This is a recollection from paulisrael on his early years of following Pompey.
Just a bit of background to start with. I started actively supporting Pompey in the late 70’s after they had gone down to the then 4th division & went to most home games throughout the 80’s & also quite a few away games, until I moved to Israel in 1988 & have been here ever since.
Most of the memories that stand out for me were from away games, partly because there are a lot fewer to remember, but also because the atmosphere was always great (well almost always!), even when we were losing & it was a whole different experience in itself.
The first game that stands out for me was Plymouth Argyle away in 1983. We had already been promoted from the 3rd division, but the championship hadn’t been decided. I went by train & it took forever to get there. I think about 10,000 made the trip & invaded Home Park, outnumbering the home fans by more than 2 to 1. Of course having already been promoted the pressure was off & there was a real party atmosphere. I don’t remember the game being that great but we ended up winning 1-0.
The second game that sticks out for me was Huddersfield Town in 1985 (84/85). Again it was the last game of the season & this time we needed to do better than Manchester City for us to gain promotion. We were doing our part & somehow news came through that City were losing, & everybody around us was going crazy. Unfortunately we found out towards the end of the game that City were in fact winning 5-1! Obviously we were all pretty despondent, but as we were leaving the ground news started filtering through of the fire at Bradford (where 50 odd died) only a few miles down the road, which put our sadness into perspective. It was a long journey home.
The third game I remember vividly was Millwall away in 1985 (85/86). Of course the 80’s were well known for the crowd trouble at games & Pompey v Millwall was always one of the worst. We had got to the stage where the away fans were banned. As I was living in London at the time I got a ticket for the game quite easily, although I did wonder whether I was doing a wise thing by going. I wouldn’t have been too unhappy if Pompey lost, as long as I got out in one piece! Of course Pompey had to go & save this game for their best away performance of the season. When the first goal went in, I didn’t bat an eyelid, but I did notice that there were a few other Pompey supporters around the stadium, who were a bit braver than me. When the second goal went in I couldn’t contain myself & my short celebrations made my allegiances clear to those around me. There was a bit of banter but all in good fun. When the 3rd & 4th goals went in, the Millwall fans switched their allegiances & started singing, “Play up Pompey!”
The worst experiences I remember were either at Selhurst Park or Plough Lane, where we always seem to get beaten badly (at least when I was there), I still have nightmares about the own goal we scored straight from kick off, having just conceded one at Wimbledon, when Noel Blake rolled the ball nonchalantly back to Alan Knight, who for some reason wasn’t looking. We couldn’t believe it.
Paul Morris, paulisrael (Pompey till I die)
P.S. I had to look up some of the dates from the centenary book, as my memory isn’t that great. Incidentally there is a report in there of the Huddersfield game that is very similar to my version of things!
Written by paulisrael in May 2009.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
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 … That first Fratton moment – PFCGino … Happy times with Pompey legends! – dedmans