Oh dear, what a festive period that was for Pompey! Four games and four defeats and eleven goals conceded. Five years ago I produced a set of statistics showing the results from December and January to show just how bad results have been in the recent past over that period and believe me this current season is the worst. In fact the stats show that going back twenty five years Pompey only average a point a game in December and January – in the promotion season 2002/03 we only won one game out of eight.
Only the fans have come out of this period with any credit. Sky Sports commentators constantly purred about the fans on Friday night and Swindon fans were so complimentary about fans singing when they are 5-0 down. Not of course that is something new! Let me take you back to 31 December 1966 – exactly forty six years – to a Pompey trip to Coventry City who were flying at the top of the table. Just two coach loads of fans made the trip – me included – it was a Christmas present from a friend but basically he wanted to go and got his parents to pay for me.
An early morning start to arrive in the midlands for a few pints – I was only fifteen!! I had to help mascot Barry Harris into his sailor outfit at the back of the coach – no not what it seems! In the first pub Barry got me a pint of M&B mild. It was disgusting!! On to the match and we clustered as a group on the halfway line and watched as the Sky Blues battered Pompey from the start. The goals flowed and we were 5-0 down with plenty of time left but we kept singing and tried to pick the side up who were totally outclassed and outplayed by their hosts. Only 100 or so of us in a 25,000 crowd but we would not give up and were finally rewarded when Ray Hiron scored a late consolation goal. It was a miserable day made worse by the fact that we arrived home too late to celebrate the new year.
A few weeks later a Coventry fan wrote in the Football League Review, which was a programme insert produced by the Football League, about the game and how the Pompey fans had never stopped singing in adversity and helped raise their side. So well done the 1,504 at Swindon but you were beaten to it by 100 forty six years ago.
Strangely Pompey would be back at HIghfield Road just thirty seven days later to play a FA Cup third round second replay with Hull City. Far more than hundred made that trip – nearer 10,000 tbh – and Pompey romped home 3-1 with two from Albert McCann and the other from Dennis Edwards. The only change to the team was the arrival of Nicky Jennings. Why the huge following? The prize was a tie at White Hart Lane.
Out of Eastleigh
So the decision has been made to leave the Wellington Ground in Eastleigh and train back at Fratton Park. It makes sense but it will mean the pitch gets extra wear and tear which could backfire in bad weather. It will save money which of course is a must and shows just how far the club has sunk. From plans for a grand facility at Gosport to no training ground at all.
Scott Allan has returned to West Brom after his loan spell. He was never a great success this time round possibly due to the traffic accident to was involved in soon after his arrival. He only shone is spells which is sad for a player of real talent and potential. He was probably costing the club a large wage so his return was inevitable. Thanks Scott and good luck.
So who will be next? Of the loanees I expect Mendez-Laing to be returned soon thus allowing Guy to bring in a couple of the players he has identified as available. Any truth in the rumour that Now Pamarot has been training with the club?
From the vaults
In December 2007 Vital Pompey asked in a poll – The way to Wembley: Does our cup runneth over? How will we do in the FA cup this season? That was the question and members voted – Pompey win the Cup! 38%, Semi-final heartbreak 17%, Fourth round exit 14%, Third round exit 10%, Fifth round exit 8%, Sixth round exit 8%, So close but a nice day out at Wembley 5%
Clever bunch you Pompey fans!!
It`s clear from the message boards and conversations with supporters with fans that many people are looking at the 15th January as a hearing date and presuming that the Trust will then get a definitive outcome. Unfortunately this is not the case.
The courts have been closed for Christmas and the New Year and will not re-open until Friday 11th. On the following Tuesday, the protagonists, PKF and Portpin will report to the judge on the progress of their discussions and if an agreement has not been reached, then the court will allocate time to a hearing, if the two parties have not reached agreement.
If not then a new date will be sought. How soon it will be will depend on a number of things; availability of both sides` barristers and their staff, availability of a judge and of course, availability of a court room.
The Trust remains confident that their bid is good and that their valuation of Fratton Park is fair. Hopefully 15th will be another step closer to the community ownership of Portsmouth FC.
Looks like we have a longer wait than we thought sadly.
Next week we celebrate Toast`s fifth birthday. Let`s all hope it is not with a record equalling fourteenth winless game.