Ground: Fratton Park
Date: 30th December 2009
Match: Portsmouth - Arsenal 1-4 (Premier League)
Attendance: 20 404
After three days in Birmingham it was time to move to southwards and this Wednesday morning started with a train journey to Basingstoke where I changed for a train heading to Portsmouth & Southsea. The weather on the English south coast was considerably milder than in the West Midlands and it was nice not having to wear multiple layer of clothes. My hotel was quite close to the Southsea train station, I prefer to stay close to stations, and to my satisfaction the hotel was of a much higher standard than the one in Birmingham. Fratton Park was a 20-25 minute walk from my hotel and as I arrived at the most southern Premiership ground it was obvoius this wasn´t a typical ground for a club in the Premier League. With a capacity of only 20 400 Fratton Park is the ground with the lowest capacity in the current Premiership. The ground was opened in 1898 and has of course had several redevelopments since then. In 1997 the last major development took place when the new home end, Fratton End was built. It is a nice ground for a neutral groundhopper to visit, the iconic mock Tudor facade is itself a good reason, but the ground is starting to show its age though and it is obvious Portsmouth need a new ground to be able to compete wíth the big boys in the Premiership. In recent years there have been some ambitious plans but at the moment nothing has been decided.
I was by now quite hungry and tired and decided against walking back to my hotel, instead I opted for boarding a train from the local Fratton station back to Southsea. Later in the evening as I went back to Fratton Park I was very much looking forward to the last match of this trip. With the opponents being Arsenal, a club which play an attractive and positive football, I was hopeful to see an interesting and entertaining match. Portsmouth started the game in a positive way but as soon as Arsenal scored their first goal there could only be one winner. When it was all over Arsenal had won by 4-1 and my hope of an interesting game was certainly fulfilled. The hope for Portsmouth to survive relegation is not helped by the on-going financial crisis at the club. Chants like You are not fit to run a club and Sack the board combined with Off, Off, Off (when Wiley had the chance to give Mokoena a red card) was heard during the second half. It was the first time I have experienced a home crowd booing the referee for NOT giving a player in the home team a red card! That said the atmosphere inside Fratton Park was, for a team bottom of the table and in a crisis, excellent and the fans deserve a properly run club to support.
My last trip of 2009 had come to an end and as I look back it has for sure been a great year for me. The icing of the cake was of course the Champions League final in Rome with the Milan derby being another memorable moment. Sweden missing the World Cup was a huge disappointment but we didn´t deserve to qualify and hopefully the EURO 2012 qualifying draw will bring some interesting away trips.
Rear of the Fratton End
Outside Milton End
View of play
Camera man at work
View of play