Date: 23rd January 2010 at 7:45pm
Written by:

U beauty – you the Vital Pompey members voted to start John Utaka up front with Freddy P and of course you were right. Pompey showed they still have fight in their veins by coming from behind to beat Sunderland yesterday and progress into the last sixteen of the FA Cup. It of course means we are still undefeated in 2010.

As to the two idiots that ran on the pitch I hope they are prepared to pay any fine the club may be handed for the incidients!!

The only worrying note is the fact that we appear to be running out of players and only five substitutes were named for the game. With Michael Brown`s injury and no sign of the African players returning it is time to clean the boots off for any aspiring players reading this – except of course we still have an embargo in place.

Mark Halsey

A few week ago we told you that Mark Halsey was suffering from cancer. Well we have now heard that he has won the battle and as he told reporters ‘I was given the all-clear on 24 December and I have been training very hard. Hopefully, I’d like to think I’ll be back within four weeks.’ Now that is good news.

Hall of fame

The Pompey hall of fame is about to have five new recruits. Already invested are Jimmy Dickinson, Peter Harris, Ray Hiron, Alan Knight and Guy Whittingham. They were inducted at the inaugural Hall of Fame ceremony last season.

The new players to be invested come from different parts of the Pompey the post war era. Let`s look at them in chronological order.

Duggie Reid

Duggie joined from Stockport County and scored Pompey`s first post war goals in a 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers on the last day of August 1946. The war had deprived Duggie of his prime years and he was twenty eight by the time he moved south. He soon was given the nickname Thunderboots by Pompey fans because of his incredible shooting power and became a big favourite on the south coast.

He was a key member of the championship winning team of 1948/49 and 49/50 scoring thirty three times in those two seasons alone. Towards the end of his career Duggie was converted to play at Centre half but wore his famous number eight shirt in his final appearance at Fratton Park in the final game of the 1955/56 season. In all Duggie played 308 league games and scored 129 times.

He left Pompey to play non-league football at Tonbridge but was soon back as both groundsman and running a hostel for the Pompey youngsters. Duggie`s pitch was famous for its quality and it was very rare for a game to be postponed. It the days when most pitches were known for their mud strips from end to end Duggie`s Fratton surface was lush green. He retired as groundsman in 1978 and until recently the pitch had remained in a decent state. Bobby Moore once remarked ‘If you can’t play at Portsmouth, then you can’t play anywhere.`

Talk to any young player from the sixties and you will hear about the firm hand that Duggie used to run the hostel. They had a strict curfew but they were well looked after and fed by Duugie’s wife.

Most fans ask, why did Duggie never play for his native Scotland? Sadly Duggie passed away on 8 February 2002 (aged 84). I know his grand daughter Lucie still lives locally and keeps a room in her home dedicated to her grandfather`s memory.

Finally let me quote the Independents obituary ‘Such was Reid’s power that, once, he hammered the ball through the net and into the crowd when scoring from the penalty spot at home to Manchester City, and further vivid testimony to his fearsome prowess was offered by the Wolves and England goalkeeper Bert Williams. When asked by a reporter just how hard the Portsmouth marksman could propel a football, the rueful custodian simply lifted his jersey to reveal a large and livid bruise, in the midst of which the imprint of the ball’s panels could be clearly discerned.`

Len Phillips

Older fans would say Len was the most skilful player ever to play for the club. An old fashioned inside forward discovered while playing for the Royal Marines, Len also suffered from the war being on while he could have been playing for Pompey. In fact Len was one of the first involved in the D Day landings but eventually made his Pompey debut at Blackburn on 28th December 1946 in a 2-0 win that lifted us off the foot of the First Division table. He was 24 but would not become a regular until March 1948.

The championship years were off course the highlight of his but his three England caps would have to laid alongside them. Of course Len should have won far more than just three caps but England were rich with inside forwards at the time and sadly Len even picked up a knee injury while training with the national side and that ended his England career. His Pompey career ended in March 1955 although he attempted a comeback in a cup game the following year at home to Grimsby but tore a knee ligament.

Len is now in St James Hospital but his wife Joan told me how he had been perked up when the club took him the FA Cup last year.

John Milkins

The Brylcream kid! John played nearly 400 games for Pompey between 1960 and 1974 and to me seemed like at ever present over my early years watching the blues. Had the odd bad game but was Mr Consistent and had many admirers in the top league but never moved on until nearing retirement. Romford born John like many Pompey players of that era won no honours during his time at the club.

Mick Tait

Now this will please fans from the 80s. A real hero from the days when Pompey were beginning to resurrect their fortunes by climbing from Division Four to Division One. Why not read the Toast special on Yosser here.

Andy Awford

Perhaps a left field choice but well deserved nonetheless. Andy was signed from Worcester City as a youngster and he went on to play 371 games for Pompey scoring just three goals. It was at Worcester where Andy became the youngest player ever to appear in the FA Cup at just 15 years and 88days.

His career started very promisingly with him being fated as the new Bobby Moore as he struck up a central defensive partnership with fellow youngster Kit Symons. This led to him making nine appearances for England at Under 21 level and a great future lay in front of him.

However injury was to strike at key stages of his career that eventually ended before he was thirty. He also had the problem of playing in a poor Pompey side during the mid to late nineties. He did however pick up the player of the season award in 1997/98.

The Hall of Fame dinner is at 7pm on Friday, March 19 in the Victory Lounge at Fratton Park.

VP busy as usual

The last few weeks have been very busy at Vital Pompey towers. Rug has been churning out stories at an incredible rate with the help from you the members. It has seen VP stories regularly at the top of the newsnow charts for most read articles.

A look at the number of points accumulated by the top ten members in the league table on the right show how busy the site is at the moment. Nineteen members have over 100 points and I am right down at number sixteen! Will I make the top ten as usual this month? No chance I`m afraid.

Over the wall

I was beginning to think that you had all forgotten me as the input from you Toasters to our regular features when out of the blue I hear from PFCGino.

I seem to remember a while back you asked for some stories for Toast about watching Pompey for free? Well I remember in our promotion season (27th April 2003) was with a friend watching the Pompey game vs Rotherham on TV. A win would give us the Div 1 title, and we weren’t fortunate enough to get tickets. Halftime came and we were 3-2 up, and we knew what we had to do. We pooled our money together and jumped in a cab, arriving at Fratton Park just into the second half. There were a few fans down there, and whilst one steward was trying to tell other fans to go away, we snuck in behind him and took our place in the South Stand! We watched the rest of the second half, and were able to witness first hand Paul Merson lift the trophy! What a great night!

Thanks Gino that was a cheeky one and the sort of story we all want to hear. Just a reminder that other than Over the Wall, we also want your ‘Strange journeys to games`, Memories of your first Pompey game infact any odd stories worth telling.


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