Date: 17th March 2012 at 9:06pm
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Nothing matters as much as life and in this edition of Toast we discover that too vividly.

Firstly as I go to press I have just heard that Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba is ‘critically ill’ after collapsing on the pitch at White Hart Lane last night with no other player near him. Our thoughts are with him and his family and the whole of the football community.

Congratulations must go to the medical teams, referee Howard Webb for the way he handled things and to the crowd for the way they behaved – exemplary.

Another blank

As the Pompey players sank to their knees on the final whistle yesterday afternoon you knew that the season was heading rapidly to its inevitable conclusion. The men in blue had given their all in a frantic second half but that effort had sadly lacked any composure in front of goal and David James collected another clean sheet with some ease.

After a totally forgettable opening forty five minutes Pompey poured forward in the second half in search of the vital goal that could just have kick started another great escape. Some of the football was neat and players would make runs for each other and they so deserved to turn that effort into a goal but the football gods were not smiling on Pompey again. The final pass often went astray of two players would get in each other`s way in their desperation to get the ball into the onion bag.

Before the game Pompey had the worst shots on target to shots ratio in the Championship and yesterday only three out of fifteen would have counted. That’s where the problem is, in front of goal. I am also not too sure how fit Luke Varney is as he certainly is wearing plenty of strapping.

The side of course lacks balance with no real left sided threat and the delivery of the deadball into the danger area is lacking any true quality – oh for Liam Lawrence! The crowd however were magnificent in their attempts to raise the team and it was reminiscent of older days to hear the Chimes rising from the Upper North Stand as they did in the Championship days. The attendance of 16,695 was magnificent too as probably only 11,000 would have been there in normal circumstances. Whether that crowd can be repeated on Tuesday when Birmingham visit the Park is doubtful but Administrator Trevor Birch must be more than happy with the fans response.

Talking of Tuesday Pompey when take on Birmingham at Fratton Park and the club are inviting all fans to get their best fancy dress outfits out for the occasion.

Supporters are encouraged to raid the wardrobes for their most entertaining costumes to make it a jovial and entertaining night of football. Fancy dress has come out in force this season at a number of away games and now it’s time to bring it back to Fratton Park.

I might get out an official picket armband and come as a striker!! What are you coming as Toasters?

What’s happening?

So where were Kitson and Mokoena yesterday? Rumours circulating the North Terrace were that they had been released for football reasons not business reasons.

Is it true that there is to be an inquiry into the Stephen Henderson transfer to West Ham?

Who were all the suits in the Fratton Park Director`s box yesterday?

Can I have some answers please?

Brian Bromley 1946-2012

Brian passed away last week after a short illness and will be remembered by all fans over fifty as a solid midfield player with an eye for a pass.

Brian was a regular at Bolton Wanderers for five years before in November 1968 manager George Smith splashed the princely sum of £25,000 on Bromley. He saw the Lancastrian as an ideal replacement for the combative Bobby Kellard who had left in the summer. Smith`s original choice of Mick Travers for the role had sadly misfired as Pompey made a faltering start to the season.

Bromley`s debut came in a 2-0 Fratton Park win over Aston Villa and although the form only showed a slight improvement he would miss only one game over the remainder of that season – Bolton at home. His first goal would come at Bury on the last day of the season in a 3-2 defeat.

The next two seasons would see Brian a regular in the blues engine room and doing his job effectively but was never the star of the team. A good team man and it was sad that after picking up a knee injury in 1971 he was allowed to join Brighton in January 1972 in a transfer that cost the Seagulls a meagre £14,000. Strangely Kellard would return to Fratton to fill Brian`s boots.

Brian had one unfortunate record at Pompey and it came in the highly charged atmosphere of Highbury in the FA Cup Fourth round replay on 1 February 1971. Arsenal had come from behind and had just taken the lead with an 84th minute penalty by Peter Storey. A scuffle broke out on Pompey`s left flank and the referee sent Bromley from the field. He became the first Pompey player sent off for six years but later claimed the officials got it wrong as it was Nicky Jennings that was the guilty party.

He would end his playing days at Waterlooville in the late seventies and then settled locally in the licensed trade. He had lived in Clanfield and Portchester in recent years.

Family Club of the year

Congratulations to all those involved in winning Pompey the Family Club award from the Football League. In the current troubles this is the only good news I can find. Nice to see Matt Ritchie and Marlon Pack honoured too.

RIP Tony

Tony Goodall the chair of the Pompey Fans Conference passed away yesterday morning at the age of just forty nine. Tony, of the Pompey Independent Supporters Association, had done so much for the club he loved over the years and had been an original member of the Trust board. Only two weeks ago I was sat alongside him at the conference meeting listening to Trevor Birch and now he is gone.

Tony described his love of Pompey the City and the Football Club ‘I have always loved quirky Portsmouth. Wherever I have been in the world I have never found anywhere else quite like it. Nowhere combines inner city harshness with historic charm like Pompey does. ‘Talking of Pompey, they are my other great love. They give you more of an emotional rollercoaster than any love affair could.”

He was always outspoken and never held back in letting those know who he thought was to blame. In his final blog written just two weeks ago he said “Only Trevor Birch and his team know if this is a final attempt at flushing out buyers, or if it is the final strong arm tactic on trying to get funding from within football itself. What is for sure is now, most Pompey fans, without a few Million pounds to burn, are possibly watching the final death throes of a once great and proud Club. Meanwhile those Club Executives and Financial Directors that have caused this collapse are free to go about their business at other football clubs and that will be the real travesty if Pompey die.”

Our condolences go to Tony`s family and friends and we must redouble our efforts to save the club in Tony`s memory amongst of course many others.

Fans reunited

Not sure how the Fans reunited day went yesterday as I received no reports yet but when I get them I will pass them on.

If you know of any worthy recipients of the Pay4aPal tickets please let me know and I will pass on the details to the Trust for you.

And finally on this very sad day can I apologise for the fact that Toast was not on the streets last week. I was away in London for a few days looking for new owners.