Date: 2nd May 2009 at 7:29pm
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Bad day at the office yesterday but Arsenal are have some exceptional young players and in Andrei Arshavin a man who appears to have shown great sportsmanship. Not seen the penalty incident at close quarters yet but some of the press are reporting that he clearly indicated that Sean Davis had won the ball fairly.

Shame Linvoy could not have had five minutes at the end after the Pamarot dismissal.

Dressing rooms

Sir Alex Ferguson has had a dig at the changing facilities at the Park this week but does he know that they are painted before every home game? Because the walls are white and players treat them with little respect they have to be washed down and painted between games. This week they were freshly coated on Tuesday.

Now with all that point on the walls no wonder they are small! Are the OT dressing rooms treated that well SAF?

Thanks Darling!

Well we do not often talk about the budget on Vital Pompey but one point needs discussion. The decision to raise the rate of tax for earners over £150,000 per annum to 50% may drive away high earning players some of who earn that a week.

Will it be the beginning of the end for the Premier League?
Will players expect to be paid tax free?

The Light Brigade

Now we don`t tend to concentrate too much time on classic poetry in the Toast office but the trip to Newcastle just got us thinking. After the number of visiting Pompey fans was counted at about 580 shall we round up to 600 the Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson came to mind.

For a start the first line is ‘Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward’ Well perhaps not half a league but seven very crucial points and come the end of May it could be a whole league. 

The poem continues ‘Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them` well Toon Boss Alan Shearer had asked to noise and for a short time he got it then for some strange reason the boom of the cannon turned to boos!

‘Into the valley of death rode the 600` (well nearly) well hardly the valley of death as Pompey dug in and repulsed the home side before forcing them back into their own half and almost getting a famous victory.

The poem finishes ‘Back from the mouth of Hell’ which I assume refers to the rather obese and toneless opera singer and finally Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred! (well almost). Yes well done girls and boys for showing what real support is about and glad to say you all returned safely. 

Coverage by Setanta

Was I the only one who sat and watched the game on Setanta sports and asked ‘were Pompey actually there?` The coverage seemed all about the Toon and how they were going to win their last three home games and secure a great escape. They belittled Pompey`s travelling support (a near 800 mile round trip on a Monday night) from the warmth of the studio and then in the show after the event we had a cosmopolitan bunch of so called premier league supporters but nobody in a Pompey shirt.

We will have to compare the coverage when Sunderland come to town next week but I fear it might the same if the Black Cats are in turn facing the drop.


Only five ex players this week and only 48 league games between them but still five stories to tell. Remember the link to Pompeyrama stats – just click on the player’s name.

6th May

Ron Rafferty will be 75

Ron Rafferty – was born in South Shields on 6 May 1934. He was an amateur with Shrewsbury and Wycombe Wanderers and was spotted by Pompey in 1954. He made his debut in September that year at home to Sunderland in place of the injured Johnny Gordon but that was one of only two appearances that season.

Ron stayed at Pompey for three seasons in total playing just 23 appearances and scored five goals. He was playing at a First Division club and they have quality players and Ron decided to move for regular football. He joined Grimsby. It was in his seven year spell at Blundell Park that Ron really became a legend. He was to make 263 appearances and score 145 goals with the Mariners. He was top scorer for four of those seasons and in 1961/62 managed 34 goals as Grimsby were promoted to Division Two behind Champions Pompey!! Rafferty’s attacking partner that season was none other than Cliff Portwood.

The next season in Division Two Ron faded from the scene rather and in 1963 local rivals Hull City paid £10,000 for his services. However after crossing the Humber Ron played just sixteen times scoring six goals before moving back to Hampshire and signing for Aldershot in 1966. It was at the Recreation ground that Rafferty was to finish his career scoring ten goals in two seasons while playing 79 times – Ron had now converted to a centre half. At the end of the 1968/69 season Ron retired from playing and joined (the now defunct) Guildford City as a coach.

Ron still attends home matches at Aldershot`s newly named EBB stadium and a month ago was there as a guest of honour.

7th May

Ray Potter 73

Beckenham born Potter began his career at his local club Crystal Palace in 1953. he then moved to West Bromwich Albion in 1958 and it there that he made his name.

Goalkeeper Potter played over 200 league games for the Baggies in nearly ten years and was a one stage tipped as possibly making the 1966 World Cup squad. In those days most Keepers in the top division were English and a couple of good displays and you were on the journalists lips.

John Osborne became Albion`s number one in 1967 and Pompey were looking for a reliable back up to John Milkins so Ray moved South. Ray played just three league games in three years plus one game in each cup competition such was Milkins consistency. Ray also struggled with Pompey’s one team structure and when called upon results did not go his way.

The two cup games ended in defeats – 4-1 at Darlington in the League Cup and 4-0 at Blackburn in the FA Cup. In his third league game Ray picked up a knock in a 3-3 draw at Carlisle and the club immediately borrowed Bob Widdowson to cover the gap. Potter never played again and retired. He died in 2005.

8th May

Ron Bennett 82

Left winger who was understudy to Jack Froggatt during the Championship years a taste he shared with the legend Cliff Parker. Ron only played eight times for Pompey and scored just one goal – at Sunderland in March 1950. That goal was a key goal as Pompey began their push to retain their Championship having dropped to fifth place at the time. The league was of course retained on goal average so Ron`s goal you could say won us the title!

9th May

Trevor Roberts 48

Came through the youth system and played just three games. His debut was at Darlington in 1979 two days after his eighteenth birthday. He came on as a substitute in a 2-0 defeat. That game was watched by the lowest crowd ever to watch a Pompey game just 1,140. We just don`t do well at Darlo do we? They finished bottom that season. He then played twice the next season once as a substitute but never appeared at Fratton Park,

Bill Atkins 70

Solihull born Bill began his football life with Birmingham GPO and was spotted by local giants Aston Villa and joined them in 1958. Unfortunately Bill never made the first team and a move to Swindon Town followed in 1959. Bill then began a long and trudge around lower division scoring about one goal every three games. The clubs involved were Halifax Town (twice), Stockport County, Rochdale and Darlington.

During that trek after a long successful spell at left Edgeley Park when Portsmouth paid Stockport £18.000 to take him to Fratton Park in March 1969. Bill had been a very popular player at County forming a formidable partnership with Jim Fryatt in the 1967/68 season. Bill in fact had signed at the end of the previous season and scored the goal that won Stockport the Fourth Division title. Such is their popularity that they hold a joint place in the Stockport County Hall of fame. To show what a small world football is, Mick Quinn and Brett Angel are also in the County Hall of fame and Paul Hart was one to offer his apologies to the inaugural dinner in October 2002. Fryatt and Atkins had not seen each other for 30 years prior to that meeting.

Bill a tall and skilful striker was to play just eleven games for Pompey alongside Ray Hiron and score just two goals. The first was a Fratton Park against Blackburn Rovers on 30th August 1969 – in the Rovers side was a certain Jim Fryatt!! Bill was considered too similar a player to Hiron, strange as Ray scored seven goals in Bill’s first three games at the end of 1968/69. He eventually moved back to Halifax for £12,000 in November 1969 after less than nine months at the club. He had been away from Halifax for less than three years too.

Bill scored an impressive 157 league goals in his career. On retiring he joined the coaching staff at Darlington.

Summer is coming

The season draws to a close and that means the close season will soon be here. Well what is the Toast team going to do?

Firstly we will have the end of season awards dinner at the local McDonalds. We need you nominations for the Seasons’ high spot, Goal of the season and Player of the season but please remember this is Toast and we do not pick the obvious choice.

Secondly what do you want Toast to do over the summer? Should I do Retire? Write more or less? If you want me to carry on I want your help with first match memories, your best or worst eleven.

There will be a new feature probably to celebrate Danny Baker being back on 606 and that is to tell me your strangest journey to a game.

And finally does anybody fancy being a guest writer?

Well I`m off for a lay down see you all next week.


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