The Football Neutral: Match Twenty One – Portsmouth vs Cheltenham Town

2014-03-08 15.51.07

This is now an edited version of the original blog… you can read the full one by downloading my Football Neutral 2013/14 season review on Kindle.  Well over 300 pages of daftness. Less than £2! Thanks!

…The last time I went to Fratton Park was for a 2-0 Leicester win. It was just over ten years ago, and was a Premier League encounter.  It was probably a bit of an upset us picking up the victory, as Portsmouth’s side that day featured the likes of Dejan Stefanovic, Alexei Smertin, Steve Stone, Patrik Berger, Tim Sherwood, Ayegbeni Yakubu and Teddy Sheringham.

In 2008, Pompey won the FA Cup. I remember watching their victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford in the quarter finals on a TV at the King Power Stadium, everyone cheering wildly when Sulley Muntari scored the winning goal from the penalty spot – because everybody loves an upset.  That was six years ago.

Somehow, Pompey are now mid table in League Two.  The fourth tier.  How on earth did this happen?  I know as a Leicester supporter that we’ve experienced some boom and bust times, but the fate that has befallen Portsmouth in recent seasons is as dramatic and cruel as it could possibly be.  Whilst as a Leicester supporter we have never got on with the Pompey fans (once me and my Dad got chased out of the away end, the first time I’d ever seen my old man run at the time.  I think I was 19), you can’t argue that they’re amongst the most loyal and loud in the country.  In fact, when I said that I was going to Fratton Park (a consequence of having two gigs on the Saturday evening in the area) I got a load of tweets from football fans waxing lyrical about the great atmosphere down there.

I have memories of it myself, remembering a City defeat down there in the 1990s where the roar of the Fratton End celebrating a goal was about as loud as I’ve ever heard, even in a relatively small stadium.  I really fancied going to a match that would be LOUD, and properly so, and I knew this would be the case.  Portsmouth had decided to make the game incredibly cheap (just a tenner for adults, as little as a quid for kids) and when researching stuff ahead of the game on Friday I realised that it may well be a sellout.  This was excellent news indeed…

Enjoyed reading this extract? Then please help me support my travels by downloading my ebook – detailing all my adventures during the season – for less than £2. Works on all Kindle devices and is over 300 pages of football silliness. Ta!

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