Date: 29th October 2011 at 6:31pm
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In recent weeks after successive home wins we have asked – who needs manager? Well the answer now is Pompey do. With the next international break a week away the club must move and have a new man in place before then. That will give the new incumbent time to get to know the squad without the stress of games twice a week.

Yesterday at Derby`s Pride Park they were blown away in the first half hour and a late Jason Pearce header cannot hide the facts of the game. With the season now almost a third gone the side sit in eighteenth place and chances of top half finish are sailing into the sunset. So the message must be ‘Act now of live to regret it`.

Not being at the game it is of course very difficult to write anymore than a few lines – although a few hack no doubt do – but the BBC site stats show Pompey having 60% possession and only three shots on target – that in itself tells a story.

The loss of Greg Halford following a crude challenge by one time Pompey target Jason Shackell might also prove crucial. Next up, a trip to the Palace on Tuesday night, a ground where we have not done too well in the past. It will also mean an early return to Selhurst Park for Abdul Razak who joined City from the London club

Southern Soccer part 4

We left our story in 1979 with Pompey still stuck Division Four and until the Southern TV franchise ended on 31 December 1981 they would feature just four more times.

In the Fourth Division season of 1979/80 just two games were shown the December 3-1 win over Halifax Town and the crucial promotion clash with Walsall in March which Alan Buckley settled for the visitors in the eighty eighth minute. The surprising fact for newer fans would be why there was no coverage of the promotion clincher at Northampton in the final game. The simple answer was that there was a strike of local media at the time and the game got no build up at all. Radio Victory though did cover the match for all fans who could not make the trip.

Back in Division Three again Southern ignored the club and they had to wait until the 10th January 1981 for the next visit a 1-0 win over Sheffield United – Dave Gregory (Penalty). The final airing under the franchise came in November 1981, when Carlisle triumphed 2-1 at the Park in front of just 8,858, the second smallest crowd to watch a televised Pompey game.

With that it was over and Southern Soccer was consigned to the bin but fans ask where can you watch the games? I am not sure perhaps someone out there can help. I know that clips were available at the City Museum recently but I am unaware as to who owns the rights etc.

There were fifty one games shown in total featuring Pompey with forty nine at home. Of the home games Pompey won twenty eight and drew six scoring ninety goals at exactly two a game. ‘We always lose on Southern Soccer` was therefore untrue and from February 1967 to December 1969 there were twenty league game with Pompey featured and they lost just once – to Ipswich in the final game of the 67/68 season.

Ray Hiron scored the most goals with twenty two followed by Nicky Jennings on thirteen. There were some huge crowds too especially in the early years with the largest league crowd since the first division days of 35,000 against Blackpool and 42,000 for the cup defeat by WBA.

For the record I was at every one of the home games and one of the two away matches, so that makes fifty in total!

Jus to complete the story during the same spell Sportsnight (BBC1) and The Midweek Match(ITV) covered games in the week and Pompey were never shown. There were some games in the eighties though which I will get too one day no doubt as will coverage on MOTD. But as a bonus next week (some might see it as a punishment) we look at TVS coverage and networked ITV games in the eighties).

So we have got to the end of our journey from 1966 to 1983 and a look at how Pompey featured in the early days of regional football coverage. These days of course every game is recorded by clubs and the media and available all around the world. Back in the sixties a few black and white photos in the local press were all that was available unless Match of the Day came knocking and for clubs outside the Top flight that was very rare indeed; usually reserved for prime cup ties with the giants of the game.

Modern day fans do not know how lucky (or unlucky) they are.

Flushed out

Next week when to visit Fratton Park for the Forest game you will notice that the promised improvements are underway.

The clock on the Fratton End has been removed and repaired but is likely to be repositioned as the new owners have decided that an electric scoreboard would be a better facility for fans – although where else can the Fratton End clock though than on the Fratton End? Apart from the spell after the old stand was demolished in 1989 to the new stand being opened there has been a clock there, right through the fifty plus years I have been going.

A scoreboard would be useful especially when we get another reading 7-4 game!! Certainly the screen is much better in the new position over the Milton End and the match clock even worked last week – not sure it should continue to run after the half has ended though.

A new cleaning contractor Genesis One has taken over from the PFC maintenance team and will work on the stadium both before and after matches.

Work on the toilets is also underway and Derek ‘Rocky` Stone has identified a possible saving with the amount of water that is automatically flushed away when they are not in use. Work on the top priority work is already underway and should be finished for the Forest game – this includes hot water and new taps fitted in ladies toilets which is some good news. Although like the clock it is something promised six months ago.

The ladies facilities in the South Stand cannot be increased but an old maintenance office is being removed on the concourse adjacent to the food bar. This will free up significant space and significantly reduce congestion in the area. In my rare visits to the South Stand I know that congestion is a major problem.

This news comes to me from the Supporters Conference who are really doing a fine job on OUR behalf our all manor of subjects and they deserve a lot of credit for the effort they are putting in. The Pompey Trust does play a part in this work but those doing the work are spread from right across the spectrum of organisations represented on the conference which I know will please at least one reader!!!

and finally

I have no doubt you will all have seen the headlines created by the Robin Van Persie hat-trick at Stamford Bridge yesterday. The RVP trio is one of only for conceded by Chelsea in the Premier League – Dion Dublin is one but can you name the other two? Both have Pompey connections.

Did you remember to put your clocks back? If you see me running in the Great South Run this morning I suggest you go to Specsavers or any optician tbh.