Date: 9th July 2011 at 7:08pm
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The Toast team are back in pre-season training and trying to shed more than a few pounds too. Sadly we have not been on any special diet over the few short summer weeks but it is almost time to get Sunday Toast up and running for season number five.

It is a tough job looking after the rabble that masquerade as a team of reporters and contacts although we did get a mole into the David Haye camp for his unsuccessful title attempt in Hamburg last weekend, (now where is Vital Boxing when you need it?).

Toast has been a regular part of Vital Pompey life for a long time now and it is your column. You tell me what you want to hear about, you tell me your stories and most of all you enjoy the read. I do not know what is going to be in next week`s Toast so on Monday morning I start from scratch and if you float ideas in the Sunday comments it gives me something to start on.

The main thing about Toast is it mostly light-hearted or even tongue in cheek, to help you shake of the Sunday morning hangover with a cup of coffee, a slice of toast and a bit of a laugh. So if you have ideas or stories then don`t keep them to yourself!

After a quiet spell all at Vital Pompey towers is buzzing again. We have Chix back in full flow with his ‘Chew the fat` Thursday night regular spot followed by the Gristle at the weekend. Now PompeyFrippy is launching the mastermind quiz and looks exciting too.

So Vital Pompey offers you so much more than just a message board; we have up to the minute news mostly from Rug, and great chat and the odd teaser with Chix, Paul`s match previews and reports which are always worth a read even just to spot if you have heard of the referee and I offer you Toast.

With the BBC pulling the plug on 6-0-6 and the local newspaper just printing rubbish and inviting comments which are even worse surely those of you who surfing the net looking for a home that brings you all things Pompey must have realised by now that Vital Pompey is the place for you.

Quick look at the new signings

Luke ‘Reg` Varney

Vegetarian striker you started life at Quorn before being spotted by Crewe Alexandra. Unlike most of Dario Gradi`s products though, he was 21 before he arrived at Gresty Road to form an effective partnership with Dean Ashton.

In season 2006/07 he was the league third top goal-scorer with twenty five goals and that was enough to tempt Charlton Athletic then of the Premier League to splash £2m on Luke. He never set the EPL alight however and after a number of loan spells at Derby, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool he finds himself at Fratton Park.

A player who can play wide as well as up front he has terrific pace and should prove popular with the fans if he can find his goal scoring touch.

Stephen Henderson

A rarity in football as Stephen is an Irish U21 goalkeeper who was born in Ireland – Dublin to be precise. Tall, at 6ft 4in, and highly rated he played just a handful of games for his last club Bristol City but has got experience on loan at York City, Aldershot, Wycombe, Weymouth and Yeovil – where he was a popular player with the fans.

He must not be a superstitious Irishman as he wore the number thirteen shirt at Yeovil.

Only twenty three he is one for the future but surely so was Liam O`Brien who we released a year ago.

Get together

Just a reminder that the annual get together of Vital Pompey members will be at the Eastney Tavern next Saturday 16 July at 7:30 onwards.

This is third time we have held the event and two years ago we have an excellent turnout with members coming from as far as Australia! This year promises to be the same as quite a number of members have already stated their intention to be there – including Rug if you buy him a pint.

Food is available for those who are hungry (last order for food at 9pm) and if you don`t know where the ET is located, it is in Cromwell Road Eastney and the Post code is PO4 9PN. It has all the facilities a pub needs with good ale, a wide range of ciders, Sky TV and a 3D TV Screen as well! Nice garden which I hope the weather will allow us to frequent – it did last year.

See you all there.


On the subject of pubs we told you some time ago that the White House was closing well it did but has now reopened. Rumour has it that this is only until the lease runs out.

News for Chix and his merry band of followers the Rutland reopened yesterday under new management.

CSI – the judgement

It is of course too early to make any concrete opinion but it appears to any Pompey fan with his feet planted firmly on the ground that our new owners Convers Sports Initiatives – who will now always be known as CSI until the Toast team can think of something better, have started well.

OK I have a copy of a letter from Roman Dubov which talks in general terms about the road ahead but there have been no bold and brash statements like some new owners just a quiet and efficient approach to the job in hand.

The evidence is there for all to see – new training pitches, new staff appointed to the Academy, they have listened the fans representatives and reducing matchday prices and of course now the steady accumulation of a good looking squad. Of course there other fans who will say we need huge signings and massive wages again, to them I would remind them of the times we have just got through and the fact that the Football League are keeping a very keen eye on how we behave financially.

A straw poll of fans in the local pubs over the weekend seems to support my view and smiles are returning to faces that were covered with doubt until recently. Mind you this drinking certainly runs up the expenses! Ed please note.

Scummers we have loved

With the talk of Jason Puncheon, Southampton`s want away winger, joining Pompey this week talk on Chix`s fat column turned to the reaction he would get if the move went ahead.

Only eight players have been signed direct from our nearest neighbours since the war. The list is Eamonn Collins, Ron Davies, Paul Gilchrist, Scott Hiley, Alan McLoughlin, Steve Middleton, Matthew Robinson and Bobby Stokes. They have been met with different reactions from the fans particularly based their performances.

Macca is now of course a Pompey legend, Hiley too had his moments and Matt Robinson loved his Scummer Matt nickname. Ron Davies at the end of his career came and scored eighteen goals in nearly sixty games but was never quite the foil for Peter Marinello`s crosses.

Of the rest Gilchrist was a waste of space and Middleton only played a handful of decent games between the sticks. The saddest was of course the late Bobby Stokes who being a Paulsgrove boy always wanted to play for Pompey and when he did he carried ‘that goal` with him. Only two goals in one season followed. Sadly Bobby, who could be seen around the City in various jobs including at the cafĂ© on the Hard, died at the oh so young age on forty four.

For the record we have only signed one player on loan and that was Ivan Golac in 1984/85. Of course a number of others have had links to Southampton most notably a certain Mick Channon who Alan Ball signed in an effort to push the club to Division One.

Old timer? – not me

As most of you might know ir recently passed the milestone which makes me qualify for a bus pass and other benefits such as a cheaper Pompey season ticket. Well when my new season ticket card arrived in the post recently it was still as an adult but my wife`s had been ‘upgraded` to Senior Citizen.

She was not amused to say the least but I think I might just be able to get her looking old enough!!