In my teens and twenties I was a regular away fan, even doing
Sunderland on a Tuesday night an then going to work two hours after getting home.
These days? things are a little different, although still a season ticket holder, three kids, a mortgage and the need to work some Saturdays means my away travel is more limited, the games are normally chosen in advance and quite often clash with a mates birthday or the like!
Pompeys trip to Fulham was one such occasion, my mate Shaun was 29 and me and 50 others set off at nine on Saturday morning from Gosport, the newsagent by the ferry generously opening his shop next door especially for us (off-licence) The train journey up was the usual high-spirited affair, other fans joining us at Fratton, Havant and Petersfield until there was standing room only.
In our ranks was scummer Gav, who had been persuaded to come and watch a real team play on a Saturday in the guise of just being at a mates birthday. He was paranoid all the way in fear of being outed to fellow fans and the taking the predicted abuse you should expect for following such a team.
Next port of call was the hole in the wall pub at Waterloo, where more lager was consumed, and the kick off of Birmingham and Chelsea was greeted with anticipation of an away win.
Our hoards split up on leaving the pub, about fifteen taking taxis, the rest of us sensibly taking the option of the tube to Putney bridge.
On arrival at The Walkabout pub in Putney, we found the pub already heaving with blue and white, and disgust that Chelsea weren’t doing the business for us.
A few more quick pints and it was the quick scramble to Craven cottage to watch our heroes. Getting to my seat about ten seconds after kick off, I quickly left it again to rejoice at Gary O?Neil sticking the ball in straight from kick-off, 80% of my mates however where taking a last minute toilet stop and missing the moment.
The atmosphere was electric, 4400 away fans making Pompey feel and play like it was a home match, even Malbranque’s equaliser not dulling the support.
Lua Lua’s goal was treated with much hugging of grown men and bouncing of the lager in our bellies, a bit risky for some in their state.
Half-time and a quick £3 bottle of Carlsberg to revive sore throats and it was back to the action and O?Neil?s clincher second, the knowledge the game was duly won bought a chorus of ‘One Harry Redknapp’ and the majority made their feelings clear, Harry even coming over at the end to pump his fists with his believing Blue Army.
The match won, happy mates all round and back to the Walkabout to watch West Brom get stuffed by the scousers. The pint total was now reaching new levels, but undeterred we set off for Leicester square to carry on our celebrations and quest to drink London dry.
Leicester square is full of non-cockneys at the best of times, but tonight Matthew, we?re going to make it little Portsmouth!
The name of the bar we were in escapes me now, I remember the Ivan Drago doorman being a bit of a jobs worth and the thinning out of mates, who when phoned, found themselves to be on trains somewhere near Guildford! A quick Chinese and the loss of a few others and it was back to Waterloo and the road home.
Arriving home at the harbour after midnight, meant a journey on the night boat in torrential rain, the only effort in dampening our enthusiasm, I even managed to walk home with my mate Pete in the wet stuff, my happy 16 hour day as Pompey away day fan over, and back to being kicked out of bed at 5 by my five year old son who’d had a nightmare. Back to reality and looking forward to the next one!
Play up Pompey!
What a great article keep them coming. A little reminder tonight is Pompey night. Between 9 and 10 I need everyone to have registered and logged on for an amazing Pompey discussion.