Well wasn’t that an ironic set of fortunes on the pitch over the last two games? Three points from a game that Pompey deserved nothing from and no points from a game where Steve Cotterill could realistically for once have laid claim after the match to have warranted coming away with all three. The last minute winner on the right side of the coin by Eric Huseklepp only to then stick away the winner for Peterborough. Someone famously said ‘Football it’s a funny old game.’ They weren’t wrong there.
The last spirited performance prior to the loss against Posh came away to West Ham United and was immediately followed by one we don’t really want to mention away to Hull City. Let’s hope a pattern doesn’t begin immerging between games anytime soon unless it’s a winning pattern. Tomorrow’s game see’s Pompey visit Elland Road home of Leeds United who are the only side showing capable signs of stopping Pompey’s dominance in matters of on field disciplinary problems. Pompey have now gone 21 consecutive games where they’ve had at least one player booked and Leeds aren’t labelled a dirty side without just cause so expect to see a lot of fireworks on the pitch.
I have some fun memories of Pompey –Leeds games down the years and of watching Leeds play in general. A good friend of mine runs the local Leeds United supporters club and the boys have always welcomed me on board their coach come match day with plenty of good humour and banter on the way. I will never forget the three hour journey home being the only Pompey fan on board a coach with 51 Leeds fans having knocked them out of the FA Cup in the days of Terry Venables. I don’t think I stopped grinning from ear to ear even when a coat was placed upon my head and the punches reigned down. I hasten to add that they weren’t to my head luckily, more a case of good humoured banter after my request to stop smiling and stop looking so smug was turned down.
Fratton Park and the FA Cup again. Luke Nightingale had put Pompey into an early 1-0 lead and I thought I was set up for a cracking return journey home. The final 5-1 score line to Leeds told a different story this time however. As I trudged back to the minibus trying to prepare myself for the long journey home I wasn’t in the best of moods. Upon arrival I found the branch organiser stood at the front of the minibus talking to an old guy who was sat in my seat. The more time passed the more my mood worsened until I eventually snapped – I had waited patiently for my seat for at least five minutes. So I told the old guy in question to hurry up and get the fuck out of my seat. Can I just hasten to add that I’m not normally so disrespectful but it’s not every day you see your side lose so badly and have to travel back with the opposition fans? There was a stunned look from the Leeds fans on the minibus. What’s there problem I wondered? They’re a game bunch of lads. A short exchange of words started which ended in me telling the guy to go fuck himself. Finally he got off my seat and left and I sat down in even more of a huff. The guy opposite me asked me if I knew who that was, a question I found as stupid as an American on vacation asking me if I know the Queen – Why of course I’m having cucumber sandwiches with her this Tuesday. Long story short – Apparently you need a big set of balls to tell Leeds legend Norman ‘Bite Your Legs’ Hunter to go fuck himself. Well how was I supposed to know? I’m still here to tell the tale so he must have mellowed.
Over the years I’ve made various trips with the Leeds lads in an attempt to go to every ground in the country. Last count I’d made it up to 52 before the children came along and placed a temporary halt on the charge to reach the hallowed mark of 92. One bright spark decided it would be a good idea that I went with the Leeds lads to The Skip old home of our dear south coast rivals. The words it will be a laugh, we’ll all piss up the side of the stadium on behalf of Pompey and sing Pompey songs throughout and wind them up was all I needed to hear in the days before children mellowed me. So off we trekked down to The Skip midweek and indeed we did enter our bladders against the wall – I know it’s not big and it’s not clever but a dog marks its territory. Inside the ground we weren’t much better and true to their word the Leeds boys did indeed sing Play Up Pompey to the derision of the home fans in attendance that day. But it wasn’t just our numbers totalling about 50 in total that piped up. Two rows behind were the Pompey branch of the Leeds Crew who soon pitched in and they had a fair few numbers and before you knew it pretty much every Leeds fan away that day had joined in. This for some reason had upset the home fans – Can’t think why and soon the stewards were wading down trying to pick out the idiot that had started the chant. I found myself being given one of the lad’s coats and my head was pushed down as I made a sharp exit left. When I came back the lads had all shuffled up so I had a new less obvious place to sit. So as I say I’ve got a lot of time for the fans of Leeds United.
Sorry Mr Hunter by the way.
Leeds are somewhat of an enigma like the current Pompey side and both sides certainly have the ability to self destruct at the worst of moments and then pick themselves up again when all had seemed lost. Away to Brighton they looked like they were coasting to a win at half time when they lead 2-0. Now this was one of two times this season I’ve looked at games and placed bets akin to the madness of a 4-4 draw between Arsenal and Newcastle – sadly I didn’t have that one at half time. For some reason I took Brighton at half time to win the game 3-2. I’ve never looked so smug until Leeds decided to pop up late on and make the score 3-2. Midweek I predicted the Posh result would be 2-2 which I took at 12-1. If you’ve read the letter to Eric Huseklepp from the guy who lost his bet when he scored in the last minute against Blackpool you’ll know why I’m tempted to write to him and ask for my money back as well. Never been so close to winning two utterly random bets only to be left somewhat broken hearted and out of pocket both times. Betting is certainly a mugs game but how many fellow punters can lay claim to telling Norman Hunter to go fuck himself and lived to survive the tale? I think I should write it into my will the part I played in football history and have it inscribed upon my tomb stone. Here lies the man who told Norman Hunter to go fuck himself and survived the tale but death becomes us all. Can you tell I’m an atheist by the way?
So with these odd tingles that enter my brain and start to predict score lines that are getting ever closer I have one in my head that says 5-1. Sadly that score line is for the hosts and not for Pompey. But if fate does deliver the battering and delivers a score line that is close to my current prediction and you put your money on 5-2 or 6-1 and it comes in on some idiots whim behind a keyboard, do let me know – all donations to the retirement fund will greatly be accepted.
I could also be using reverse psychology in an attempt to see Pompey win 1-0. Whichever way please don’t ever punt any money on the predictions that I make. That would just be plain silly.
Whatever the result thank you for reading the rambled words of a mad man and please let me be so far wrong with my current prediction I haven’t stopped sulking about the mid week loss yet.
Play Up Pompey