Date: 7th February 2009 at 8:24pm
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Oh dear here I go again having to lift spirits after another dose of what we fans do not deserve. Still we must stick together and win through. Quality defenders must stop making mistakes soon and we should be OK. Still down to business..

NinjaTim shared with Vital members thread entitled the fifty worst things about modern football which he sourced from the Times. Well at number one is Television the monster that ate football.

So with that in mind??.

TV1 – ITV Sport cut off

The major talking point of the week was the ITV coverage of the Merseyside derby cup replay on Wednesday night and the goal that no-one saw.

ITV bosses have said that heads will roll after an automatic commercial break caused fans in the southern half of the country to miss the only goal in the dying moments of extra time.

Well Toasters what action do you think should be taken against ITV Sport? Some think they should never be allowed to televise football again especially after the naked dressing shots at Histon.

TV2 – TV replays

Last week we mentioned the lack of TV evidence in premier league games after Nadir Belhadj`s sending off. This week England claim their first ever wicket by referral to a TV Umpire – must football always lag behind?

TV3 – MOTD2

Well yet again Vital Pompey has been chosen to be the face of the fans on television. This is a great honour for the site as it seems to be happening so often now.

Match of the Day 2 have been in touch with the Landlord and representatives will have been filmed both before and after yesterday`s game with Liverpool. To show my dedication to the Toast column I am typing this as they are being filmed – Villa take the lead at Ewood though Milner – to prove the point. The programme goes out tonight on BBC2 at 22.30 (10.30pm).

This is of course the third time that we have been asked to be involved with television interviews, and the second time on MOTD2. Last season they visited Fratton Park for the Tottenham game and quizzed Storagematt, PFC123, Chix and eastneydave about the home goal drought which we had been suffering at the time. It was the coldest day ever and as Pompey lost 1-0 it was difficult to think of anything to say after the game. My interview took five takes – not due to me though I hasten to add.

One message to BBC producers – please come on a warm day when we are having a good run!

Wet feet

Well the Pompey game went ahead at Fratton Park yesterday evening after the club installed a huge heated balloon over the pitch.

There was a downside however the melted snow had to go somewhere and reports are that the South Terrace was flooded to the depth of two feet on Saturday morning. The answer was to call the stewards in early with brooms!!

The drains apparently are blocked but surely a pump would work better?

Going Greek

Well the transfer window has slammed shut at 5pm on Monday for most – a little later for Arsenal!! Pompey tried to make more signing than the eventual five no doubt and would have taken Geovani Dos Santos from Spurs had his medical not shown his lack of fitness.

So we took Angelo Basinas from AEK Athens and loaned Theofanis Gekas from Bayer Leverkusen. Both are of course Greek Internationals and join a list of five previous Greek players to pull on the famous blue shirt. None of them with any great success.

The first was Michail Vlachos who like Basinas came from AEK in 1997. he was a defender/midfield players and stayed eighteen months playing 57 games. He then moved on to Walsall.

Next came Nicos Kyzeridis from Paniliakos in 1999. A midfield player who played only four times before going home to join Aris Salonika. Efstathios Tavlaridis joined on loan from Arsenal in January 2003 to add backbone to the defence as the promotion push gained momentum. Also played only four games before retuning to Highbury.

The last two came in January 2005; there was Konstantinos Chalkias the giant goalkeeper from Panathinaikos and then Giannis Skopelitis who came from Agaleo. The least said about these two the better Chalkias played in five games and was awful, especially when you consider he was the Greek second choice shot stopper and they were European champions at the time. Went to Spain and joined Real Murcia after having his contract cancelled thankfully.

Skopelitis, who a fan near me reckoned he could make for the letters he had at Scrabble the previous night, could run and run all day. The problem was he did not know where he was running to. Actually played eighteen games before returning to his old club.

The only other player Pompey have signed from Greek football was Emanuel Olisadebe the Polish Nigerian who joined from Panathinaikos. A striker with a big reputation played twice and left for Xanthi – for a holiday no doubt.

Just to add to the doom and gloom of the recent recruits Pompey have taken one player from Bayer Leverkusen in the past. A certain Boris Zivkovic – I will say no more except to add no Greek player has ever scored for Pompey!! Before someone screams Mike Panopoulos – he is Australian!

Buyers

Well this week Peter Storrie admitted that there are parties interested in buying Portsmouth Football Club. In the press release the club refused to give any details about the parties interested in buying the club. This is of course quite right and we would not expect anything else.

They also denied there was interest from a South African consortium after rumours spread back in November. Well as the Toast told you at the time they were seen looking around the clubs facilities in great detail over a number of days.

Paul Birch

Most of you will have heard that former Aston Villa and Wolves star Paul Birch died from cancer recently aged just 46.

Tenacious midfield player made over 150 plus appearance for both clubs and was always popular with the fans and management alike. Some fans have told me this week that Birchy had a local connection but I have failed to find one.

Paul however gave everything to West Midlands football and is a sad loss at such a young age.

Birthdays

This is a quiet week for players or ex players birthdays –

1th February – Neil Ayrton will be 47; Carl Tiler 39

3th February – Steve Perrin 57; Dave Pullar 50.

With David Pullar reaching the big five oh lets us look back at what we wrote about him last year it is worth a revisit and features the best and certainly oldest piece of Toast research.

he tall right winger came through the ranks and was introduced to the first team by Ian St John.

My researchers have had to work hard to find details of David`s early career but he was attached to a northern club before his family moved to Selsey when he was about 14. His father took up a coaching role with the local club and David was playing for a year in the Under 16s in the West Sussex Minor League. Although a flying winger he never had to worry about crosses as his pace took him clear of defences. He was already at Pompey so only played on occasions when cleared to do so.

Our researcher was playing in goal that day (only one to have any gloves) and they were top of the table and expecting an easy win. They ended up losing to mid table Selsey because of the performance of Pullar. The interview was carried out after this game but unfortunately the notes have since gone missing. David was soon offered an apprentice role at Pompey.

St John having seen the expensive signings of the early seventies fail miserably and left with no resources turned to the clubs youth team for help. The season 1975/76 saw eight youngsters makes their debuts – Steve Foster, Chris Kamara, Billy Eames, Andy Stewart, Keith Viney, Phil Figgins, Paul Denyer and Pullar.

David was the last to make his debut doing so at home to Orient as Pompey slid towards relegation in April 1976. It was to be Pompey`s last win in Division Two for over six years. Pompey won 2-1 with goals from Billy Wilson and Bobby McGuinness. The crowd of just 5,069 was the second smallest in Pompey history – yes I was there.

Goals were a rare commodity for Pullar and he only managed seven in his Pompey career most of them away from home. In fact his first Fratton goal game against mighty Bideford in the FA Cup First Round game of November 1977.

In 1979 Dave moved to Exeter City where he had more success in front of goal 22 times in 130 games and in 1983 he moved again to Crewe. After 4 years and 122 games with seven goals like a lot of former Pompey apprentices he returned to play for Waterlooville. The last I heard of Dave was he had a pub in Rowland`s Castle.

Thanks to Jimbo for that piece of 1973 research.

On this day

On this day in 1964 Pompey won at the Dell for the first time since 1925. It was a happy day for the travelling army of Pompey fans who had broken into the ground over night and painted the goalposts blue and white. Goals from John McClelland, Ron Saunders and Albert McCann saw Southampton beaten 3-2 in front of 26,171 crammed into the antiquated ground.

That win back in 1925 was Pompey`s first over the enemy in a league game.

See you all next week.

PUP

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