Afternoon, all. Hope you enjoyed your football-free break. At least for you cricket fans out there(and there are many I know), the England team will return victorious from Australia shortly.
Welcome to Pompey this afternoon. Did you see that Fratton Park ranked at no 20 in FourFourTwo’s 100 Best Football stadiums in the UK survey? We’re at 81.
We’re going back to our first fixture of 1983 for our stroll back down Cut Throat Lane way today. A home game in division two against Blackburn Rovers who were sitting ninth in the table at the time whilst we were struggling in the bottom four. In truth our second division days were starting to run out. We managed miraculously to stay up that season and actually finished a very creditable 12th, one spot below the Rovers. Looking at some of the crowds in the first half of that 1982/3 season it is clear to see that the Cambridge public were becoming disenchanted with second division life too. The 1983/4 season though was a disaster from the start and we finished rock bottom, 24 points from safety.
The programme for the Blackburn game was a brief affair dictated by the time of year. Some interesting highlights though. The Goal Sponsors’ page is interesting and who could fail to notice a certain Peter Mills from Ditton Fields. He of indomitable Supporters’ Club doorman fame! Some of you older fans will recognise quite a few players in the Rovers line up. Simon “goals” Garner, Derek Fazackerley, infamously on the bench for Newcastle through various management regimes, now assistant to Karl Robinson at Oxford. And Mr Blackburn Rovers himself, Tony Parkes. Six spells as caretaker manager between 1986 and 2004 must surely be a record. When he left for Blackpool eventually he even got them promoted via the playoffs. I must also make comment about Blackburn’s shirts, surely one of the most identifiable in our game. Consistently in blue and white halves since 1878. Did you know though that the halves have been switched nearly ten times over the years? Looking at the shirts front on we have blue on the right hand side which has prevailed for three seasons following a switch from the other side in 2018-19. The halves design appeared for the first time in 1878 and then the blue(albeit navy) was on the left hand side. Clearly never set in stone.
Finally for today a chance to celebrate the birthday on this day in 1892 of one John Ronald Ruel(JRR) Tolkien. Tolkien was English but actually born in Orange Free State in S Africa. Works such as The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion propelled his status and he became the Father of High Fantasy. Tolkien died in Hampshire in 1973 having been made a CBE just the previous year. In 2002 a poll conducted by the BBC voted him the “92nd greatest Briton”. Praise indeed.
Enjoy the game.
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