Portsmouth away 9.11..16

Or:  One of 65 and it’s all over

The Journey

I picked up the Real Lord Powell at 2.47 and the not so real Coventry Bob at 3.03. The three of us were determined to go to the game despite the carping of those who wanted us to boycott the game. I went to the game fully aware of the politics of attendance and disagreeing with the tactics of the protest. This quote from the Stoke U23 manager was ringing loud and annoyingly.

capture

Obviously the difference between attendances at academy and non-academy attendances needs to be much clearer for idiots like this to understand.

Pre match Pubs

The plan was to find some new pubs for my ticker passengers. The Florist? We drove to the pub only to see it closed and not likely to open any time soon. The next stop had to be dragged out of the Stedders instant directory of pubs.

Rose in June

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The pub was fully decked out in Poppy and remembrance regalia. In the bar the Pompey memorabilia is interesting and set the Lord on random questions, the answers to which he already knew but he asked nevertheless. The locals would not be dissuaded from the final pool game before the covers went on for the anticipated pre-match busy hour. We might have been able to get a game in as I would be surprised if the numbers arriving at the pub would be anywhere near a usual football crowd. Both Purity UBU and Gales HSB were on the five beer board. I decided in protest to refuse a slice of lemon in my coke. That will show them for tempting me to drink and drive. Like Bob’s mild beer the pub was a bit flat so I offered another alternative. In doing so the chaps could have two new pubs to record in their metaphorical little black books.

The Artillery Arms

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This is a long time back street favourite of mine. Once I had found the correct back street we could park up on the pub frontage and get to sample the range of locally sourced beers. Drinking coke here proved to be a bit controversial. It was Martin’s round. “Two beers at £3.20 plus a pint of coke without lemon please”. Eyebrows were raised at the £10.40 charge but the Lord was too polite, or perhaps too slow, to challenge this. It took him some time to take up the call to ask for an explanation. The bar person explained 2 times £3.20 is £6.40, add on £2 for a coke is £10.40. This was repeated several times before the challenge was accepted and £1.65 was proffered as adjustment to correct the difference. £1.65? Yep, I don’t get it either.

I thought it best to get a repeat round of beers for the boys and instantly suggested a ten minute window to drink up. I love doing this, it gives me so much power while I sip my fizzy American soda.

The Match

Portsmouth 1 Bristol Rovers 0 Attendance: 1200 (65 Gasheads)

We lost, the competition is over. The game was pointless and we knew from past experience that this was  likely to be the outcome. This game fell firmly in to the category of one for those who have lists to complete. There were 62 other souls with their own agendas. Most were watching because “that is what we do, watch Bristol Rovers home and away”. It is rare that, should one choose to, one could chat with every fan  do so. We had common opinions and gripes to share without the need to get involved in something so demeaning as caring if we won the game or not.

A Gripe

The ground has 20,000 plus seats. The 100 allocated to us as away fans were six rows deep, half below pitch level and a fifth with views obscured either by stand supporting pillars, linesman’s asses or fellow fans standing to relieve pain in cramped thighs and knocked knees. I understand the need to cut costs but surely a pre-requisite would be a seat with a view of the pitch that gives some perspective on more than a third of the ground.

An amusement

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 My view involved this at eye level

At how many games would this be best placed elsewhere?

David, the linesman

Is there a point barracking a linesman at a checkatrade trophy match? David Avent was given a fine time by our group of view impaired Gasheads. No use of the usual names here. Dave was our mate for the night and he had a good game. His flag waving was confident and so he had a cheer of “good wave Dave”. The most admonishment was for not flagging a foul and he deserved a stricter, more motherly “David !”

Conversation

The game was irrelevant. Yes we played well first half and not so well in the second. The chat was more concentrated on the lack of a supporter’s club coach and low crowds we have seen while watching Rovers. Apparently it is the first time since Sunderland away in the seventies there hasn’t been official supporters transport. We remembered Southend away and more recently Hartlepool. We all agreed that 1200 represented a lowest in memory for attendance at a first team game. Someone, namely the Lord, pointed out the dilemma for those who perversely attended in the hope of being a member of the lowest ever away following.

The second half drifted past and Will Puddy developed a hole in his body for the ball to pass through. I would like to have described the goal a bit more clearly bur it was 90 yards away and a mass of players were between the goal and this viewing Gashead. Poor Will cannot be said to have taken a rare opportunity to put himself in the selector’s eyes. He mis-controlled a ball at our end and gave away a penalty. We noted that Dave didn’t have the courage to signal the foul but it was a penalty that Will then saved. In the distance we all agreed that he looked like a boy plucked out of a school house match and given a proper shirt and a pair of gloves. He did however forget to bring his boots and slipped because perhaps he was wearing his second best daps.

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The best way to watch the game. Stand at the back and use a zoom lens on the camera.

Rovers Rating /10

Kelle Roos 10 Will Puddy 2), Daniel Leadbitter 7, Mark McChrystal 5, Peter Hartley7, Connor Robert 6, Hiram Boateng 7, Lee Mansell 6 , Charlie Colkett 4 , Jermaine Easter 7 (Ollie Clarke 6 ), Rory Gaffney 5 (Ellis Harrison 5), Luke James 6

Man of the Match: Daniel Leadbitter

Journey home

Home via M275, M27, M3, A34 and M4. In and getting the initial election news at 12.30.

Best Beer: The coke in the Rose in June was slightly less fizzy. Not sure if that is good or bad but it will be of no surprise that I preferred this.

Best Pub: Rose in June

Score

Beer choice 4 (out of 5) 4

Beer Quality (average score of beers chosen, out of 5) 2

Staff and service 5 (Out of 5) 4

Total out of 10

Next up: Millwall Away 12.10.16

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