Rarely have I felt such mixed feelings about the fate of two clubs whose relegations have been confirmed on the same day. Sad for Pompey, elated at Coventry’s descent.
Another of those retrospective looks, for the reader in a hurry, at what has been served up in recent days …
Breaks for internationals act a little like “slow down” signals for Salut! Sunderland.
Occasional contributors do not think of tossing anything our way. M Salut was away in Rome in any case, for a long weekend devoid of football unless you count a look round the Colisseum, a model – in terms of the building rather than original purpose – for the stadiums of today.
And for once, not even Pete Sixsmith could be trusted to return from some non-league backwater with flashes of entertaining prose. It remains to be seen whether he chooses to write about his own trip, a few days in Antwerp.
Both Pete Sixsmith and I have revelled in nostalgia for the Saturdays that were incomplete without a) football (honest, we saw football on Saturdays) and b) the “Pink” on the way home.
For home games, that meant getting off the train in Durham and having time before the connection to Bishop Auckland to drop down into town, have coffee and a pie and buy the football paper. We hoped the Echo would come before we had to climb back up the hill; sometimes we had to make do with the Newcastle Evening Chronicle version though on a good day we could get both.
Sorry, Lads. I really wanted to record a stunning victory, reminiscent of 1973, for the underdogs. There was, in the event, to be no FA Cup Final fairytale. Chelsea 1 (won) Portsmouth 0 (didn’t, despite having a great but squandered chance to go ahead with a first-half penalty).
So the score was the same as Sunderland v Leeds 37 years ago, but in the wrong order, Drogba’s goal winning it for Chelsea.
Salut! Sunderland had no doubt Chelsea deserved the Premier title more than Manchester United, and said so in the posting found here. For tomorrow’s FA Cup Final, poor Portsmouth get our sympathy vote, and we’d love to see them win. Having invited Peter Allen to share his Pompey dreams and nightmares yesterday, we were duty bound to hear from a Chelsea fan, too. Step forward
David Millward*, an occasional visitor to these shores, who passionately wants the richer shade of blue to prevail. But he does have kind words for Pompey and Avram Grant – and bemoans the Stamford Bridge moaners …
Once upon a time a Chelsea v Pompey clash was less to do with football than making a fashion statement.
Some time after the skinhead years, the two clubs rivalled each other in the designer wear which their crews wore. If it wasn’t Tacchini, it was Lacoste. If it wasn’t Lacoste, it was Slazenger.
READ ON: but also see our Pompey fan’s wistful thoughts on tomorrow by clicking here
Colin Randall writes: just before Sunderland went to Portsmouth for what should have been a routine romp into the FA Cup fifth round, a Paris-based, Pompey-daft friend
Peter Allen– no stranger to Salut! Sunderland – said he had a hunch it might be another Wembley year for his crisis-hit club. Of course, Pete, of course, we thought, keeping an eye open for airborne pigs. Time to eat humble pork pie, and present the first of our fan previews of the final …
Portsmouth fans have a lot in common with the fabled band of the RMS Titanic at the moment.
The icy waters of bankruptcy are lapping in, most of the lifeboats have long since disappeared, and we’re left manning the trumpets and drums for what is potentially our last hurrah.
READ On – and come back tomorrow for a Chelsea fan’s turn
Top versus bottom. The super-rich and the paupers. Worlds apart, the Two Blues of this weekend’s FA Cup Final, Chelsea and Portsmouth, will surely produce a game that remains true to form and shows that the faded old competition isn’t really a great leveller after all.
Colin Randallgets Salut! Sunderland’s Wembley build-up underway but return on Thursday and Friday for the fans’ views …
The Two Blues, if you grew up in the County Durham of which Sunderland was part, were Bishop Auckland.
They were the kings of amateur football and there was a time, when they had the ultimate showman goalkeeper in Harry Sharratt and such stalwarts as Bob Hardisty and Derek Lewin, that it seemed they were hardly ever away from Wembley.
Another game against lowly opposition, another failure to show ourselves to be in a different class. Colin Randall endures last-ditch heartbreak – and a missed golden opportunity to win for a change – at Fratton Park
Sorry Niall, sorry Steve: if only you had taken the players on a pre-match inspection of the away end at Portsmouth last night: primitive toilets and catering, narrow steps and a shockingly congested exit path at the top of the stand …
It might have stopped them putting in another ultimately inadequate performance of the kind that threatens to lead us back to the Championship – where such conditions are the norm.
An 11-hour flight from Beijing gave
Colin Randallplenty of time to ponder gloomily on Sunderland’s present predicament …
Niall Quinn has reason to remember Nov 20 1997. It was, if my memory is correct, the last time Sunderland managed to win at Portsmouth and his was the first of four goals in a superb 4-1 victory.
Thirteen years on, Niall has asked fans to show patience and support despite – or perhaps because of – the present appalling run of defeats and draws. And he cannot be faulted for doing so: booing the team as they leave the field after a rotten display is one thing, getting on players’ back from the first misplaced pass is another (especially in our case, given how many misplaced passes we have come to expect).
So. I go away for 12 days and six home points turn into two, Sunderland are back in yet another relegation scrap and we’re left wondering where the next win is coming from. Fratton Park? We’d love to think so. Dave Byne*, from the myPompey fans’ site, thinks we’ll have to settle for a draw, but fears his own club is going down …
Salut! Sunderland The cup game left Sunderland fans fuming. You must have taken heart for the rest of the Premier season – as in, there’s worse than Pompey!
Certainly on the pitch it has to be encouraging when you beat a Sunderland side that have clearly built on last season and have generally had a solid campaign so far. And yes, I believe that there are at least three worse teams than Pompey in the Premier League but we are now operating with a very threadbare squad and the chances of keeping them altogether feels doubtful. Good result for us though BUT we need to get some victories in the league.