Newsletter #982

We’re still going round that corner, as despite an excellent first half we managed to lose 4-2 at Portsmouth. Match report tonight thanks to Derek, and plenty of opinion on the players, the management and coaching.

We’ve also some interesting stats and the usual requests.

The youth side are in action tomorrow night against the Rags at OT in the FA Youth Cup, 7.30pm start and £5 for adults. Whilst the senior team travel down to Leicester for the replay.

Next game: Leicester City, away, 7.45pm Tuesday 14 January 2004 (FA Cup)


For me this was old style Keegan, we don’t mind letting the other team score as long as we score more than they do. The problem is this approach is never going to work in the Premier League.

In many areas this was a great performance. The attacking play was wonderful, particularly in the first half. There was a real fluidity about the movement and both strikers looked like they were bound to score. We hit the bar 3 times in the first half (twice from the unlucky Fowler). Both goals were beautifully made and executed and so after conceding first, in we went at half time 2-1 up and nicely setup for an end to the no-win sequence.

I guess the all-too-easy cross and header for the first Pompey goal was a sign of things to come.

The second half should have seen us controlling the game. Keep possession, make them take the risks and keep threatening them on the break. Instead what we saw was a combination of bad luck and woeful defending. Pompey scored fairly quickly (sorry – can’t remember the details) then we go straight back up their end and Joey curls a beauty into the bottom corner. No appeal from Pompey, lino sticks his flag up, ref goes over and disallows it. I haven’t seen it on the telly but some Pompey fans I spoke to afterwards who were up that end said they had no idea why it was disallowed. Pompey go straight up the other end, Yakuba leans on Dunney who – not unsurprisingly – wins the tussle – ref blows for a foul. Again – Pompey fans I spoke to adamant it wasn’t a foul. Simple ball into the box, 3 Pompey forwards fight amongst themselves to nod it in from 1 yard out with the City backline completely AWOL. In short we went from 3-2 up to 3-2 down in 30 seconds.

From then on the momentum was lost, we lost another, breakaway goal and despite exerting some pressure towards the end it was not to be.

Coming out I was cursing our luck (hit the bar 3 times plus those 2 decisions) but I am worried. How good do we have to play before we win? Surely we should work on a system that gives us results even when we are mediocre. The first Pompey goal was far too easy but I can’t believe the 3rd – it was a joke. The frustrating thing is, on this showing, we have three quarters of a good side. What we need is someone with a big mouth to marshall the troops at the back. Without that we’re stuffed. The problem is this has been Keegan’s achilles heel since he had a curly perm. Can he fix it (I’ll leave that to others to debate)?

Ellegard (came on for the injured Seamen near the beginning) – 5 – looked OK but maybe the key 3rd goal was his shout?
Sommeil – 5 – got forward a lot towards the end but he and Sinclair did not really open Pompey up.
Dunne – 5 – lots of great tackles, good pace (!) but has to share responsibility for goals 1 and 3 at least.
Distin – 4 – same as Dunney but fewer tackles.
Tarnat – 5 – can’t remember him much.
Barton – 6 – industrious and scored a great ‘goal’. Swapped sides and started playing for them for 5 minutes in the second half but then we were 4-2 down by then anyway.
Sibi – 6 – was in the game a lot and scored but I thought his touch was not quite good enough.
Sinclair – 5 – workmanlike, didn’t take any risks, some decent crosses.
Bos – 6 – solid.
Fowler – 7 – a revelation to me, he was on fire especially in the first half and deserved a goal.
Anelka – 7 – the attackers did everything asked of them, the problems lie elsewhere.
The ground – 0 – no roof, portaloos, the world’s smallest refreshment hatch, which ran out of pies 15 seconds after the half time whistle. For goodness sake – get the pies in – make some money out of us.

Derek Eccleston <dfeccleston(at)>


Oh dear, yet another lost match to add to the list! However, it did start with promise and City were by far the better team in the first half. Two goals and the crossbar rattled three times!

The goal that was scored and disallowed should have been given. Even my husband, who is a Spurs fan (can’t win ’em all!), said that it was a good goal that should have been given! After the disallowed goal, the team lost their spirit and floundered. They then played like a Sunday park team! The defence became non-existent, except for Dunny! Why oh why didn’t Keegan make a substitution or two (apart from Ellegaard for Seaman)?

Whilst Danny Tiatto was warming up, the spirits rose amongst the City fans, only for him to disappear!

A final word about the ground. When City last played at Fratton Park, which was two years ago, and we were both in the First Division, my ticket cost £15. Yesterday cost £28! Rather a price hike for what must be one of the worst grounds in the Premiership, where away fans are uncovered and the only toilets that we could see were two portaloos!

Sue Revell <sue(at)>


If we have one more game in which we have the most shots, more corners and lose because we make silly mistakes at the back and can’t defend crosses from the right, I think I’ll go mad! Given that most of my friends locally either hold ManUre season tickets (I live on the south coast in Chichester) or Pompey “fans” (never been to a game, can’t name any players), I’m left trying to keep my head down at the mo… After Saturday’s game (great entertainment, wrong result) what worried me most was hearing City fans on the national phone-ins calling for KK to go. To be fair the presenters of both programmes (Talksport and Radio 5) were not having any of the KK must go stuff but if we as fans turn on the biggest name manager we’ve had in my time then we are unbelievably stupid. The Nationwide League is littered with teams who got rid of decent managers as soon as they hit a bad spell and surely with our history we should know better. The fact is that we are playing well (going forward!) but must sort it out at the back. For me the issue seems to be 3 things as far as defence is concerned:

  1. When Ellegaard plays he lacks the experience to command the area andthis makes the back four edgy, which seems to induce crazy errors. I think thesame applies with Seaman as he has made errors this season and is not ascommanding as he once was. The bad run has coincided with inconsistencybetween the posts due to various Seaman injuries. Surely this is the problem?
  2. We are appalling at defending crosses from our left (2 more conceded onSaturday).
  3. Having had some crazy goals against us (e.g. Birmingham, Leeds etc.) theback four are naturally nervous.

I have read a lot about KK chasing Robinson. For me this would be the perfect choice and we should be moving heaven and earth to get him. Despite Leeds’ plight he has been very good this year – without him I think they’d be doomed by now. Let’s hope KK can sweet talk the deal. If he goes to Chelski he won’t play so I reckon we must have a good chance – as long as Leeds will sell. A commanding centre back wouldn’t go amiss as well, particularly if he can defend crosses from our left. No clue who though!

I was also pleased to see that Anelka has come out in support of the boss following Eyal’s outburst. Above all others, he was the one we needed to hear from. Well done Nic. Maybe I am na