Everyone hopes our new manager will be in place before next Saturday. So if you haven’t got a ticket for the game yet now is the time to get one. It should make for a cracking atmosphere next week if the new fella is appointed. Not only that but if the unthinkable was to happen you’ll be a part of football history as the first assassination at a football match in England takes place when I shoot Glenn Hoddle. In the meantime I suggest you sit back, get a drink (or two) and read this…
When the fixtures are first announced one of the first games I look for is Portsmouth at home.
What a load of old rubbish, of course it isn't, this does little to fire the imagination but at the end of the day it should represent one of our best chances of picking up three points at home and we could do with them at the moment.
Home form invariably decides how well we'll do overall, (even last season, if our home form had been only average we would have finished a lot higher up the table, earnt more money and gone on to world domination) hopefully we'll do the business on Saturday.
Already in the season this game is taking on massive importance. It's not the start we wanted and even though we've had to face the likes of Arsenal, Man Utd and Newcastle the pressure is well and truly on for us to get our first win. I don’t want to dwell on it as this is a preview but is anyone really surprised with the results we got against those three?
Anyway before we go any further, let's take a couple of minutes out and forget about what’s happening this season and guessing who our next manager is going to be, let’s get away from all that, let's go back in time.......
*if you have some play some cheesy “going back in time” music at this point*
Who can forget the classic Match of The Day in 1985 when Rovers vs Pompey was one of the featured games / fights? Well I can't anyway as I still have it on video. It never fails to get a laugh. This is despite the fact that we lost that day 1-0 which more or less ended any chances we had for promotion that season. We dropped to 5th on 67 points, PFC jumped above us to 4th on 68. Both teams having played 40 games. Obviously at the time there was nothing funny about the result whatsoever but nigh on 20 years later I think it's worth recalling what happened that day.
We lined up: Terry Gennoe, Jim Branagan, Derek Fazackerley, Glenn Keeley, Mick Rathbone, Ian Miller, Colin Randall, Simon Barker, Noel Brotherston, Jimmy Quinn and Simon Garner. So nothing much unusual about that team then. Pompey had a line up of assorted thugs (such as Tait, Dillon, Kennedy, O'Callaghan plus a certain Paul Wood) and Neil Webb. Older viewers will recall that many of the games between the two back then were always a bit "fiery" and full of needle to say the least - well what do you expect when "little" Alan Ball was their manager?
The first half went by without incident except for a couple of easy chances wasted at either end. The first incident of note involved Jim Branagan when he committed a ridiculous challenge on Pompey's Mick Kennedy, it was more like an assault rather than a challenge. Branagan gets up, hold's his arms out and does a fantastic impression of Mr McKay from Porridge whilst proclaiming his innocence. He is booked. Shortly afterwards Pompey take the lead through chief wind up merchant Tait from a corner.
Soon enough there's another scuffle involving Branagan and O'Callaghan at which point John Motson proclaims excitedly "It's all getting rather nasteeeeee!" Jim emerges from the scuffle with his shorts now resembling a skirt. O'Callaghan blasts another chance for Portsmouth over the bar and "Beamo! Beamo! Beamo!" can clearly be heard from the BBE.
Then the real fun and games begin. "Killer" Keeley and Paul Wood have a scuffle in front of the home dug out. Both dug outs empty and everyone runs on the pitch to stop the fight. If this happened now the FA would probably spontaneously combust and shut down. The referee had no hesitation or option and promptly booked them both. Yep - only a booking in those days for fighting.
A few minutes more pass and Keeley has picked his moment for revenge, he goes straight over the top of the ball and kicks / stamps Paul Wood in the testicular nether region. Wood goes down in a crumpled mess (well you would wouldn't you?) - Keeley is sent off. Wood eventually gets up and is also sent off, presumably for attacking Keeley's studs with his old man (no, not his Dad). Wood walks off down the tunnel (Motson is now hysterical, "Wood is in tears!") and he is baited by the screaming hoardes gathered in the Nuttall Street Enclosure (well, it looked more like a couple of blokes having a bit of a grumble to be honest).
Faz has developed a cut under his eye by this stage of the game - but strangely this isn't commented on by the BBC. Anyway, we lose 1-0 and some of the players sprint down the tunnel at the end for a "quick chat".
Back to the studio and Jimmy Hill is off in a world of his own.... "Portsmouth were the better side and deserved their win, but sadly nearing the end of a season for better entertainment and civilised conduct on the field the copy book was well and truly blotted in a match that Solomon would have had difficulty adjudicating." Aye, alright Jimmy. The BBC then show "Randall's cynical rabbit punch that deserved a sending off rather than a booking" He didn't even hit him hard.
And then the best bit...word for word from Jimmy Hill: "Finally in a week when we're celebrating 40 years of peace in Europe, Glenn Keeley risked starting another War with his calculated and unforgivable assault on Wood" Ha Ha Ha!!!! Classic. He had it coming!! As I said Portsmouth could give it out big style back then - Hill just decided it was all our fault.
Great entertainment and nice to look back on that to see the "old" Ewood every now and again.
Now then, back to the future and we must now turn to more pressing matters.....I've done a bit of a Q&A with a Portsmouth fan I know, being the top bloke that he is he’s entered into the spirit of things…
Kevin - do you remember the Portsmouth team of the mid to late 80's? Bunch of thugs weren't they? I mean Mickey Tait should have been locked up....
A good team, full of players who would tackle and kick first, then ask questions later.
You're not wrong there. It's the best away trip in the Country up here at Ewood, as you know. Two minutes off the motorway, you get your own pub, (The Fernhurst is the biggest in Ewood) and you get as many tickets as you want. We even gave a lot of clubs three points as well last season, including yourselves. What else can we possibly do to encourage away fans to visit our club?
It’s unusual but nice that when you visit the "library atmosphere" of Ewood Park that your teams chants are the only ones heard.
Yeah, er, thanks Kev. So how long have you been a Portsmouth and Manchester United fan? And perhaps more importantly, how does that work?
I have supported both teams ever since I can remember, since about age 5. It has never been a problem until now that Portsmouth are a major force in the Premier.
How strange. In a game between say Portsmouth and Manchester United, who would you want to win?
Although I would not like to see either team lose, I would go with my heart and cheer on Portsmouth.
What about in a fight between a Swan and a Goose?
A swan as they are the nice looking bird, and don't follow you around.
I can't argue with that. Who are your danger men? Obviously there's the "Yak", Patrik Berger is capable of miss-hitting volleys from anywhere on the pitch, there's Fuller as well with his pace and trickery, Berkovic is a player that we're all too familiar with, then there's Steve Stone who can crop up with the odd goal now and again and of course there's also Matthew Taylor down the left who looks a good prospect. Other than those six players who should we really look out for?
The pace of Lua Lua that terrorised your defence when he came on as a 2nd half sub last season. There is also our new striker Kamamra who also has electrifying pace. You must also be aware of the Scottish International Nigel Quashie and his midfield dominance.
And what about Rovers, apart from Craig Short, who do you fear most in our team?
Since the departure of Andy Cole and his very high percentage of goals per chances and Dwight Yorke with very high work rate, I don't fear anyone.
Biting sarcasm there Kev, I like it. Last season Portsmouth had a large following at Ewood, do you think your away support will be as large this season or do you think it was more a case of just getting a little bit excited about playing in the Premier League for the first time?
I must admit, although the season is only a few games old, the travelling hordes of Portsmouth fans doesn't appear to be as many as last season, although they are still as vocal. I hoping that this is down to summer holiday commitments.
Harry is undoubtedly one of the most popular and respected managers in the Premier League, many tip him as a future England Manager. What do you reckon of that Louise who his son married?
Louise is a very nice and rich girl. Jamie although a bit unlucky with injuries, always conducts himself in the right manner. He also comes on as an expert on BBC football programmes as very knowledgeable and natural.
I was hoping you could tell us more about Louise to be honest, never mind. What's that song you have for Paul Dickov? Can you tell our viewers what it is without swearing?
Sung to the tune of the famous Pompey chimes, Dickov (Please don't use that word again) Off, (Please don't use that word again) Off Dickov.
Catchy and yet offensive at the same time, nice touch. That fella John "Portsmouth Football Club" Westwood - seems a decent sort of a lunatic, but is it really necessary for him to ring that bell all the time?
He is a legend, and a very friendly bloke as well. You will always find him chatting to home & away fans and also the police. Surely he is the most well known fan in the country.
With certain clubs in the Premier League having a seemingly endless supply of cash (I mean Phil Neville's on £50,000 a week for Heavens sake) what would you do to address the balance between the likes of say Chelsea and Portsmouth? Or is there nothing you can do / you can't be bothered?
There is currently nothing we can do. Where the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea, winning is all that matters, with teams as ours survival is firstly the most important thing, then just finish in the highest position possible, as Pompey did last season in 13th position.
Where do you think you'll finish this season?
Above Blackburn Rovers and Scumhampton. Probably finish in about 14 position.
And Rovers? How do you think we'll do?
15th or 16th
Finally Kev - can you give us a prediction as to how many we're going to beat you by?
Blackburn Rovers 1 Portsmouth 2 (same as last season)
Thanks for your time Kev - and good luck for the rest of the season - apart from when we beat you again in January (and as long as we finish above you).
That’s it, sorry it went on a bit.
Let’s beat this lot and get our season well and truly up and running. 3-0 to Rovers.
Come On You Blues!!