Pompey deserved far more than a goalless draw for their efforts yesterday afternoon against a poor Leeds United side.
Appy sent out a patched up team to give a performance of pride and passion which won the hearts of the partisan Fratton Park crowd swelled to 17,571 by a large travelling contingent and a campaign to Pack the Park! Pompey were thwarted by referee Gibbs who appeared not to see Whites defender Darren O`Dea playing basketball in his own area just before the break – a more clear cut penalty you will never see – even Neil Warnock had to agree. In the final minutes he also disallowed a goal saying that a long Greg Halford throw had gone straight into the net when it appeared keeper Andy Lonergan had got his glove on the ball first. That is twice is successive games that has happened and in my long football watching career I can`t remember seeing it.
Pompey`s star player for me was debutant Scott Allan who ran and ran and showed some nice touches. Once he had settled into his first game in English football he grew in confidence and was unlucky not to break the deadlock on several occasions even managing to just miss the target with a free kick. That proved to be his last contribution as he was replaced by the returning Dave Norris. The Fratton Park crowd stood to give the young Scot a standing ovation as he left the field.
The situation at the bottom became even more precarious with results not going our way but with spirit Pompey showed hope is far from over. The side though desperately need the balance of a left sided player to enable them to attack down both flanks and Appy must hope that Luke Varney will soon be fit to solve that problem.
Middlesbrough visit Fratton next Saturday and if we can find a goal from somewhere and perhaps just a small slice of luck then surely we can start to climb the table.
I was very impressed with the meeting with Trevor Birch on Wednesday and hope that he can find a solution the club`s woes. The removal of all the Directors was a bold move but cuts a massive amount from the club`s wage bill. Birch will now run the club himself and he has experience of that at several clubs including coincidentally Leeds. We, the fans, MUST give him our full support and the best way to do that is by attending games.
He has promised to look at ways of attracting the absent fans back and yesterday`s performance can only help him in that quest. He has promised to use the club`s official site to communicate with the fans but as I write this column the site is quiet with no post match coverage at all.
There is also a campaign around the city with posters going up saying ‘Wanted Dead or Alive Hacker Young for the Rape and Pillage of PFC`. Not sure what that is all about though, to blame Hacker Young or specifically Admin Andy is rather curious as he inherited the club in freefall with a huge spiralling debt and managed to get a CVA agreed and the club out of administration. He did not create the debt and only Chanrai was around to take the club on – but he did receive a good fee for doing the work though.
Point the finger at those more culpable I would suggest.
Vladimir Antonov put his head over the parapet on Friday morning with his representative telling the BBC ‘All Portsmouth’s financial obligations were met in full up to the point when administrators were appointed [at CSI] in December 2011. No complaints were made to the Football League about the management of the club during the time in which Mr Antonov was in control.’
‘With CSI’s commitment and our own cash flow, we had more than enough money to satisfy [the company voluntary arrangement],’ he said.
He went on it was ‘simply impossible’ for Portsmouth to stay within its means and ‘satisfy supporters’ expectations’.
Well I am sorry to say Vlad that this supporter and many I know had just one expectation when CSI came in and that was Stability. We did not want promotion or major signings, just stability.
Just a word from Trevor Birch (who will be known as TB on Toast from now) when asked if Antonov could reappear if he is acquitted of all charges. His answer was short and to the point ‘No!`
RIP Eastney Jim
It is not often you discover the death of a friend by reading the obituaries in the broadsheets but that happened to me this week.
James (Jim) Riordan passed away on 11 February aged 75 and will be well known to football fans worldwide and children too. It was Jim who famously while working in Russia in 1963 he was spotted by a coach looking for an emergency centre half. He then played two games for Spartak under an assumed name. He later was appointed attaché to the British Olympic Team in 1980 and a pall bearer at Guy Burgess`s funeral.
In the late 1990s Jim turned to a very successful career writing Children’s books and wrote in total more than one hundred – ‘Sweet clarinet` was probably his best I am told.
His big love though was Pompey – he was born and died in the city and was a very popular figure around the Eastney area. He was a big man with real history and a real gentleman. Our condolences go of course to Jim`s wife and children.
For your children try finding a copy of ‘Young Oxford Book of Football stories’.
On Friday I passed the photo of Len Quested to Ed who had said he was simply the ugliest footballer he had ever seen. His reaction was strange as he thought he might after all this time have been wrong and doing Len an injustice.
With that he was off home to find his Charles Buchan Football Annuals with Len’s picture in the Huddersfield Town side in the mid fifties.