Date: 14th January 2012 at 6:40pm
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Pompey finished yesterday afternoon with only ten men, and ever extending injury list and their first home defeat since September – it was hardly what they deserved again a very disappointing West Ham side.

There were worrying signs for Pompey fans before kick off with Aaron Mokoena and Greg Halford on the pitch with their trainer doing a number of stretching exercises, both appeared to be carrying groin strains and neither were to finish the game. Another worrying sign for me was the announcement that Kevin Friend was the referee; he had a very game at Fratton Park in 2010 when he sent off Ricardo Rocha and I remember writing about him then. Yesterday he was probably even worse!

Friend was inconsistent in everything he did constantly missing indiscretions by the visitors including what looked a clear penalty early on for a foul on Marko Futacs by James Tompkins. The slap in the face of Dave Kitson was probably the worst of the incidents he did not see – next time Mr Friend I suggest a visit to Specsavers before you walk on the hallowed turf again.

Friend did though bow to pressure from the Hammers players and give a spot kick for an innocuous challenge by Tel Ben Haim as Julien Faubert backed into him. Stephen Henderson got his hand to Noble’s penalty but could not keep it out.

After that the game was really all Pompey but they could not find a way Robert Green and the Hammers even after the sending off of David Norris for a mistimed challenge could create little. In fact the visitors looked just like any side that Sam Allardyce sends out – negative.

The only Pompey player to remember yesterday with any relish would be seventeen year old Adam Webster who replaced Greg Halford for the last fifteen minutes at right back. He seemed to settle quite well and did not look overawed in the rather noisy surroundings.

Pompey now have a run of four away games in the next five with only Hull at home on 4 February. The injuries are piling up and it is going to be increasingly difficult for Appy to get any balance into the side – yesterday there was not one left footed player on the pitch. Norris will miss the first three of those and the need for the ownership saga to be settled sooner rather than later becomes more obvious.

Nought Posh

I am very glad to say what great sense it makes for Peterborough and Pompey to agree to move their game from a Tuesday night to Saturday 28 January. Both clubs were knocked out the FA Cup last weekend and have a blank date. It is a long trip for Pompey in midweek and I have no doubt that not many fans would have travelled. Moving to a Saturday means that many more will make the trip to London Road for the Championship clash.

Well done to both cubs.

Cup bonus

The crowd of over 40,000 at Stamford Bridge last Sunday will provide Pompey with some much needed cash as they struggle through the current uncertainty. Even with prices greatly reduced to £30 for adults the gate receipts will top over £1m.

emember that in the FA Cup each club take 45% of the net receipts with 10% going into the ‘pot’. That should mean that the club will net something in the region of £400,000. Now that will come in useful.

Partizan Avram

Avram Grant aka Uncle Avram will always av a special place in Pompey fans` hearts. So the news this week that he had accepted an offer to become boss of Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade. The job will not be too demanding nationally with the club ten points clear at the top of the table.

Previous manager Aleksandra Stanojevic was dismissed over an alleged breach of club rules and Grant has been tasked with making the Champions` league group stages next season.

Good Luck Avram!!

Old uns

With the shock return of Paul Sholes to Manchester United and the much publicised loan to Arsenal of Thierry Henry it got the Toast team thinking as usual, who would Pompey fans like to see back?

Who could we call back from retirement? Who would be your choice be? Let’s give you some ideas and we are ruling out all the superstars that the club could not afford –

Lomana Lua Lua – not back at Blackpool but will never be forgotten for a certain game in 2005 – he would give us tricks, goals and somersaults.

Yakubu – another hero who through a stropp when he wanted to leave and just put the shirt on and strolled around the pitch totally disinterested in what the other ten were doing. However he was a great goalscorer (43 in 92 games) and a cool finisher.

Nigel Quashie anybody?(After yesterday I have decided to remove Papa Bouba Diop from the list!)

Obviously we could go on but what about Guy Whittingham who is still fit or even Ray Crawford looked very nimble the other day when I saw him and he is only 75!!

Must add here how sad it will be to see Hermann Hreidarsson leave Pompey – he has been great servant over the year and had become a firm favourite with the fans. Age however creeps up on us all and he will be thirty eight in the summer. Always remember he played though the 2008 Cup Final with a broken jaw too!

Schools Out!

The decision of Pompey to refuse the Portsmouth Schools` Football Association permission to play their cup finals at Fratton Park this year is completely wrong!!

The club needs young fans and believe me for over sixty years schoolboys in Portsmouth have always gone into knock out games with one aim – to reach the final and play at their Wembley. I have spoken to local men of all ages and they agree that statement is true, a number even saying they would go to the finals day even though they were eliminated in earlier rounds.

Will always have special place in for any youngster living in the City or nearby – after all it is their Wembley!!

The News Trophy, the Supporters` Cup and two Stokes cups have been competed for by local pupils over two nights at Fratton at the end of every season. Last year PSFA paid around £1,500 to hire facilities. The club claim the pitch is only available for a small period until preparations on the surface for the following campaign need to start and they have other commitments including a Linvoy Primus charity game, a season ticket holders’ day and a Royal Navy cup final.

Sorry Pompey but whatever the calls for the use of the pitch we have an extended close season and it must be possible to squeeze in these important community events!

And finally…..

I would like to say a HUGE thank you to the Portwood family for their thanks for the tribute I wrote to Cliff earlier in the week. They described it as by far the most accurate, well researched and personal tribute they had seen, I have even now had an email from the club describing the article as ‘a masterpiece’.

It is nice to get these plaudits as you know that I do the job for the love of football in general and Pompey in particular. As Chix said they mean a lot to me and to every amateur hack who writes for clubs websites all over the country and it keeps you going on when nobody appears to be reading.

Lastly I had a chat with Ed on Friday and he is keen to tell you more of his stories over the years starting in 1948 when as a seven year old he would put a ladder up to his back wall and watch the Championship side in the showers!Over eighteens only I’m afraid.

PUP