Yet another blank weekend and has it come at a good time or not? Would the team be better off playing their way out of trouble or sitting around thinking negative thoughts?
The good news was the size of the crowd for the friendly with Rostov on Wednesday night. The club had told the Safety Committee that they estimated only 2,000 would attend so 4,348 was a magnificent turnout for a charity game where the recipients where known by the clubs owners were not by fans. A big well done to all concerned and it will be interesting to see how much was raised including the text contributions.
Sorry for the Leslie Phillips impersonation but it was the only novel one I could think of. Pompey fans are often asking why to we sing the Pompey chimes. And the easy answer is because our fathers did. However I like the sound of the story on the familyfellows.com site where a local family have done a fair bit of research into the songs sung by fans.
The story which I think makes most sense came in a letter to the Football Mail in 1949 from a former supporter of the Royal Artillery. The Artillery were at amateur side wound up in the late 1890s and until then they played their home games at the United Services Ground in Barnaby Road.
Now as any of you who attended Hampshire County Cricket games there over the years will know the Guildhall clock is clearly audible. The story told by our old fan is that back in the 1890s referees would use the Town Hall clock as it was then to time the game by with them usually finishing at 4 o`clock. If the home team were under pressure with the game nearing its end the fans would mimic the clock`s chimes hoping to fool the referee. And so were born the Pompey chimes which were then transferred to the market garden at the bottom of Frogmore Road.
That to me sounds as plausible a story as I have heard and boy have I heard some stories over the years. Have you any to share of the origin of the oldest football song in the world which was first sung at Fratton Park on 23 September 1899 when Brighton were the visitors?
The site is worth a visit if you want to hear songs sung back in the eighties as they are all there.
Thanks to Terraceman for his comment on Southern Soccer last week. He is right the Norwich game which ended 3-3 on 17 December 1966 was Pompey`s second appearance on the programme – the first being a 3-0 defeat to Derby. Pompey came back from 3-0 with a Kellard fluke as described by Terraceman and a brace from Ray Hiron.
I remember the game well, as keeping stats in a hand written book as I did then I had calculated that that was my fiftieth consecutive home game. It came just a couple of weeks after my first away trip (a win at Palace). Must admit though I did not remember the fact that Denis Edwards had a goal disallowed. Must have be the number nine shirt that caused the problem as for some reason boss George Smith gave the number eight shirt to Hiron and Edwards wore number nine for the only time in a league game that season! Strange the facts the Toast team spot.
Pompey`s first win on SS came on their next appearance when Northampton were beaten 3-2 on 11 February 1967 – this Edwards did score along with Ray Pointer (his first for the club) and Harry Harris. Busy time at Fratton for the TV cameras as two weeks later BBC MOTD covered the Wolves visit where Cliff Portwood scored the first goals by a Pompey player on that programme – a fact I have discussed with him recently.
The next season 1967/68 was a successful one for the blues and SS covered seven league games and one FA Cup tie at the Park. Pompey won six of those games including the table topper against Blackpool in front of 35,000, only losing the final game to Ipswich who were promoted. The cup game was the fifth round visit of West Brom which the Throstles won 2-1 in front of a full house (43,000). How I would love to see some of those recordings even though they were in Black and White!!
The next season saw Pompey shown no less that eleven times and they were unbeaten in front of the cameras, our near neighbours who some thought owned the television station were only covered eight times! That season also saw the move over to colour coverage at the visit of Blackpool on 14 December 1968 was game shown that way. For the record Pointer scored the only goal that day. They were also there when Hiron netted four times in a game for the season closing visit of Norwich. Pompey won that game 5-2 with Ken Foggo among the Canaries scorers.
More on Southern Soccer soon when we can look at the seventies when Pompey dropped down the league like a stone and almost disappeared forever.
I was researching ‘On this day` last week when I stumbled across this story in the Barrow Times and Star back in 2008. It tells the story of George Smith back in ..well here it is –
‘George Smith was a rarity in football as he has signed by a manger with the same name!! He came from Barrow for £20,000 in 1967 and he told the story to the local paper ‘I was told by Mr McEvoy (Barrow manager) that when we played at Lincoln City, the match was attended by the manager of Portsmouth, my namesake George Smith. Mr McEvoy said they met in the car park after the game. Mr McEvoy asked Mr Smith how much he was prepared to pay. Mr Smith said £20,000 – Mr McEvoy pulled out a piece of paper from his top pocket and handed it to Mr Smith – £20,000 was written on the paper. The deal was done in the car park but I was completely oblivious to the agreement until the day I signed for Portsmouth.
‘Mr McEvoy seemed to have great belief in my ability at the time, constantly telling me I was very capable of playing for England.’
George formed a very good midfield partnership with Bobby Kellard and they took Pompey to the brink of promotion in their first season. He later moved on to Middlesbrough. Signing are never done like that these days eh?
As part of an initiative from the Football League Pompey`s match against Doncaster on October 22nd will be a family orientated match. The League are encouraging Pompey to undertake a number of initiatives such as face painting and fun activities to engage with children on the day.
The Fans Conference are giving the day their full support and the club are offering a special family deal. For £44 you can get two adult and two under-17 tickets for the clash.
The club`s owners have announced that they want fans to tell them what improvements they would like made to the old ground in the next few years as there are no plans to move stadium for at least four years.
Meanwhile at the last Safety Advisory Committee meeting learnt that the clock at the Fratton End is to be replaced with an electronic scoreboard. The toilets are to be upgraded. This is to include the installation of DHW to the Ladies toilet. Externally, lighting is to be introduced to the rear of the North Terrace.
Now I take it DHW is Domestic Hot Water.