Because of the work that has been going on over the whole of Vital Football in the last three days it was not possible to publish Toast on Sunday as usual. So apologies but here is a briefer that normal edition on a Monday.
Vital has had major surgery over the weekend with great efforts being made by the staff (three days at seventeen hours!!) and all should be back to normal soon. We are aware that the forums are not working properly yet – but will be as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.
Dawn (my wife) has asked me to thank you all for the birthday wishes, which he enjoyed more with Vital Pompey not being available to distract me.
8th December – Valery Mezague is 25 today – French born midfielder came on loan from Montepellier in 2004 and played 14 times mostly as substitute. Is now back playing in France with Sochaux and has taken Cameroonian nationality.
10th December Ray Daniel 44 – Joined Pompey in late 1990 and made his debut in the late lamented Zenith Data Systems Cup at Oxford. He was a skilful and quick left sided player who started his career at Luton Town before moving on to Hull City and Cardiff.
Ray played 128 games for Pompey over four years and managed five goals. Those goals came in five different games all at Fratton Park and Pompey won them all. After Pompey, Ray had a spell at Walsall before retiring. Without being able to ask Ray I would imagine his greatest memory would have been playing in the FA Cup semi-final replay in 1992 even though of course we lost out on penalties.
Simon Stapleton 40 – started his career as an apprentice at Pompey but never made the first team. The left in 1988 for a short spell with Bristol Rovers. He joined Wycombe Wanderers in 1989 and remained with them for seven years making 65 appearances. In 1997 he joined Stevenage Borough, leaving the Conference club in 2000.
Lewis Buxton 25 – Lewis made his Pompey debut at only seventeen in a 1-0 victory at Stockport in 2001 – Robert Prosinecki with a penalty. He went on to play thirty times for Pompey before being released and after loan spells with Exeter and Bournemouth joined Stoke City with Anthony Pulis in 2005.
A back injury has restricted the number of games Lewis has made for the Potters to around fifty and he is currently on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.
13th December Lionel Phillips 79 – although not to be confused with the great Len Phillips, Lionel actually played in the same team as Len twice, now that would have been confusing if players had names on their shirts then.
Lionel bridged the gap from non league football when he signed from Yeovil Town in February 1953 and made his debut in the first game of the 1953/54 season against Liverpool at Anfield. His Pompey career lasted just 10 days and four games which all ended in heavy defeats – Pompey shifting sixteen goals in that period.
New manager Eddie Lever took drastic action and dropped goalkeeper Charlie Dore, full backs Harry Ferrier and Jimmy Stephens along with Lionel. The four of them played only two more games for Pompey between them. I would say the departure of Jimmy Scoular may have had more to do with it as well as the fact that the ageing side that won the championship were ‘falling apart’ thanks to a total lack of investment.
Lionel who Margate describe as a very quick forward then returned to non league football in Kent playing for a number of different clubs.
Coincidentally a story crossed the Toast worktop the other day concerning Len Phillips. Len is now sadly suffering with Dementia and is a resident in Exbury Ward of St James’ Hospital.
He was recently chosen by the Portsmouth Primary Care Trust no open a new dignity garden within the Hospital. Len was flanked by eight of his former team mates and the FA Cup for the occasion and after unveiling a commemorative plaque, the Trust presented Len with a replica players` shirt from the 1950s, signed by his former team mates, as a personal keepsake.
Andy Tysoe of the Trust said: “I cannot think of anyone better to open our dignity garden, and I’m honoured he agreed to do so in the presence of the FA Cup, former team mates and his loved ones. I don’t think it could be any more poignant.
“Dementia is a devastating illness – for the person with dementia and their families. It robs people of their memory, cognitive ability and retirement. It affects Pompey fans and players, presidents and prime ministers.
Toasters, is this a possible charity for our calendar?
Last week’s teaser
Most of you guessed correctly that Aaron Cook’s only game for Pompey was the Stockport game when the crowd chanted Alan Ball`s Blue and White Army for what seemed an eternity. Strange that I should have set that question a few days before the repeat performance against AC Milan!!
Norfolknblue was the first to get it right and Chix was right when he said the 1-0 win was thanks to Steve Claridge`s first goal for Pompey.
The toast has from time to time to pay tribute to great journalism and this week is one of those. Writing in the Daily Mail, Patrick Collins, he from Sunday Supplement etc. wrote on the Milan game with considerable eloquence and we thought we should share a couple of clips with you.
‘Are you Bournemouth in disguise?’ they bawled, as if it were the most cuttingly sophisticated insult that the Rossoneri had ever endured.
‘For they (the Pompey fans) had watched their team command the centre of the stage. They had seen the finest players in the world sweat and scuffle in their attempts to tilt the balance. They had rattled the mighty Rossoneri and gathered memories to endure down the decades. It was a triumph for the old virtues of fidelity and persistence. It was a reward for all the unrewarding years. It was a day when those of us who follow football clubs of modest resources and limited ambitions became honorary Portsmouth fans. And Pompey did us proud.
Thanks Patrick, you summed it up so well and yes we do feel proud of that night.
See you all next week.
Monday Toast – Season 2 # 18