Date: 11th June 2010 at 2:10pm
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With eastneydave off writing for Vital England ghost-writers have been brought in to continue the Toast column. Might not always be Sunday mornings as the new team enjoy Saturday night too much!!

There is not much happening at Fratton Park so let`s look to South Africa for some news.

Firstly we have news of an eighteen man squad –

Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo Iwata, Japan),
David James, (Portsmouth, England),
Kostas Chalkias (PAOK Salonika, Greece).
Glen Johnson, (Liverpool, England),
Aaron Mokoena, (Portsmouth, England),
Nadir Belhadj (Portsmouth, England)
Pedro Mendes (Sporting, Portugal),
Hassan Yebda (Portsmouth, England)
Kevin-Prince Boateng (Portsmouth, England)
Quincy Owusu-Abeyie (Al Sadd, Qatar),
Sulley Muntari (Inter Milan, Italy),
Theofanis Gekas (Hertha Berlin, Germany),
Aruna Dindane (Portsmouth, England),
John Utaka (Portsmouth, England),
Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Everton, England),
Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth, England),
Jermain Defoe (Tottenham, England),
Peter Crouch. (Tottenham, England)

Yes the squad of current and past Pompey players at the 2010 World Cup is quite an impressive list.

Some surprise inclusions include Yoshi who has not played for Japan for nearly two years after breaking a leg and not playing well. With Chalkias now Greek number one the three goalkeepers in the squad have a combined of over 110!!

Top of the list of notable absentees is Lassana Diarra who has been suffering from severe stomach cramps which have been diagnosed as caused by a genetic blood disorder and he requires significant rest to aid his recovery. I for one will miss watching him play. I was also surprised to see Angelos Basinas omitted from the Greek squad after 100 caps and such an influence on the side. He may be a veteran but surely still worth a place in the twenty three?

So quite an impressive list of players there and how many other clubs will have a longer list – not too many I wager. Some wag in a local pub suggested that I should research it to see how many clubs were ahead of us.

As an interesting aside here is a teaser for you – who is the only member of the current England squad to have played for a club on foreign soil?

Secret revealed

At last we know how old the King is!! In an interview recently
Kanu said “I know that I cannot play on until I am 50 so this will be my last World Cup. But still feel I have something to offer and think I can play on at club level for two more seasons.”

That means he must be 46 – if he would be 50 at the next World Cup!! At last we know and he does look good for his age.

Down with a bump!!

Relegation is beginning to sink in now and if not the media will soon remind you. Sky Sports News now carries Pompey news in the Championship area and Newsnow have followed suit and ‘moved us to a lower status.

Well if you don`t believe it you will on Wednesday (16th June) when the Carling Cup 1st round draw is issued – yes Pompey are in it – and again on Thursday at 9am when the fixtures for next season are released. We have news of them here on Vital Pompey but because of the stupid rules surrounding their copyright we can not list them in detail.

Miami Vice

We asked you to tell us your stories of how and where you watched the FA Cup Final and the first to reach the Toast offices is from PFCGino who flew to the States to watch the game!! Over to Gino –

‘When we got through to the final, it was a dream come true – sat in Wembley at the semi all I could think was ‘how am I going to get a ticket?’. The 2008 final I got my ticket at 1pm on the day and I swore that I wouldn’t cut it that fine again, so I put everything in place asap with some friends I knew couldn’t make it. I was going to Florida on 19th April for a fortnight so couldn’t ring up for the tickets, so it was all in place and I was set to make the final……

…..cue ash cloud.

18th April we were told we weren’t actually going to Florida, because some Icelandic powerhouse had started puffing ash everywhere. At first I thought Hermann really shouldn’t be smoking this close to the final, but all silly jokes aside I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t go on holiday. The missus (not a football fan) rearranged the holiday, and we were now going on 11th May for two weeks. Unfortunately, this didn’t include round-trip flights to Wembley on the Saturday. I was not happy that I wasn’t going to the final. She can’t love me, surely?

Not a problem though, I immediately made plans to watch the game in a place called ‘The Cricketer’s Arms’, conveniently located next to a massive shopping mall. Missus goes off shopping, whilst I watch the game with a bunch of English people, 10am kickoff. Everything was in place for a decent Saturday.

On the day before the final, we somehow managed to bag VIP tickets to the Space Shuttle Atlantis last ever launch out at the Space Center. A once-in-a-lifetime trip and all I could think was what team Avram would put out on the final. The shuttle launched without a hitch, and it was absolutely amazing – but if Pompey beat Chelsea the next day, then the shuttle launch may well have taken second place in my all-time list of awesome things that I saw.

So the next day, and at 8am, I drag the missus up and we are out the door at 9am getting the trolley up to the mall. I step on the trolley in my Pompey shirt, and someone immediately shouts ‘WAHEY! PLAY UP POMPEY!’ – A Spurs fan no less, wishing us luck, and telling us to stuff the Chelsea. He asks where I’m watching it and I reply The Cricketers Arms. He then said ‘errr….I heard that’s gonna be all Chelsea today?’ and I replied ‘well….. all Chelsea and one Pompey’. He wished me luck again as he got off the trolley a few stops shy of mine.

I walked into the Cricketer’s Arms at 9.45am and was surprised to see about 3 other Pompey fans, and about 20-30 Chelsea fans (including the owner of the bar). I justified my early beer by telling myself I was still on English time (whilst secretly scolding myself that I hadn’t started earlier), and got ready for a great game. The Pompey fans watching on the terrace with the Chelsea inside, everytime I needed refreshing I had to trudge the walk of shame past them all to the bar. 5 times they hit the post in the first half, and we got away with every single damn one – the Chelsea fans (in good spirit of course) let us all know how they felt!

Second half comes and I go to the restroom as the beers start getting on top of me. Whilst in there the commentary is being fed through and all I hear is ‘Penalty to Portsmouth!!’ so I actually manage to just get to through to the bar (among the Chelsea) to see KPB take the limpest penalty I’ve ever seen. I was goaded, and shouted at, but hey I’m Pompey so with my head held high I walked through them all and re-took my place at the terrace. Then Droggy lined up that free kick and well….. I knew it was in before he took it, you could just tell. 1-0 Chelsea and the terrace was deathly quiet (not that it was particularly noisy anyway). Lampard misses a penalty, but to be honest it’s just a bonus that his penalty was worse that KPB’s, and the scoreline of 1-0 was flattering to say the least. Final whistle, and relief that we hadn’t actully been spanked in a goal rout as predicted (however lucky that was). Pompey had some VERY decent chances, and if we can keep hold of some of those players then next season may well be a goodun.

So I ordered a couple more beers just to ease the pain, and continued talking to my new friend Phil, a Southsea man who had been living in the States for the last few decades. Nice chap, passionate about Pompey and after the game the landlord and his mates came and joined us for a few drinks to discuss the finer points of the game, which was a great end to a great day. I wobbled my way to the trolley stop to go and meet the missus, who wasn’t too pleased that I was a little bit George Best! But sod it, I’m on holiday, and I am filled with pride more so than when we won the Final two years ago – we held our own against the Champions, and were relegated. Hell, even Villa got spanked by them.

Perhaps not quite as good as watching a Space Shuttle take off but it was definitely up there, and I’ll never forget it!’