Portsmouth – Champions of England 1948-49

With D Day (or ‘Dr Al Fahim Day’) looming this week (or maybe next week), I can’t help day-dreaming about what Portsmouth Football Club might look like in five years’ time.

If I allow this dreaming to take the form of hope rather than expectation, then I can see a long term project allowing the club to be run in the right way for the first time in over half a century, the team gradually climbing the league and challenging for major honours, and continuously improving attendances and facilities. In reality, the future may lie somewhere between this and the current state of affairs, but it is dreams that make football what it is, even in the modern world.

How lucky we would be to witness a team rivalling the double Championship winning side of 1948-50. It seems appropriate to look back at this era and try and get a flavour of what it was like, starting with the 1948/49 campaign. Most of this information is taken from Colin Farmery’s excellent book, ‘Champions of England’.

Portsmouth’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Derby County at Fratton Park in February 1949 saw the club’s record attendance of 51,385. During this post war period, attendances at football matches had rocketed, and this was illustrated in January 1948 when 81,962 turned up at Maine Road to watch Manchester United v Arsenal, Old Tafford being closed for renovation after war time bomb damage. But attendances did also fluctuate, Pompey’s home league gates generally covering the 20, 30, and 40 thousand brackets in a single season. It was necessary at the time to arrive at Fratton Park by 1pm if you wanted to get a good vantage point for the game, but people were queueing soon after breakfast on this particular day, and at 2pm the gates were shut.

Cyril Lucas from Gosport was working as a builder at the time and went to the match, which Pompey won 2-1, Ike Clarke scoring the winner. ‘Afterwards it was pandemonium.’, he recalls. ‘All the crowd wanted to see Ike and I remember he couldn’t come out to see anyone because he was eating a sandwich! Eventually, because there were so many people milling around outside he had to leave the ground by a back entrance. When Pompey won you were elated and we would walk back to the ferry replaying the game in our minds. However, if Pompey lost I was depressed until Wednesday.’

Doesn’t sound much different to today, apart from the 50,000 plus-crowd and the league title at the end of the season! But in those days, it was the FA Cup that really fired up the fans. Pompey reached the semi finals, and were drawn against second division Leicester City, avoiding the ‘big boys’ of Wolves and Manchester United, who contested the other semi final. It was going to be a formality. Pompey were surely on the way to the double. They lost 3-1 at Highbury however, proving that cup upsets are nothing new. The defeat meant that supporterPeter Downton had to eat a bit of humble pie. ‘A friend of mine in London was an Arsenal supporter and he came down for the Jubilee match (the year before). To our delight he was devastated by the result: he spent most of the match with his mouth wide open. Unfortunately he managed get a ticket to the semi final and so had his revenge. My friend’s smile returned and I was forced to drown my sorrows at Yates’ Winebar in the Strand’, he recalled.

One of the best wins of the season was a sun-baked Easter Saturday mauling of Wolves at Fratton Park. Pompey won 5-0 and, coming so soon after their 5-0 win at Newcastle (five headed goals!) ten days earlier, were now Champions-elect. The title was sealed a week later at Bolton, and the promotion party at Fratton Park was against Huddersfield the following week. Apart from this, the game was notable for the fact that due to a head injury, Jimmy Dickinson missed his first ever match. It may seem strange that the attendance was only 37,042 after the record figure against Derby in the cup, accompanied by other Cup attendances in the high 40 thousands, but the average Fratton Park attendance that season was 37,058. Perhaps it is not so unrealistic to suggest that the imminent new regime could restore the club to its former glories?

The players that claimed Championship medals that season was Ernie Butler, Phil Rookes, Albert Ferrier, Jimmy Dickinson, Reg Flewin, Jimmy Scoular, Peter Harris, Bert Barlow, Duggie Reid, Len Phillips, and Jack Froggatt. Ike Clarke also received special dispensation from the Football League to receive a medal, despite missing the qualifying mark of 25 games, by one match. Despite the differences between then and now (the global nature of the game, players’ wages, tactics and equipment), we are still playing the same game after all. It would be nice to think that Portsmouth could again build a Championship winning side, but I would settle for the club being set on solid foundations for now. If a rich foreign owner is currently the only way to achieve this, I am all for it.

Camisetas Bundesliga Maillot de foot pas cher 2020 2021, Y compris Enfant, Femme, Paris Saint Germain, France, Real Madrid, Monaco et ainsi de suite, survetement de foot.