Date: 27th August 2011 at 7:29pm
Written by:

Pompey just about deserved the point that Kanu`s stooping header gave them yesterday afternoon against Cardiff City. The game was a curate`s egg – good in parts – but Pompey mostly appeared to be struggling to find any real shape to their play.

The much awaited debut of Erik Huseklepp did not live up to the expectations with him looking lost alongside Dave Kitson up front and then marginalised when pushed out wide left after half time. It was no surprise when he was replaced by Benjani on the hour, hopefully though when he settles and the team find that shape there will be better to come from the Viking.

One word for young Jason Pearce who came up against two experienced strikers in Kenny Miller and Rob Earnshaw and I thought he coped well. He certainly is growing with every game and looks a real bargain acquisition.

Boss Steve Cotterill now has the squad he wanted in numbers anyway and with the addition of a couple of loanees in the coming weeks he now needs to get them playing as a team. We have the raw materials now we need the finished goods. The trip to Spain to play Real Betis on Wednesday should be the opportunity to do just that.

Interestingly after the game SC admitted to overworking the players in training and taking full responsibility for the lack of zip in Pompey`s performance. He also describes the start to the season as a ‘steady but unspectacular start to the season`.

The fans that were strangely quiet again today are waiting for the team to give them the spark. The crowd of 14,354 was on the disappointing side too especially with Cardiff bringing around 1,500 of their own supporters.

I think I have now learnt how to spell Huseklepp but as Paul asked last week, how do you pronounce it? I know we have a number of Norwegian fans out there, can you help please? It must be better that the fans sat next to me who insists on calling him Hasselhoff! And for the song writers among – Chix et al – what rhymes with Huseklepp? Now I am going to wish I had not asked that.

Once that problem is solved we need to work on Futacs!

My first game

Last week snippet about the club`s plan to run a series of memories fan`s visit to Fratton Park brought a lot of interest. Of course we ran the series in Toast over three years ago and UKTony asked me for his story as he was thinking about submitting his tale. However having dug it out and sent it to him he replied saying it was too long and he did not want to reduce it. Fair enough I thought but why not re-publish it here as it is a great read –

Originally published on Vital Pompey 31 August 2008

‘My memory says Easter but eastneydave and the records show it was 1st April, some week or so later. It was definitely 1967.

As usual we were staying at my grandmother’s in Darlington Road, Southsea for the Easter holidays. Again, as was the norm, my mum, my sister and I had come down before Easter, while Dad stayed at home for an extra week or so. ‘Because he has to work’ she used to say (it was expected that he worked 5 and a half days per week, i.e. including Saturday mornings) but it was strange that he always found time to go to The Den whenever Millwall were at home. He joined us later in the holiday.

In his absence I had asked Mum if I could go and watch Pompey when Dad arrived. She persuaded him to take me and we were off to Fratton Park for the game against Blackburn. A regulation Division 2 match, but I didn’t care. I was going to my first football game.

The journey there was as exciting as the anticipation of the match. Walking up, passed Lait’s, the bakers, on the corner (long gone) across the road to the T-junction, turn left, then a right, then a left and there was Frogmore Road. It seemed to take ages and the crowds were getting bigger as we neared the ground. I held on tight to my dad.

I distinctly remember getting nearer to the gates, then a sense of panic and disappointment as we turned right and then left down what I now know is Specks Lane. Programme sellers, scarf and badge sellers and even rosette sellers all cried out for trade but Dad was not to be persuaded. (It was probably another 12 months before I was allowed to buy a rosette with my holiday money. It cost me 2/6d and I’ve still got it.)

We entered via the turnstiles at the back of the North Stand but stood on the Milton End terraces. It was a relief to get in because I remember having to go through a junior turnstile while Dad went through the adult entrance. Terrified that I was going to get lost or abandoned, Dad had to take me to my entrance, hand me over then go back and queue up for his place, while I waited for him to arrive. It was very noisy.

To tell you the truth, that’s all I can recall. I don’t remember it being a good or bad game; I don’t know if it was an important match or not (probably not – lower half obscurity – nothing to play for type game was the norm) but frankly I didn’t care. I loved it and was hooked. Regrettably, it would be another 12 months before I got to see them play again.

It was the Easter holidays, 1967………..

For the record, the score was 1-1 and the Pompey team was
1. Armstrong
2. Pack
3. Wilson
4. Gordon
5. Tindall
6. Harris
7. Portwood
8. Hiron (my first Pompey hero)
9. Pointer (goalscorer)
10. Kellard
11. Jennings
Sub. Radcliffe

I know, ‘cos I WAS THERE’

And no photo Tony!! Well I was there that day too Tony but I don`t remember the game at all. All I do know was it was at the end of a disappointing season and in a run of six home games without a win.

Now, how about your stories or even as a female fan reminded me the other day of waiting in Frogmore Road for the gates to be flung open to let fans out and sneaking in to catch the last few minutes of the action.

Five years and counting..

It was on the 26 August 2006 that I was surfing the web in search of Pompey stories and through newsnow I kept arriving at Vital Pompey. I had never registered for a fans web site before but for some reason I decided to join up. It was a while however before I began to post. A little later I was always finding myself answering questions on the history of the club and the newly installed editor of the site pompeyrug and another new kid on the block known as Chix persuaded me to start a series known as Challenge Dave.

The rest is history I suppose and I hope I have made a small part in taking the site to where it is. If you are a fan who just reads the article but never comments why not follow my example and register and get your views in print. We would love to hear them!

WOTS the word on the street

All these acronyms certainly take some working out for those of us past 21 and so did WOTS until the penny dropped – Rug probably heard the clang down in Devon.

I suppose being the only member of the editorial team living on the island that I am the man to pick up the WOTS and last weekend the word was that Jimmy Bullard has been seen at the training ground the previous Wednesday. He then spent Thursday with QPR before finally signing for Ipswich this week. Seemed a strange decision but he is thirty three in October and probably went for the top dollar.

A lot of fans have said that they did not want him at Fratton Park but I have to disagree with them. Paul Merson was the man that ignited the promotion campaign and it is possible that Bullard COULD have done the same job. He may not be everybody’s cup of tea but he is a character and we can all remember the job he did at Fulham when they escaped relegation in 2008 at the Park.

Still he has gone elsewhere so we will never go but I still say it was a brave move by Pompey boss Steve Cotterill.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed Pompey spent £674,920 on agents’ fees between July 2010 and June 2011. The club were broke too!!

That’s it for another week, see you all next Sunday if not before possibly Chewing the Fat with Chix on Thursday.