What happened last season?
After just one game we were propping up the rest of the table. Things
got steadily worse from there on in. Not really, but at times it seemed
like it. We started the season under the managership of Tony Pulis. He
made some really strange team selections, which included the committed
but inept Dave Waterman in every position except his favoured midfield,
and some glaring ommissions, namely Scott Hiley, who went on to win
player of the season.
We seemed to be bumbling along in lower mid-table when seemingly out of
the blue Pulis was given a "sabbatical" in mid October. That paved the
way for everybody's favourite SkyTV pundit and "Portsmouth-Til-He-Dies"
Steve Claridge to take over as caretaker-manager. Things began to look
up as Pompey won 3 games on the trot, culminating with a remarkable
come-back from 2-0 down away to Crystal Palace to win 3-2. Then the
draws started which really should have been wins and the slide back down
the table began began again.
The REALLY low point of the season was the totally inept display against
Nottm Forest at Fratton Park. The 'leccy board very nearly pulled the
plug after not giving a safety certificate for unpaid bills. The Pompey
players very nearly went on strike that day over a little "mix up" about
the players' lounge being double booked. It really was a black day in
many dark days.
In february Claridge was "relieved" of his duties as caretaker-manager
when Graham Rix was installed as our new manager. Claridge went off in a
huff and bleated to all and sundry about how he had been stabbed in the
back by not being the job permanently. Personally I was relieved to see
him go because his tactics seemed to consist of "give the ball to me"
and once the opposition sussed this it all downhill.
With Pompey's seemingly inevitable last day escape with a 3-0 win over
an obliging Barnsley side done and dusted Rix proclaimed "This will
never happen again". Which leads us to question 2).
What's going to happen next season?
One thing is almost certain about this season; it will be different from
the last one and hopefully different in a better way from the last four
or five years. At the time of writing we have made a few signings, most
notably the Rodney Trotter look-a-like Peter Crouch from QPR. There are
rumblings about signing Mark Burchill from Celtic but I'm not holding my
breath on that one.
Rix has used his Chelsea connections to raid their youth squad with
signing of youngsters Courtney Pitt and Neil Barrett.
We also have a "Director of Football", the one and only Mr Harry
Redknapp, father-in-law of the delightful Louise Redknapp and formerly
of West Ham United. Just what a DoF does remains to be seen but a
Rix/Redknapp combination msut produce a better finish that we've
currently been used to.
All-in-all things is looking up for poor old Pompey
Can you recommend a pub for away fans?
The Brewers Arms and The Pickwick are both away fan friendly and are
both in Milton Road, about five minutes from the ground (fifteen minutes
if pissed). The Brewers Arms would probably be your best bet if it's a
decent pint you're after. The Pickwick is probably better for food and
those of you with young families. There is also the Good Companion which
has been refurbished in the last year. This one is a big building in
Velder Avenue. If you come in along the Eastern Road you won't be able
to miss it, it's a big ugly looking building on the left.
What's the nearest railway station?
Fratton is the nearest station to the ground and is about fifteen
minutes walk from the ground, past a few burger vans and programme
Where is the best place to park?
If you get there early enough, ie two hours before kick-off, you should
be able to park in the hospital car-park (pay and display). Otherwise
it's on-street parking in Velder Avenue near the Good Companion pub or
possibly Rodney Road next to the ground (mainly reserved for coaches
Beware of coming down the Eastern Road (A2030). This road is notorious
for its seemingly endless round of roadworks. At the bottom of the
Eastern Road (within sight of Fratton Park) roadworks have commenced
that are expected to continue until the new year.
Soundbites (from assorted Census correspondents)
"Shouldn't think so - Typical Pompey fan lots of hope no expectation!" "
"Portsmouth ~ THE team of the South"