Date: 16th January 2010 at 5:41pm
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Who left the tap on?

There was no conspiracy theory regarding the postponement of the Birmingham game yesterday. The pitch was in a poor condition when the cover was removed after the snow clearance operation and Friday nights deluge was the final nail in the game’s coffin. The problem appears to be that the ground was frozen below pitch level and the water could not drain through to the pipes below. Hence the huge puddles down both touchlines. Toast was aware of the problem early Friday evening and knew that if the forecast rain came, it looked very dodgy.

Still we remain unbeaten in 2010 and the plan to have all our games postponed while the African players are away, continues.

Noughties stats – the goal scorers

For the goals stats of the Noughties we have decided to look at the games per goal ratio and to reach the top ten you had to score seventeen goals for Pompey in the decade. We have some special guests offering their favourite goals too.

Number 10 – Gary O’Neil Played 193 Goals 17 Games per game 11.35

Some will be surprised to see GON in the top ten but a goal every eleven games showed that he was hardly proficient goal scorer. His average only equates to about four a season!! He did score six in 2005/06 though.

Number 9 – Matthew Taylor P 203 G 29 Gpg 7.00

Now we are talking a left back who came good. He is famous for his left foot but he scored quite a few with his right foot and some with his head. Favourite goal has to be against Everton at Fratton Park from forty yards. I saw that side on too. Matty’s best season was 2006/07 when he notched nine goals.

Number 8 – Nwankwo Kanu P 112 G 23 GPG 4.87

Considering the King spend most of his time sat on the bench before making his now famous cameo appearances a goal in just under every five games is pretty good. He also tops the charts for cup goals in the decade with eight strikes. Now which do we think might be our favourite?

Number 7 – Lomana LuaLua P 91 G 19 GPG 4.79

Just in front of the King we find the tumbling ace Lualua. He will always be remembered for his goal celebration which on occasion ended in injury when he landed badly such as when he headed the equaliser against Arsenal at Fratton Park in April 2006. It was a great goal that earned Pompey a precious point in the great escape run but he eventually limped off to be replaced by Richard Hughes (wearing #11 lol). His greatest moments in a Pompey shirt however came a year earlier with his two goals against Southampton that sent our neighbours to a humiliating defeat.

Number 6 – Benjani Mwaruwari P 77 G 19 GPG 4.05

It took Benjy fifteen games to score his first Pompey goal but once he had scored at times he became prolific and was for a spell the Premier Leagues top scorer. Quite a transformation for the tireless Zimbabwean who is now impressing all among the multi million pound side at Man City; involved in three goals last Monday for example. Favourite Pompey goal must be the first at Wigan a day all fans will never forget.

Number 5 – Lee Bradbury P 91 G 26 GPG 3.50

These goals of course came in Lee’s second spell at Fratton Park. Lee actually scored Pompey’s first goal of the decade in a 2-1 defeat at Norwich. His last goal came in the promotion season at home to Sheffield Wednesday in the game we had to win to clinch promotion. Lee scored after 20 minutes to start the celebrations but two late Wednesday goals spoilt the party and that left the glory to Toddy three days later (see below).

Over to Chix – back to May 2001 and the relegation saving victory over Barnsley. Pompey had attacked with intent from the word go. Lee Bradbury had already forced a good save out of Kevin Miller when he scored the first in the 17th minute, forcing in a Scott Hiley cross at the third attempt. Pompey won the game 3-0 and relegation was avoided.

Number 4 – Svetoslav Todorov P 83 G 33 GPG 2.52

There is no doubt if it had not been for injury on the eve of our first season in the Premier League Toddy would have been the top scorer of the decade. In the promotion season he netted twenty six goals all in the league and managed just seven more as the tried desperately to regain his fitness over the next three seasons. His top goal has to the one that clinched promotion against Burnley in April 2003. I heard he was chaired to length of Albert Road after the game such are the stories that circulate around this city.

Number 3 – Peter Crouch P 88 G 35 GPG 2.51

Two visits from two metre Peter both loaded with goals. How we could do with him now. Over to Rug – I do not think that it was ever a ‘big secret’ that I was a big fan of Peter Crouch – I always thought the guy was better than people gave him credit for being, so when Dave asked me to ‘share my favourite Crouch goal’ I was more than happy to oblige!

To be fair he scored some really good goals for us but one that instantly came into my head was his flying volley against Stoke at Fratton last season – sitting in the North Lower you could see from the moment he connected, and he connected sweetly, where this was going! He showed fantastic technique and executed like a master such as Mark Hughes, who was renowned for his volleying ability. He did try this again a few times but never to the same degree of success though.

Although, and not so much for its quality, I would say that his 1st goal in Guimaraes in the UEFA cup last season was my favourite as this ensured that the European Tour continued for a while longer at least, and meant I would have more reason to go overseas! After travelling hundreds of miles by air and land through Spain and Portugal to get to that game it looked like it would end that night in heartbreak but when Crouchy nodded home we know the dream lived on. His 2nd goal in that game, which killed off Vitoria, was a beauty, it was a blinding finish and you do not realise just how good it is until you watch it a couple of times again…

Number 2 – Steve Claridge P 52 G 21 GPG 2.48

Pompey boy – the only one in thee top ten – who played for and then managed HIS club. Most of his famous goals came for one of the plethora clubs he played for. Two hat-tricks in his Pompey career and of course the third against Barnsley got him in all sorts of trouble of a betting scam.

Over to Chix – back to March 2000 and struggling Pompey were away to high flying Ipswich Town when they produced one of the surprises of the day when they ended Ipswich’s unbeaten run of 18 League games. It was a shock for Ipswich to suffer their third home League defeat of the season and their first since the start of November. The Suffolk side had hoped to tighten their grip on one of the automatic promotion spots. The Portsmouth winner came in the 26th minute when Steve Claridge headed home powerfully at the near post from a left wing cross by Sammy Igoe. Looking back the defeat did not prove costly for Ipswich as they gained promotion via the play-offs; however it was a springboard for Pompey as they went on to win four of their next five games and eventually survive relegation finishing 18th, five points clear of the drop zone.

Chix also reminded me of Claridge’s winner in the FA Cup third round tie at Forest in 1999 – a game that took place with demonstrations planned for future Pompey games – now that rings a bell. Trouble is that was in the last decade!!

Number 1 – Yakubu Aiyegbeni P 92 G 43 GPG 2.14

The Yak’s goals per game stands out from the rest being just over two. The only shame is it could have been so much better if he had been bothered in some of his latter games instead of strolling around totally disinterested in the game. My favourite goal came against Manchester United at Fratton Park in October 2004 when he turned the United defence this way and that before rolling the ball past Roy Carroll.

Great stats again from PompeyRama – visit the site and register it is well worth it!! And special thanks to Chix and Rug too.

Tax evasion

Everybody is being charged with Tax evasion at the present and the offence does carry a custodial sentence as a maximum penalty. However if you are found guilty in China you can be shot!!

Clear the pitch

Is it worth it nobody turns up to watch?

Five clubs made a great deal of effort before Tuesday night to allow their FA Cup ties to go ahead. This included clearing the stadium, the streets around the ground and of course keeping the pitch in a playable condition. This will all have cost them a great deal of money but their efforts were not rewarded when they sat down and counted the gate receipts.

We all know that the Ricoh Arena at Coventry had just 7,097 paying customers to see Pompey beat the Sky Blues for the first time ever in the FA Cup after 120 minutes but look elsewhere and you see a very similar result. The local derby between Bristol City and Cardiff attracted just 7,289, the replay between Derby and Millwall only 7,183, only 5,780 paid to see Paul Hart`s final game as QPR manager as Sheffield United triumphed by the odd goal in five at Loftus Road. Even the countries two form sides Birmingham and Nottingham Forest could draw only 9,399 to St Andrews and they are less than fifty miles apart.

The five games drew only 37,000 people at what were probably discounted prices and that meant clubs will end up out of pocket after all that effort. Why? Because firstly cup games are not included in season tickets, secondly pay on the gate is not generally available but mostly because although the ground is free of snow and ice the poor fans cannot travel as they are snowed in!! Moral of the story is – don’t bother!

See ya next week.


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