It is very difficult to know what to write after a day like that. Two things are for certain we are going back to Wembley and Avram Grant is a magician. After a rather turgid first half the Israeli boss did not take off the strangely lack lustre Danny Webber or John Utaka but sent out the same side and all of a sudden things began to tick and to be honest there was only one winner after that. Rather like at St Mary’s it appeared to be the ability to open the game up after a tight first hour that allowed Pompey to strike at pace and the visitors had no answer.
Freddie P scored two goals, the second a beautiful finish and there could have been more after that. As to the Birmingham claim that Ridgewell’s header crossed the line, I have watched it over and over again on pause and slow motion and in my opinion (for what it’s worth) the whole of the ball did not (quite) cross the line. To do that you would be able to see daylight between the post and the ball and although masked by the net you could not see any. There was no zoom in available on ITV sport (surprise?) but it was too close to call for the linesman.
Avram has in the short time he has been back at the club become a real hero to the fans and the players and as a fan said to me at half time his plan seems to be get to half time at 0-0 and that will allow him to tinker with the line up to go on and win the game.
I also believe we should play all games live on TV on Saturday lunchtime – just look at our record this season. Let`s leave the last word to Avram though when he said after the game ‘Some things in your life you never forget, and this is one of those moments.’
The semi finals will be played over the weekend of 10-11 April and it will be on a new pitch which will be down by 28 March. The tenth time the pitch has been replaced since the stadium was completed. That means in your diaries cross out Wigan and write Wembley!!
Back to back games
Somebody said to me yesterday that it is not often you play the same team in two games in different competition back to back and had Pompey ever done it before.
Well it has happened four times during my years of supporting Pompey, the first being back in 1965 when we were drawn to play Cardiff City at Ninian Park in the league cup three days before we played there in the league. We lost the Cup game by two goals to nil but Ray Hiron and Alex Wilson netted in the league game to earn Pompey a 2-1 win. Different result.
Thirteen years later Pompey and Reading were both doing well at the top of the Division Four when fate paired us at home in the FA Cup second round seven days before the long awaited league meeting at Fratton Park. The season`s best crowd of over 17,000 saw the Royals win the cup tie by a single goal but seven days later Pompey got their revenge with Peter Denyer, Leigh Barnard, Jeff Hemmerman and Steve Davey scoring in an emphatic 4-0 win and sent Pompey fans off to Christmas in a happy frame of mind. Different result.
On to 1987 and the FA Cup third round draw brought Blackburn Rovers to Fratton just a week after the two sides had met at Ewood Park. Pompey lost 1-0 in Lancashire but a Mick Quinn brace got revenge back in Hampshire. Different result.
The last occasion was in 1989 but this time there would be three meetings with Swindon Town in just eight days. The league game at Fratton Park on January 2nd was won by the Robins by 2-0. Five days later also at home Mick Quinn gave Pompey an ideal start with a first minute but late goals were then to thwart Pompey. A late scrambled Steve Foley goal sent the game to a replay. Different result.
The replay at the County Ground saw Pompey fight hard but be beaten by two late goals from Foley and Duncan Shearer. So after yesterday`s win will Pompey break the habit and pick up a vital three points on Tuesday night?
Ask the Administrator
Before yesterday’s game a group of fans representatives including me got a chance to put a full range of searching questions to two of the staff of Hacker Young in the Fratton Park boardroom.
Michael Kiely (Associate Partner ) and Terri Mulgrew (Senior Insolvency Administrator ) met with about a dozen of us and I hope were impressed with the quality of the questions and the knowledge of the fans that faced them. In the pre-meeting we felt that they would not give us too much information but they were very open and honest where they could be.
Obviously they will take some more time unravelling the financial mess and have agreed to meet again in two weeks time.
I know you all want to know more and I will publish the full minutes religiously taken by Brendan Bone as soon as they are cleared – so watch this space.
If you want to buy Portsmouth Football Club then there will be an advert placed in Tuesday`s Financial Times – thank is the pink broadsheet!!
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT!
Last week in the comments after Sunday Toast pompeygray reminded us of a story he had written about Pompey winning the cup. Nothing unusual about that but he wrote it in February 2006 and the year of the triumph was 2039!!
I thought why not dig it out and give it an airing, with all the moaning and groaning around last week I thought let me try and put a smile back on Pompey fans faces. I think something else may have got there first!
This is an amazingly weird story for you before you go to bed and this is the sort of stuff dreams are really made of. This is what you`re going to do! You`re going to read this article, go to bed and have this dream and then you`re going to put twenty pounds on Portsmouth to win the cup in 2039!
Well guys I’ve just returned from the future and you are not going to believe it but we won (or will win) the FA Cup in 2039. We defeated Wolverhampton Villa 4-1 with goals from African ace Attacki Meoni, Chinese superstar Mee Not Goal Lee and a brace from Barlow Bert.
To celebrate the 100 year repeat we even brought on the 56 year old bionic Gary O’Neill as a late sub. Managed by Jamie Redknapp and also watched by his father Harry in a wheelchair, the Pompey chimes rang out loud around the packed Wembley Stadium – recently completed. Playing on the new blue Astro turf which is regenerated overnight and laser cut in the morning, the Blue and Pinks were superior to their counterparts in all departments.
The trophy was then taken back to the Portsmouth Redknapp Rosebowl Stadium which replaced the old Fratton Park – condemned in 2029. 100 year old Milan Mandaric was on hand to congratulate the team and spoke fluent English ‘This is the proudest day of my life – I used to own this club you know, and I always told the fans that one day they would have a new stadium’.
Pompey also faired well in the League that season, finishing in the top half for the first time since the 1950’s. Long suffering fan John Westwood, no longer able to play the bugle (some good things do happen) threw his crutches in the air and was unable to leave the ground – through lack of support I suppose!!
So there you have it – another trophy and not too long to wait. Stay tuned!
Little did gray know that we would only have to wait two years to win the great trophy or what troubles that would eventually lead to.
Anyone know of any other old article I could resurrect?
Hart to Selhurst
We all now know that ex Pompey manager Paul Hart was appointed manager at Crystal Palace this week to replaced Neil Warnock who moved to QPR where Hart had his last job.
I find it a strange appointment but it probably fits with the Palace budget as they of course are in administration. Whatever good luck to Paul in his battle to keep the Eagles in the Championship – they made a good start beating the Blades yesterday.
Jolly hockey sticks
Well here is a first for Toast talk about Hockey. The reason is because our old friend Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, football`s governing body, may follow the example of Hockey and scrap the offside rule.
Blatter held talks with a leading hockey official in Zurich a few weeks ago, with a view to determining what football might do about a rule that splits opinion and could do so again at the World Cup finals in South Africa this summer.
The offside rule in hockey was amended in 1987 to apply only to the 25 yards zone and was temporarily abolished in 1996 before being done away with altogether two years later.
The result has been that the game has become more exciting and attractive to spectators, especially creating more space in midfield. Anybody watching the World Cup (of hockey) this week would support that.
FIFA amended the offside rule in 2003 but referees and their assistants might welcome a rule change that could end football of many of its debatable decisions. Leandro Negre, president of the International Hockey Federation told reporters “He (Blatter) did seem very interested in how we had implemented it.”
What do you think Toasters?
RIP Keith Alexander
The whole of football mourns the death of Macclesfield manager Keith Alexander who passed away this week at the age of 53. His passing was marked by a minutes applause at Fratton Park before yesterday`s big match.
‘Keith was a splendid man. He will be sorely missed at the Moss Rose and by everyone involved in football,’ read a Macclesfield statement. ‘Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family at this very difficult time.’
Keith had recently returned to work after taking time out because of illness.
lexander, who suffered a brain aneurysm in November 2003 while Lincoln manager, passed away after arriving home on Tuesday night from the League Two match at Notts County.
He was a real football man and a lovely character with it.