Spyin' Kop: Portsmouth Away

Posted by gramck24 on May 3, 2006, 09:47:36 AM

So then, here we are and another season has passed… well almost. It is our last fixture of our current Premiership campaign and our penultimate game of the season. Whilst we'll have one eye on the ‘FA Cup Final’ Saturday week, this will certainly be an interesting last league fixture to say the least. Second spot is still up for grabs after a much-welcomed stalemate at Old Trafford on Monday night when Uefa Cup finalists – Middlesbrough ground out a draw with Man Utd. No question about it – we need all 3 points at Fratton Park if we are to snatch second spot from our fiercest rivals, and in the meanwhile, we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed that the out-of-sorts Charlton Athletic can give there soon to be departed manager – Alan Curbishley a good send off.

To our game itself… how will Rafa go about his business? Full strength side chasing that second spot in the hope that our rivals from down the ol’ East Lancs. slip up? Or will several key players be rested up for the cup final? Either way, I think we can safely assume that our game this coming Sunday will be slightly easier in the knowledge that Portsmouth are now safe. However, I don’t think for one second that ‘Harry Houdini’ and his players will take this game lightly. I’m sure that the Portsmouth players will want to put on a good show in their final home game of the season as a huge thank you to their loyal fans for much needed support during their relegation dogfight. If results go Portsmouth’s way at the weekend, it could in fact see them leap-frog Aston Villa and see them finishing 16th in the league.

Portsmouth v Liverpool
Fratton Park
Sunday 7th May - 2006
Kick Off: 3:00pm

Club Details

Name: Portsmouth Football Club
Address: Fratton Park, Frogmore Road, Portsmouth, PO4 8RA
Capacity: 19,179 (all seated)
Website: www.pompeyfc.co.uk
Chairman: Milan Mandaric
Directors: Fred Dinenage, Terry Brady, Mark Johnson, Peter Storrie
Chief Executive: Peter Storrie
Club Secretary: Paul Weld
Manager: Harry Redknapp   
Coach: Joe Jordan   

Sponsors: OKI Printing Solutions Ltd

Club History

The original Portsmouth Football Club was formed in 1898 after local team Royal Artillery fell out of favour. A meeting of five local businessmen and sportsmen brought together by solicitor Alderman JE Pink invested in an area of land which was to become Fratton Park. As original members of Division Three in 1920, the naval city's club flourished with the introduction of the Third Division (South) the following year. Pompey finished top of the 1923-24 table and 1927 saw a dramatic last-day promotion to Division One, beating Manchester City to the second promotion place by slenderest of goal average margins - 1/200th of a goal. The period of success under legendary manager Jack Tinn continued and saw FA Cup final appearances in both 1929 and 1934. But Tinn - who was in charge from 1927 to 1947 - helped Portsmouth get their hands on the famous trophy with a 4-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1939.

After World War II, Portsmouth continued to be one of the leading sides in the country, winning back-to-back League Championships in 1949 and 1950. But they were unable to sustain that success and through the 1960s and 1970s the club was outside the upper echelons - and even had a brief stay in Division Four. But Pompey found their feet once again and recorded a series of elevations in the early 1980s, culminating in their first top-flight season in almost three decades in 1987-88. Relegation followed a year on and a series of managers attempted to restore the side back to former glories. After 16 years, Harry Redknapp - a Premiership veteran with West Ham - guided them back to the top with a flowing brand of football.

Club Honours

First Division Champions: 1948-1949, 1949-1950
Division One Champions: 2002-2003
Second Division Runners-Up: 1926-1927, 1986-1987
Third Division Champions: 1961-1962, 1982-1983
Third Division (South) Champions: 1923-1924
FA Cup Winners: 1939
Charity Shield Winners: 1949

Club Trivia & Facts

Origins of the name 'Pompey'

Why Pompey? That is possibly the greatest mystery in the story of Portsmouth Football Club. The origins of the club itself are firmly documented; more obscure though are the origins of a nickname, which is perhaps the most instantly recognised in the English game. What is not disputed is that Pompey is Naval in origin - but about the origins of that nickname are numerous theories. Some claim it lies in an 80-gun French warship Le Pompee captured in 1793, which later fought with distinction in the battle of Algeciras in 1801 and then became guardship of Portsmouth Harbour. Others maintain it was the product of a far from sober sailor's interruption of a talk by Agnes Weston, the naval temperance worker. He surfaced from a beery slumber during her lecture on the Roman Empire to hear that the general Pompey had been killed. 'Poor old Pompey' he is said to have shouted . . . . such are the roots of legend. But there is another more authenticated potential root in Naval folklore. In 1781 some Portsmouth-based English sailors scaled Pompey's Pillar near Alexandria and 98 feet up above Egypt, toasted their ascent in punch. Their feat earned them the Fleet's tribute as 'The Pompey Boys'.

Taken from the book 'POMPEY - The History of Portsmouth Football Club' by Mike Neasom, Mick Cooper & Doug Robinson.

Origins of the 'Pompey Chimes'

Surprisingly enough, 'The Chimes' origin lies not with the Navy but with the Army - the Royal Artillery to be precise. The RA were the forerunners of PFC and played many of their home games at the United Services ground in Burnaby Road; well within earshot of the town hall clock. The clock would strike the quarter hours and in those days the referee would rely on the clock to let them know when the match should finish (4 o'clock). At two or three minutes to four the crowd would lilt in unison the chimes of the hour to remind the referee to blow his whistle. The original words to The Chimes, as printed in the 1900/01 official handbook of Portsmouth FC, were: 'play up Pompey. Just one more goal! Make tracks! What ho! Hallo! Hallo!' The tune of The Chimes then was slightly different to what it is now. If you ever listen to the hour being struck in Guildhall Square you will notice the difference between the tune we sing now and what was probably sung then.


  • Biggest League Victory : 9-1 v Notts. County, Division 2, 9th April 1927
  • Biggest League Defeat : 0-10 v Leicester City, First Division, 20th October 1928
  • Biggest Attendance : 51,385 v Derby County. FA Cup 6th rd. 26th Feb 1949
  • Longest Cup Retention : Despite having won the FA Cup only once, Pompey held the trophy for seven years. They won it in 1939, beating the favourites Wolves 4-1. They finally gave up the trophy in 1946
  • First Floodlit League Game : February 1956, held at Fratton Park against Newcastle, who won 2-0
  • Pompey is the only team to have been knocked out of an F.A. Cup semi-final in a penalty shoot-out. It happened at Villa Park against Liverpool in 1992
  • Bob Lyth was a Player, Manager, Director and Chairman of Pompey
  • One of Pompey's earliest incarnations was as the 'Portsmouth Football Association Club' one of whose members was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of 'Sherlock Holmes' fame
  • Jimmy Dickinson made 764 League appearances for Pompey and 48 appearances for England. He was never booked or sent off in over 800 Pompey and England matches
  • Pompey got rid of their supporters club during the 1936/1937 season, membership had dropped from 1,700 to 143

A huge thanks to Colin Farmery at Pompey Fans and Steve Peace at Pompey Chimes for taking the time out to answer some questions. Cheers guys, much appreciated.

1. It’s the business end of the season - was staying up ever in doubt?

CF: You bet staying up was in doubt... People talk about West Brom's Great Escape last season, but ours has been something else. With ten games to go we were eight points adrift and Birmingham had a game in hand. We're safe with a game to go. Incredible...

SP: Even before the Wigan game I was confident we could stay up, but if you had asked in March after the Aston Villa game I couldn't see a way out. 8 points behind two teams with an appalling goal difference, what a difference taking 20 points from 9 games can make!
2. You have had a bit of a rollercoaster ride this season - what with Alain Perrin going and Harry Redknapp coming back etc. What were your expectations/hopes at the beginning of the season?

CF: I genuinely thought Perrin could take us into the top ten, but, to be fair to him, he wasn't really backed financially in the summer. We sold Yakubu and didn't replace him properly and as a result we struggled for goals.

SP: I was hopeful this season could be spent making us an established mid table Premiership team, but no-one ever said it would be easy. Still with another chance and the new money next year is most definitely another year. 
3. And now Harry has been back a few months. So then, how has he done... saint or sinner (excuse the pun)?

CF: To say Harry's return split the fans is an under-statement, but his legendary status is now assured. Take Pompey up. Keep them there. Relegate Saints. Perform a miracle. Not a bad four seasons' work....

SP: There are a lot of Pompey fans who will never forgive Harry for going to Southampton but I'm not amongst them. I support the club not the manager and at the end of the day Harry took us into the Premiership and has now kept us there through two relegation battles so I hope he signs a new contract and stays.
4. Who do you think has been your most important player(s) this season? 

CF: Gary O'Neil, reportedly coveted by Liverpool, has really emerged as a genuine potential England player after the World Cup. Pedro Mendes has been excellent in midfield in the past two months, while keeper Dean Kiely bought some stability.

SP: Probably Lomana Lua Lua, his consistent work rate and belief epitomise what the team is all about and he genuinely seems to love the club - eleven players like that and anything’s possible. I don't think anyone can discount Linvoy Primus contributions either, another constant battler and has saved the day on many an occasion. Matt Taylor and Gary O'Neil have both continued to grow as players and show a real belief in the club as well. 
5. And your worst player(s)?

CF: Laurent Robert flattered to deceive and when the going got tough he preferred to ship out...

SP: I don't think Dario Silva was a good buy and I was hoping for a lot more from Aliou Cisse and Gregory Vignal.
6. Any particular player(s) come in and done a good job from your January signings? D'Allesandro is one that has particularly looked good to me.

CF: I've mentioned Mendes and Kiely already, but D'Alessandro was a luxury item, sides scrapping against relegation don't usually go for. His talent is extraordinary and even when he's not on song his ability to ensure two players mark him is a bonus.

SP: Where to start, without D'Allesandro, Kiely and Davis I think we would be saying "Hello Championship" and Pedro Mendes certainly started something with that late winner against Man City.
7. Do you have any fond memories of games between our respective sides?

CF: Considering we haven't played much in the past 40 years, I think we've struck up a bit of a rapport with you. Memories of our trip to Anfield as a third division club in 1980 when we took 12,000 fans will never leave me...

SP: The classic FA Cup semi-final in 1992 would have to be the game that stands out (though I'm not sure fond is the right description). As a Pompey fan winning 1-0 back in 2003 in our first season back in top flight football against a team as great as Liverpool was a happy day. 
8. What are your thoughts on the new 'Spanish flavour' Liverpool squad that Rafa Benitez has created?

CF: I think that on their day Liverpool are one of the most attractive sides to watch in the Premiership.

SP: I think it's starting to look better and better. While I wholeheartedly approve of using English talent were possible, who can afford not to sign good foreign players when given the opportunity? When Morientes and Garcia are on form they are hard for anyone to play against.
9. And your feelings on Liverpool's season thus far? How well do you think Rafa has done?

CF: To be challenging for second place at the sharp end of the season shows that Liverpool are getting close to what their support expects them to be.

SP: From an uncertain start the season has gone well, it would be hard to imagine a top four without Liverpool in and Rafa hasn't disappointed this year
10. Any particular Liverpool players you'll fear come Sunday?

CF: I'm hoping Steve Gerrard will be rested for this one..

SP: Unless Rafa is going to rest the first team for the FA Cup, most of them. Seriously though you'd be stupid not to fear Stevie Gerrard, Harry Kewell seems to have found a new lease of life and much as I hate his former club Peter Crouch can be very dangerous.
11. What sort of line-up do you expect Harry will put out against us?

CF: He will stick with his 'First XI’, which has pulled us out of the mire.

SP: The best available, still no sign of Lua Lua being fit but now that Benjani has started scoring that could be interesting. I can't see any reason that we'll stop the attacking style of football that has helped over the last 9 games just because we're now safe.
12. What do you expect in the way of singing/banter etc from our away support? Do we compare well and how do you rate the atmosphere at your ground?

CF: Liverpool fans are always welcome at Fratton Park. I expect the atmosphere to be rather party-like. We might even give up singing about nicked stereos for the afternoon... Liverpool's support at Fratton is second-to-none. The fact you sold out the whole away end for a Cup-tie on a Sunday night is first-rate.

SP: Like ourselves, Liverpool are renown for their supporters and I think from previous encounters you are one of the few teams who still have a go at out singing the Fratton faithful. Although I'm obviously biased I really do believe the Pompey fans are the best anywhere and Fratton Park being an old style smaller ground really brings out the atmosphere. I have a personal hatred for teams that boo their players when they are not doing well, fortunately for both of us that doesn't apply to Pompey or Liverpool.  
13. Do you have any favourite chants and perhaps any that require an explanation?

CF: Look out for a variation the 'By far the greatest team, the world has ever seen' . At Pompey we sing 'by far the greatest CITY' reflecting a broader identity than with just the club itself.

SP: The recent "Benji, Benji, he comes from Zimbabwe and he'll score one day" will have to be modified now. But I guess the Pompey Chimes will always be music to my ears. If you want a boring little history lesson, The Royal Artillery were the forerunners of PFC and played many of their home games at the United Services ground in Burnaby Road; well within earshot of the town hall clock. The clock would strike the quarter hours and in those days the referees would rely on the clock to let them know when the match should finish (4 o'clock). At two or three minutes to four the crowd would lilt in unison the chimes of the hour to remind the referee to blow his whistle.
14. Where do you expect yourselves and Liverpool to finish come 4.45pm next Sunday?

CF: We might finish fifth from bottom if we win! If we do, you'll be third. In fact you'll be third anyway and we'll end up fourth from bottom.

SP: I'd like to see Liverpool finish second, but not at our expense, so I'll say Liverpool 3rd, Pompey 17th.
15. Care to have a go and predict the score? Go on... you know you want to!

CF: With your FA Cup final coming up and us safe it might be less competitive than it might have been. 2-2?

SP: A tough fought 1-1

Once more, a huge thanks to Colin and Steve for their time.

© gramck24 2006

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