that borrowed time - this game would, I would say, rank among one of his best though.
The game itself though, again in all honesty, is not that memorable to me apart from the result and of course a hat-trick, from Stevie Claridge, and the debut handed to a skinny, scrawny, chicken-legged teenager - he has not really changed has he!
A debut for Gary-O is something that I will always be grateful to Tiny for as this set him on the path, eventually as he was used sparingly in the time ahead before scoring his first goal in helping to keep us up, to becoming one of my most liked Pompey players of any era really, not necessarily due to his footballing ability - which to be fair is not bad, but perhaps due to the lack of pace that he has had, and always will, has hindered his ability to really step up to another level - but because of his 'never say die', 'never give up' and 'fight to the death' attitude and mentality.
A real Pompey fighter who sums up most of what this club is about and what we want as fans from the footballers that pull on the shirt.
3-0 this weekend - this time at Oakwell and not Fratton - would be very nice, so yes please, although any result would do...
PLAY UP POMPEY!