Pompey took their unbeaten run to twelve games and moved up to second in League Two with a 1-0 win at Oxford United yesterday afternoon but they were made to work hard for it.
The goal came when Craig Westcarr converted a Nicky Shorey cross with ten minutes left of a really tough encounter in the wind and rain at the Kassam Stadium.
As in the previous away trip at Exeter the first half performance from Pompey was poor and especially for Ricky Holmes who might have seen red after a series of reckless challenges. Awfs replaced him with Jed Wallace at the break and Pompey began to up their game and turn the screw onto their pointless hosts.
Unconvincing but when you play poorly and win then things are going well and I for one believe Pompey are due a big slice of luck this season.
Pompey (3-5-2): Jones; Devera, Robinson, Chorley (c); Holmes (Wallace 46), Atangana, Dunne, Hollands, Shorey; Westcarr (Whatmough 87), Storey (Taylor 64)
Goals: Westcarr 80
Subs not used: Brezovan, Butler, Awford, Barcham
Attendance: 6,852 (2,136 Pompey fans)
This is a real bumper Bank Holiday edition of Sunday Chimes so let`s get on with it.
We will have all seen the coverage of the march on London`s football headquarters last week by fans demonstrating about the price of tickets for football matches; aimed mostly at the Premier League and their astronomical prices in featured representatives from a number of Trusts.
I loved one t-shirt with the message ‘Football was not invented in 1992` in mock SKY SPORTS style format. It made me think would I be here writing this now if I had not been able to do my paper round and then pay 1s 9d (about 9p) to watch Pompey every week?
…and what is all this about our Jack looking like an Arsenal player called Jack Wilshere? Never ‘eard of ‘im!
The voice we all knew
If you read the obituaries every day you will have noticed this week the passing of one of the most famous voices in football over the last forty years although you would not know the face.
James Alexander Gordon, the voice of BBC radio’s classified football results for the past four decades, has died after making his final broadcast last year he was 78. The voice of Sports Report on Radio 2 on the way home from the match, you knew how your team had got on simply by listening to the first team`s name. it was style he developed and others now try to mimic.
Sometimes it was only when you listened to others that you appreciated just how special was James` presentation and marked intonation. The only sad fact is that he never got to read East Fife 4, Forfar 5. Thanks JAG.
Stats do not lie
There are those who doubt that Pompey are such a huge draw in League Two well the figures issued by the Football League recently make interesting reading.
Portsmouth is of course not geographically anywhere near the centre of the country yet more visiting fans came to Fratton Park than any other venue in the lowest tier. The average was 644 per game an increase of 48% on the previous season in League One. Wycombe and Oxford were the next two in the list. The figure represented 7.7% of home fans. With 73% of tickets sold for home games Pompey came eleventh in the Football League – which was not the highest in League Two as AFC Wimbledon achieved 77%!
Pompey were the nineteenth largest supported club on the road in the League with an average of 1,136 – of course a number of games were sell outs so it would have been more. It was more than eleven sides in the Championship.
This actually relates to an article in Toast where we said that the Accrington Stanly game televised last season was the first ever live game for the East Lancashire side. This was not true as we have discovered that the BBC televised the second half of the match between the Third Division South and Third Division North on 13 October 1955 from Peel Park which ended 3-3; but then any schoolboy of the fifties should have known that.
If it ain`t broke then fix it
This must be Awf`s motto emblazoned in huge letters on his office wall. ‘Never change a winning team` in an old phrase often used by experienced managers as one reason why they are successful – well Andy knows better.
Before yesterday`s trip to Oxford he had made six changes after Exeter, five after Peterborough and four after Cambridge – one enforced by suspension. Yet despite that and the change of formation too, the team just kept on winning. Why?
I believe it is down to Awfs himself and the way he is trying to keep a bulging squad of talented players hungry. He talks to them all personally and does not let players hear they have been dropped on social media which is important and they feel wanted. He is also clever enough to match the formation and hence the personnel with the opposition. If they have two big strikers then play three at the back and use the wing backs to try and cut off their supply. If the opposition like to play 4-4-2 then switch to 4-2-3-1 hence outnumbering them in midfield and use the pace in the side to get forward in support of the lone striker.
Sounds simple but you have to know how to pull it off and it appears Awfs knows how. I have already heard fans worried that a bigger club might come in and nick our manager!!
Colour Supplement – Eddy`s story – Part One – the beginning
For several months now we have been promising you a unique insight into the thoughts of a man who has supported Pompey since the late 1940s. I am glad to say that at last it has dropped into my inbox and although Ed and I are still ‘discussing` some of the facts it will be serialised in our colour supplement over the coming weeks and months and we hope to have some photographs for you in the weeks ahead.
Ed starts at the beginning – where else – with the war time days. Over to Ed –
I was born on 24 June 1941 in Hammersmith Hospital, London. My mum was born in Fulham, my dad in Portsmouth. Mum lived with my grandparents at Oxford Road, Kew, along with my older brother Brian and myself.
As it was wartime my dad was on war duties in Portsmouth, living with his sister, my Aunt Doreen, in Haslemere Road. It was a traumatic time for my parents as they had to shuttle back and forth from Kew to Portsmouth looking for accommodation, with the added pressure that war was still ongoing.
Eventually they put in a successful bid for 22 Carisbrooke Road, which backed on to the South Stand of Fratton Park. The house belonged to Portsmouth Football Club and was up for auction. We then moved down to Portsmouth and in 1943 mum gave birth to twins, my brother Peter and sister Joyce. To ease the pressure on my mum of coping with new-born twins during wartime, Brian and I returned to my grandparents in London. Just before war ended we were all back living as a family in Carisbrooke Road.
My interest in Portsmouth FC began when we had a street party in Frogmore Road to celebrate VE Day. The FA Cup (won in 1939 before war broke out) was proudly presented on the table (a photo exists somewhere of me sitting at that table).
By the time I was ten years old Portsmouth had won two Championships. I well remember in 1949 the team leaving in an open-topped coach from Frogmore Road to Portsmouth Guildhall for a Reception to celebrate their Championship win. The noise the crowd made with rattles and bells was exciting and fuelled my love of football. Earlier that year Pompey were drawn against Derby County in the FA Cup quarter final at Fratton Park.
The day the tickets went on sale thousands of supporters turned up and the queue stretched past our house in Carisbrooke Road and into the lanes by Apsley Road. Mum suggested selling cups of tea to the fans waiting, which was much appreciated by all, although we had to borrow cups from our next door neighbour, Mrs Riley! It was a lucrative little earner and the fans were only happy to pay.
On the day of the game it was recorded that 51,385 fans crammed into Fratton Park and set a record never to be beaten! Pompey won the game 2-1: Jackie Stamps scored for Derby while Ike Clarke scored both Pompey goals! Because our garden backed on to the South Stand of Fratton Park I used to sit and listen to the roar when Pompey scored and I thought the stand was going to collapse!
The following season saw more Championship success and this time as well as selling cups of tea, my mum and dad decided to take in bikes for a couple of pence (the majority of supporters came to the matches on bikes). This was another little earner as post-war times were hard. My brother and I were in charge of taking the bikes in and putting them in the front room, down the passageway and into the forecourt! The handlebars of the bikes would bite into the dado rail and lincrusta along the passageway and eventually big holes would appear! My mum`s piano in the front room became badly scratched too! The only downside of this moneymaking venture was if someone decided to leave the game early we had to extricate their bike, which was more than likely buried beneath fifty others!
Next time Ed`s talks us through his first match and what a game it was.
Incidentally Lincrusta is wallpaper with relief, he was not related to Len Quested who Ed has talked about in the past.
The week ahead
Pompey continue their run of five away games in six this week with a second round League Cup tie at Stoke and then the home game with Newport County.
Pompey have only once played a cup tie at Stoke and that was back in 1963/64 when they were trounced 4-1 in an FA cup third round tie. Stoke were in the top division and it was inevitable that Pompey`s goal was scored by Ron Saunders who netted thirty three league goals that season. Here is a question for fans – who was the next player are Saunders to score twenty league goals in a season?
Newport County AFC have only visited Fratton Park once – last season when they took all three points. Of course in their former guise they have played each other twenty times dating right back to 1920 when they both joined the old Division Three South. The biggest game at god`s green acre was back in 1979 when both were in the promotion battle. Over 20,000 were there that October evening but County ruined the party running out 2-0 winners with goals from Lowndes and Oakes. Pompey got their revenge just four weeks winning an FA Cup First Round tie at the Park through a solitary Terry Brisley goal in the first five minutes.
That was the second meeting at Fratton Park in the FA Cup the first was back in 1949 in the 5th round and Pompey were on their way to the Football League Championship when the tiny Welsh club came to town. Of course Pompey fans love the FA Cup and the gate that afternoon was 48,581 and was then a record gate at Fratton Park. Pompey though took extra time to make the quarter final 3-2.
Next week a win over County and if Morecambe slip up at Tranmere then Pompey would go top but it is too early to really worry about that.