Date: 18th October 2008 at 1:22pm
Written by:

Forget ‘Friends Reunited’, if you need to contact somebody just call the Toastmaster and he will track them down! More of that later and lots more in this week’s Sunday Toast.

Competition Answer

Last week we asked ‘what team did Pompey beat on their way to winning the FA Cup in both 1939 and 2008? ‘ Loads of you got it right and spotted the error in the question. The answer is of course Preston North End AND West Bromwich Albion. The problem was the question should have finished ‘and they beat Pompey on their way to their last FA Cup triumph’ which would have left WBA as the only answer.

Anyway congratulations go to PFCGino (as always), Paultsmouth, Different Gravy and Chix who took us back to West Bromwich Strollers in 1878 for some reason.

Delilah, Why?

Well we decided we had to get to the bottom of this and started to trawl the internet for the answer thinking it would be straightforward. Well it isn’t I’m afraid. The simple answer is ‘They don’t know’.

One suggestion is that a group of Stokies was in a pub before an away game and started singing their songs. The landlord insisted ‘no football songs please’ with which on the jukebox came Tom Jones singing ‘Why Delilah’ and the fans just started to sing that instead.

A chat with Potters’s fan Mark comes up with a different story about an away game, he can’t remember where, when Stoke were dropping down the leagues and one dejected fan climbs a floodlight column above the group of Stokies present and for some reason begins to sing ‘Why Delilah’. Why did he though? Are we really answering the question here?


19th October – Kevin O’Callaghan is 47. Remembered for his impish wing play, the former Ipswich Town and Millwall wide man joined Pompey in January 1985. The aim was to clinch promotion but narrowly failed on the final day of the season. Kevin scored a memorable goal at Huddersfield to set Pompey on their way to a 2-0 win but over the Pennines Manchester City demolished Charlton 5-1 and edged Pompey out. For all Pompey fans that day was marred by news of the Bradford fire at nearly Valley Parade. 87games and 16 goals.

For trivia fans Kevin is best remembered for his role in the film ‘Escape to Victory’ where he played the goalkeeper who had his arm broken to allow Sylvester Stallone to play in the big match.

20th October – Chris Lawler 65 – in fact watching him play those thirty games in 1975/76 you would have thought he was 65 then. If ever a player jumped on the gravy train offered by old pal Ian St John it was Lawler. Such an accomplished player both for Liverpool and England, Pompey’s fans could not believe their eyes with his performances. Pompey were of course relegated.

22nd October – David Leworthy 46 David appeared one as a Pompey substitute before joining Fareham Town. After some success at Cams Alders or was it still Bath Lane, Dave got a big move to Spurs where he made 11 appearance netting three times before drifting on to Oxford. Dave had a further spell at Reading before in his thirties having great success back playing non league football.

Known as the legend wherever he went he had spells at Dover, Farnborough, Kingstonian, Rushden and Diamonds and Havant and Waterlooville. He twice won the FA Trophy at Wembley with Kingstonian.

Eamon Collins 43 – Eamon never really made it in the game playing for a number of clubs and managed only 67 games in a career spanning nine years. He played five of those for Pompey in the promotion season of 1986/87.

24th October – Pat Neil 71 Skilful winger who has become a local legend. Fans in their 60s and 70s are always keen to talk about Pat even though he only played ten times for Pompey. I have tried to find out why he has become such a celebrity and hope I can outline some of them here.

Pat was I believe born in Portsmouth and we believe his father worked in an Off licence in the Kingston Road/New Road area. He started school in Binstead Road before progressing to Northern Grammar School where he played in the same school team as John, who we met last week in ‘My first match’ feature and Vital regular 007 or Bondie as we call him. John and Pat then progressed into the Pompey Boys side.

John tells me that he thought Pat made his Pompey debut before he left school as he remembers an announcement at Monday morning assembly. I think however it must have been Pompey Reserves rather than the first team but I may be wrong. It could have been the news that Pat had made his debut for England Schoolboys against Wales at Wembley. Pat also had the pleasure of playing for the same England schools side at Fratton Park a month later when they beat Eire 8-0. As it was on 20 August 1955 when Pat made his debut and that would have been during the school holiday at the time Pat was aged 17 and he became Pompey’s youngest ever first team player.

He played the first game away to Huddersfield Town on the right wing replacing the unfit Peter Harris in the first game of what to be a safe mid table 1955/56 season. Pat missed the midweek games with Wolves but made his Fratton Park debut the following Saturday at home to Blackpool; this time he replaced the injured Gordon Dale. The game awakened the nation’s press who all wanted a photo of Pat the Division’s youngest player with Stanley Matthews who by then was in his forties. Pat celebrated the rise to stardom with a goal in a 3-3 draw.

The next Saturday Pat starred in what Toast has always rated as won of Pompey’s greatest victories when they travelled to play champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Not only was it Pat’s first win in a Pompey shirt but it turned into a romp as Peter Harris (2), Derek Rees (2) and Jackie Henderson ensured a 5-1 victory!! Pat was to score two more goals for Pompey against Bolton in another 3-3 draw and the only goal against Everton. All of Pat’s three Pompey goals were scored at Fratton Park.

His final First Division game was a more than disappointing 5-0 home defeat by Birmingham City. Information on Pat’s career is then rather sketchy but we know he moved to Wolves in 1956 and played four games scoring once and then moved on to famous amateur club Pegasus in 1957 for five years before returning briefly to his home club. We also think he had a spell at West Brom somewhere along the line. Pat also went to Cambridge University and was always proud of his amateur status which is why he spent so long at Pegasus.

It was on 1st September 1962 that Pat played his last ever Football League game a 1-0 win over Derby County just seven years after his first; Ron Saunders providing the goal. Pat appeared once more for his beloved home town club in an FA Cup 4th Round 2nd replay against Coventry City at White Hart Lane in March 1963. The club were short on the left wing with Dave Dodson injured and Micky Lill ineligible. A swansong at just 25!!

He then moved to Poole Town and was known to have played for his old school side Old Nortonians in the Portsmouth Saturday League not long afterwards. Pat who lives locally has recently been working with Ray Crawford on a campaign urging the elderly to have a flu jab (I’ve had mine!!).

With the help of Pompey4me, Toast is hoping to put Pat in touch with some of his old school friends and perhaps have a chat about the game in general and his legendary status in particular. John for example has not met Pat since those school days fifty five years ago

Dick Beattie was born in Glasgow on this day in 1936. He signed from Celtic in 1959 and played 122 games for Pompey before being involved in the betting scandal of 1962 which led to him being banned from the games. Dick was a Scottish under 23 international and played in goal for Pompey the last time we beat Chelsea which was in the League Cup of 1960. Sadly Dick passed away on New Years day 1990.

25th October – Deon Burton 32 Pompey youth product who like Pat Neil above had two spells at the club. Deon who is now at Sheffield Wednesday, left Pompey for £1m, joining Derby in 1997. Deon has averaged a goal every five games throughout his career and is best remembered scoring the wiiner at Huddersfield on the last day of the 1995/96 season, saving Pompey from relegation. Deon has won over 50 caps for Jamaica.

Gary MacDonald – 29 Former youth team defender has recently signed for Bognor Regis along with another ex junior Carl Pettefer.

European Tour

Well we thought we were all going on a European Tour but is turns out that Europe is actually somewhere in northern Portugal! Three weeks after a trip to Guimaraes fans have the extraordinary coincidence of travelling to Braga just ten miles away. With the fact that so much has been written recently about getting there etc there is nothing more we can say. All that went last time enjoyed the trip and the setting so it is Groundhog Day this Thursday.

The stadium alone is worth a visit at it is unique in world football being hewn out of the side of a hill with only stands on the two sides. The rocky outcrops at each end of the ground are illuminated during evening games.

If you are going, remember the cameras to capture this and stick them in an album on the site to share with all of us.

That’s it for this week – next week? Who knows possibly a review of the Great South Run – unlikely or a look forward to the trip to Anfield – more likely.


Join the Vital Pompey Debate