Date: 24th September 2011 at 7:52pm
Written by:

Only one name was on the lips of Pompey fans as they left Fratton Park yesterday afternoon and that was Erik Huseklepp after he stole the three points with a little piece of Viking magic.

Erik had faded after a promising start a bit in tune with the whole side and with under fire boss Steve Cotterill getting stick for all corners of the ground he burst into life. Firstly with a run across his own back four which ended with him being hauled down by a Blackpool defender who was booked. Then deep, deep into time added on a Greg Halford long throw reached him unmarked beyond the far post and in one move he hooked the ball over his head and passed a surprised keeper Gilks. A real quality finish that was totally out of place with all that had gone before.

Fratton Park erupted and the chants all round the ground changed to ‘Erik the Viking!’ It was probably more than Pompey deserved as they set up with just Benjani up front and played mostly spoiling football with only the occasional break from midfield to create a chance. Having said that the visitors did not do enough to earn the win bonus either being mostly content to pass the across the face of the Pompey back line with little thrust themselves.

We must now look up and with the manager having six strikers on the books even given the absence of Dave Kitson and Luke Varney we must play more than one up front at home? The knives have been out for the boss all week long with the most asked question has been ‘who do you want as the next Pompey manager?`

He has been given a stay of execution by the Viking intervention but unless more results follow the scabbards will be ready once more. Peterborough on Tuesday will be no walkovers as showed yesterday where they made West Ham fight all the way to earn their 1-0 win. There are no easy games in this division and relaxing in the sun as Pompey did yesterday will not earn them many wins or friends.

On final point on the game and it concerns he big screen which as exclusively broken by Toast is now on the front of the Milton End stand. The game clock is great facility but can the club please ensure it is set correctly. Now I am not sure what happened at half-time but it appeared as though the four minutes that were added in the first half were knocked off the second period hence with manager Ian Holloway screaming and the officials to put up the added time board he was actually doing it with several minutes left. Totally confusing for all in the ground – that is unless you are on the Milton End where you cannot see it of course!

Strange afternoon in the Championship with only Derby managing more that a single goal in the yesterday`s games!

Business as Usual

As regulars will know pompeyrug our erstwhile editor has gone off on his hols for two weeks. He has left the site in the safe hands of Chix, Paultsmouth and me.

It will be very much business as usual with Chew the Fat on Thursdays, Toast on Sundays, match previews and reports and all the breaking news as it happens. I have been left to do the daily ‘chore’ of the ‘On this day` feature with all the results and birthdays on that day. I believe that a lot of you do not read it regularly so I am going to give it a Toast edge with a game of the day feature where I will give an in depth look at a game from the past. It will be written from my memory using the stats from pompeyrama .

I hope you enjoy it – give it a look every morning and relive those memories – your own I mean. Keep the faith and keep Vital your home and why your at it give the Nivea ads a look they are well worth it.

The original SOS

This week marks the thirty fifth anniversary of the setting up of the original SOS (Save our Soccer) Pompey campaign. In the summer of 1976 the club had slipped into the Third Division for the first time in fourteen years but hopes were high of an immediate return.

John Deacon joined the Pompey board in 1972 and had begun to plough money into the club once he was appointed Chairman. In the summer of 1973 he lashed out £200,000 on the purchase of Peter Marinello, Phil Roberts and Ron Davies and appointed John Mortimore as manager.

He then sat back and expected success but it was not to follow and after just three months of the season he got out the cheque book again signing Paul Went and Malcolm Manley again at a combined cost of £200,000, those may not seem large sums but the transfer record in the country was only £250,000 at the time. Results began to improve but after ten more games Manley suffered a career ending knee injury at Notts County and the bubble burst again.

By he start of the next September Mortimore was sacked and Ian St John was bought in to replace him. But still the big names mis-fired and that left the Scot with no chance to give youth a chance. The next season 1975/76 saw names such as Steve Foster, Chris Kamara, Billy Eames, Peter Denyer, Keith Viney and David Pullar on the team sheet but relegation was inevitable despite the promise a number of these players showed.

This meant the club hit with huge financial problems and threatened with closure and Deacon asked the fans for help. In a packed public meeting in the Guildhall on 14th September 1976 the movement was formed and a collection on the night raised over £1,000 (I was there).

The appeal took many different forms – collecting tins were placed in nearly every shop in the city and surrounding area, the club sold square feet of the pitch, the IOW Supporters Club collected old newspapers to sell (no recycling bins then) and Harry Garcia even wrote to the prime minister at the time, James Callaghan – who was born in Portsmouth – who showed his support for the campaign.

There was also a promise made that if the gate for the next home game reached 10,000 someone would pay over a certain sum. I remember the pledge but not who made it and there is nothing in the annals to help me. Anyway the average gate was only 8,000 so the bet seemed safe but with the local paper backing the scheme to the full and the city more than concerned for the future of the club 11,937 turned up. I can remember now the cheer that went up when the attendance was announced on the PA.

In total SOS Pompey raised £35,000 [which these days would be in the order of £200,000] and the immediate threats were lifted. As we all know the club would lurch back into financial crisis again and again with the road littered with false dawns but we all hope that at last those days are behind us.

Another correction

No this is not another Pompeyrama error but one from Jake Payne a man of whom I have the greatest respect.

Some of you will remember the ‘Away Goals’ publications that were produced for Pompey trips into Europe and we here at Vital Pompey worked closely with the Football Supporters Federation in the venture. Well the other day I was looking through the first edition for the game with Guimaraes when I spotted Jake`s quiz.

Question 2 went – On their South American tour in 1952, Pompey played which Brazilian team in front of 200,000 fans at the famous Maracana Stadium?

The answer as every schoolboy knows is Fluminese but there are several flaws in the facts. Firstly the game was played on 3 June 1951 and was one of six matches of the tour. Secondly Mike Neasom in his excellent book ‘Pompey’ wrote ‘the first match of the tour produced an incident that cast a shadow over the rest of the trip with Jimmy Scoular sent off. Pompey lost 2-1 in front of a crowd estimated almost 200,000’

Well I have checked the history of Fluminese and having used a Portuguese translator and found this – ‘In 1951, the Fluminense held two friendly in Maracanã against equipes english in excursion, and they are the Arsenal FC, that the Flu has won by 2 to 0 on 20 May 1951 in the face of 43,746 spectators (35,010 pig when it comes) and against the Portsmouth FC on 3 June 1951 when the Gripe won by 2 to 1 with a public present of some 45,244, 37,935 and being treated.

What that means is the crowd was 45,244 with 37,935 paying! So the stories that Pompey had played in front of the biggest crowd ever to watch an English club are way off the mark.

Safety Conference with free beer!

Ken Malley of the FSF has asked me to publicise the following event. On Thursday 20th October, the Pompey Supporters’ Trust are working with the Football Supporters’ Federation to present ‘Watching Football Is Not A Crime’ at the Rifle Club, Goldsmith Avenue. A policing forum where the audience have the chance to put questions to a panel that includes, Supt Rick Burrows, Silver Commander Portsmouth and Southampton (in other words in charge of policing at Fratton Park and St Marys), Barrister Stephen Field (, a solicitor from Tuckers, the firm that represent Ian Tomlinson’s family ( and hopefully a representative of the Football Safety Officers’ Association.

They will be Chaired by Alan McLoughlin, ex Pompey and Eire.

Fans are encouraged to register their intent to attend on the FSF website ( from this weekend. All who pre-register will be entitled to their first drink free.

The venue will be the Rifle Club in Goldsmith Avenue, 7pm for a 7.30 start.