Born – St Albans Rd, Leigh Park and just a month after Kylie Minogue*. Sadly, the years have not treated one of us as well. But we love Kylie anyway!
Moved into Portsmouth at the Age of 4, Mum and Dad ran the sweet shop on the Corner of Percival Rd / New Road East although long gone now.
In 1982, a few months before my 14th Birthday, I got a weekend and Holiday job on the “blue boats” doing harbour trips this of course was the year of the Falklands Conflict and I got to see for myself what Portsmouth was really about and when I see Alan Ball’s “they send people to war from here” every home game I feel very proud of the City I grew up in and it’s long history of service to this country. I got to see virtually all the ships returning; for some of the RAF’s we were the only ones to welcome them back, others like the Invincible saw so many tiny craft with flags waving that to this day I can’t believe none were sank! Of course this was also the Year the Mary Rose was raised, I missed the main event but was down after school for a couple of trips. I joined the “Blue Boats” full time after flunking my A levels and had a few good experiences, I helped bring in HMS Warrior, did the Commentary for “Blind Date”, survived the Storm of ’87 and, was almost rammed by, of all ships, HMS Southampton after a steering failure. Good times, I ended up a Boatman and one of the last Portsmouth Waterman.
I somehow ended up in “I.T” and have struggled to escape ever since!
In terms of Pompey, well my first game was V Bradford, div 4; I was the ripe old age of 10 and crowd of 24,000. Can’t remember the score but can still remember walking up the steps where the press box is now, between the North Stand and Milton End and seeing the greenest grass I’d ever seen, Wow!
My mate and I got in for 90p by squeezing in the turn-style together; those were the days as I now struggle to even get through on my own!
I have to admit, I was never became a regular to Fratton Park, more of a plastic fan just listening to games on the Radio; I’d, no money and my dad always worked Saturdays so he never managed to take me to any Pompey games fortunately, I did manage to get him to a few away games including Wigan, Carlisle and the cup at Stoke a couple of seasons ago. I only really got into Pompey when my son gave up Thomas The Tank Engine and started kicking a ball around. We’d go along to West Leigh Park to watch the reserves and ended up touring with the Hawks to grounds like Maidenhead, Sutton and Western-Super-Mare great little clubs. When Pompey got to the Premier League, it was great as we’d watch the Hawks at 3pm then, into the Club House for Pompey (and a few pints of Mild!).
I moved up North for work in 2005 only to find that actually, Staffordshire isn’t in the North but some grey area called the Midlands – I still argue that it’s over Portsdown Hill and so, that makes it North!
It was here that I really started getting back into Pompey, mainly away games as almost all were closer than Fratton Park and they were a great release from the day to day problems of I.T, with my Son in tow we loved every game, win, lose or draw and couldn’t wait for the next “trip”.
I never got to the 2008 Cup Final, couldn’t get a ticket! It was Ironically, the year the Hawks also had a good cup run and we’d followed them to Notts County, Swansea and Liverpool missing the crucial Preston game that gave non-season ticket holders a priority option for Semi Final tickets.
I also never got to any of the away European Games – vowed never to let either happen again!
Favourite Games – despite a failing memory still have a few that stand out; Grimsby 3-0 with the Yak scoring in his first appearance at Fratton; this my first game with all the family! And of course Tottenham at Wembley, win over Harry and a stadium where one end was completely empty before the final whistle went, Magic!
I’m now a very proud shareholder, Season Ticket Holder, Member of The Northern Blues and, enjoying my football more than ever before.