Date: 5th December 2009 at 4:27pm
Written by:

So Pompey picked up three points yesterday with a totally unconvincing win over the Premier League`s worst travellers, Burnley. Perhaps after all the hard luck stories of the season it was what we, the fans needed, a scrappy win. Pompey to be honest were awful in the first half and until the King came on for Tommy Smith on the hour were no better.

What can you say about Kanu? He just tended to pick the game up from poor to mediocre but it was enough to get those precious three points in a game where for spells particularly early on Burnley looked the better side.

Still my wife Dawn on her birthday was ecstatic, as it was the first she has seen us win this season! She even got a text message at half time from some friends watching the game at Atlanta airport!!

Team of the decade – the 80s

And so to the third of our series of decade team and this week it is the turn of the 80s. That was certainly a better decade for Pompey that the 70s.The team sheet

1. Alan Knight
2. Kenny Swain
3. Paul Hardyman
4. Kevin Dillon
5. Noel Blake
6. Billy Gilbert
7. Neil Webb
8. Alan Biley
9. Mark Hateley
10. Mick Kennedy
11. Alan Rogers

The 1980s started with Pompey struggling in the Fourth Division and they kicked off the new decade with a New Year`s Day derby with Aldershot. Pompey lost the game 3-1 but eventually managed to scrape into the final promotion place on the final day of the season. Two of that team for the first day of the decade make my team of the decade namely Alan Knight and Alan Rogers and it was also Rogers who scored the first goal of the decade against the Shots.

When I started to select these teams one rule I gave myself was that a player could only appear in one team. I therefore decided that ‘The Legend` Alan Knight or ‘Knoightsie` as he was known then should be the keeper in the side of the 80`s. he did in fact play for Pompey in four different decades playing his final game at Norwich in the first game of the new millennium. Knight was Pompey`s regular keeper for an amazing fifteen seasons and played over 800 games for the Blues in all competitions. A Youth product the Balham born stopper made his debut aged just sixteen on the final day of the 1977/78 season at Rotherham. Pompey won that day 1-0 thanks to a Peter Denyer goal but were still relegated to the Fourth Division.

The two regular keepers that season Steve Middleton and Phil Figgins were released by manager Jimmy Dickinson who signed Peter Mellor from Hereford United to replace them. Such was Mellor`s consistency that Knight would not get another first team chance November 1979 and in the three seasons the bib blonde keeper was at the club he was to miss on nine matches. However come the start of the 1981/82 season Knight became the regular and never looked back. Believe it or not in the 1980s only three men wore the Pompey number one shirt – Knight, Mellor and Andy Gosney!!

Alan Rogers signed for Pompey from Plymouth Argyle in 1979 and the slightly built winger was to play a major role in two promotion campaigns. In his 200 games he also scored a fair number of goals, nine coming in the 1980 promotion to Division Three.

Kenny Swain was a steady full back with a great pedigree at Chelsea, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest. In fact he started as a striker at Chelsea but never scored a goal for Pompey. Ken is now the England U16 manager that recently won the Victory Shield with Pompey`s Sam Magri in the side.

Talking of local defenders the left back slot goes to Paul Hardyman who played regularly through the mid eighties and won two England U21 caps. Paul of course was recently made redundant by the club.

The rest of the team probably picks itself although there are a few names I have left out. Rather like in the 70`s the central defenders pick themselves as a pair and unlike Went and Manley, Blake and Gilbert played a lot of games as a pair – three whole seasons to be precise and they were a tough pair to come up against.

Kevin Dillon, Neil Webb and Mick Kennedy make up the midfield. Dillon and Kennedy were key to our promotion to Division One and Webb was taken by Brian Clough to Nottingham Forest and turned into an England regular. Of these three Dillon now manages Aldershot, Webb is a pundit for talkSport as well as working locally in Reading while Kennedy is coaching local teams in County Clare.

Up front I have ignored Mick Quinn and gone for the partnership of Hateley and Biley. A great pair and so recognisable, Biley, with his long blonde hair and shirt cuffs in hand (ala Denis Law) and Hateley with his long dark hair. Watching the two together in the 1983/84 was such fun as they amassed thirty eight goals between them (with Webb and Dillon adding another nineteen). The problem that season was we conceded so many and it cost manager Bobby Campbell his job. Pompey`s games that season contained 159 goals in all competitions – scoring 84 and conceding 75.

Who is missing then? Quinn as I said, Bobby Doyle, Billy Rafferty, Vince Hilaire, Kevin O`Callaghan, Mick Tait, Nicky Morgan and Barry Horne. What do you think Toasters?

Sent Coventry

The FA Cup 3rd round draw paired us with Coventry City with was the eighth time in nine we have met a Championship side. It will also mark the centenary of the first FA Cup meeting between the clubs back in February 1910. The draw gave Pompey a bye to the first round but Coventry had to come through the qualifying rounds.

Pompey had beaten Shrewsbury Town in the First Round 3-0 and were given another home tie with Coventry in Round two. In their turn Coventry had caused a major upset by travelling to mighty Preston North End and winning 2-1 – future England cricket legend Patsy Hendren scoring the winner.

Both clubs were of course non league sides in those days and that level of football was very local but surprisingly this was an all Southern League affair at Pompey, which Coventry won by the only goal in front of 12,000 fans. That win for the Bantams, as Coventry were known gave them a dream tie of all non league clubs, a home game with a first division outfit, in this case Nottingham Forest. City would cause another upset and win that game 3-1 before going out in the quarter finals to the mighty Everton 0-2.

In the Southern League that season Pompey had already drawn 0-0 at Fratton Park with Coventry but had their revenge later in the season by going to Highfield Road and winning 3-1 with goals from Birtles, Kirby and Hakin.

The only other FA Cup meeting with Coventry came in the long hard winter on 1963 when the Sky Blues won a second replay at White Hart Lane 2-0. that game was a Fourth round tie and was not complete until March 19th – that shows just how many games were being lost to the weather. Curiously that game was Pat Neil`s last ever appearance for Pompey and I hope to get a chance to talk to him about it soon.


Regulars of this feature will be sad to hear that at the end of the year it will be ending. The good news is with Phil`s help at it will then be moved to ‘On this day in history?` and will appear every day.

Phil also asked me to pass on his thanks to Gino and others who have spotted errors in his database. He really wants to know if anything is wrong as he strives to make the record complete and 100% correct. If you have a favourite player click on the link and enjoy the data that Phil has so lovingly put together. Any errors let me know and I will pass to Phil.

Not that there are many but last week Gino spotted that Eddie Howe and Ernie Howe had become confused. So remember there is only place on the internet where you can find this information and we at Vital Pompey are proud to have Pompeyrama as a partner.

6th December
Steve Lovell is 29 – we have tracked down the much travelled striker to Partick Thistle. Aaron Cook is 30 Shaun Derry is 32 Kevin Russell is 43 Clive Green is 50 Gerry Francis is 58 Fred Brown is 78 – Fred was the keeper though much of the disastrous 58/59 season – he played 23 games for Pompey and they lost 17!!
8th December
Valery Mezague is 26 Frederic Piquionne is 31
10th December
Lewis Buxton is 26 Ray Daniel is 45
12th December
Danny Hinshelwood is 34


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