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Fratton feedback: Praise for new book telling Pompey's 125-year story
Fratton feedback: Praise for new book telling Pompey's 125-year story
Sunday, 1st Oct 2023 12:24

The book is out, and the reviews are in. Well some of them are.

Published by club partner Bishops Printers, the 424-page hardback coffee-table book, entitled The Official History – Portsmouth Football Club Celebrating 125 Years, has been pulled together by a team of five authors, as well as a number of other contributors, to produce the most comprehensive history of Pompey yet published.

Just 1,898 of the books – to chime with the year the club were founded – have been produced and more than 1,000 have been sold already to subscribers.

The remainder will go on sale, priced £40, on a first come, first-served basis, on Monday, (October 2) from the Pompey Store in Anson Road and selected independent booksellers in Portsmouth. Demand is expected to be high - as proved by the level of pre-orders.

Two of the book sellers – New To You Books in Cosham and Pigeon Books in Albert Road – have been taking pre-orders.

The authors – Neil Allen (who writes about 1999-2023), Steve Bone (1973-1999), Mick Comben (1898-1920), Johnny Moore (1946-1973) and Gerry Spraggs (1920-1946) – were selected for their deep knowledge of their eras, while a number of specialists – Peter Jeffs, Michael Saunders, Paul Boynton, Ed Emptage and Bill Griffiths – were co-opted to help on specific topics.

Subscribers who have had their copies already have taken to Twitter (now called X) to praise the publication.

Tony Needham said simply: 'Amazing book.' Kelvin Shaw added: 'Fabulous reading.'

Wayne Harris said: 'Pompey related books pretty much the only books I bother reading. Of course, the latest doesn't disappoint. Absolute class from the authors and editor. Glued to every page. Love it. Amazing. Well done all.'

Neil tweeted: 'It even smells great! What finishes it off for me is the quality of the paper. It's a top piece of work. The content speaks for itself, and I'm even learning stuff I never knew. Congratulations all round.'

Adam TS said: 'Wow. The definitive #Pompey book. Can’t wait to get stuck into it. Probably the best football history book in the world ... A massive well done @colinfarmery @pn_neil_allen @stevebone1 @MickComben @moore_johnny @Spraggsi @EllisHampton & everyone involved.' And Richard Atkins-Greig added: 'It’s amazing; proper club, proper fans, proper city, proper history. #SimplyTheBest.'

Pompey chairman Michael Eisner has contributed a foreword and the book features dozens of rarely-seen photos, some of which have been colourised by Emptage and Andy Imrie to bring the monochrome eras to life.

The work of some key photographers who have chronicled the club’s ups and downs, including Stephen Cribb, Murray Sanders, Steve Reid, Joe Pepler and present club photographer Jason Brown, is also highlighted.

At the back of the book is a comprehensive statistical section, pulled together by Comben and Boynton, which details the games, goals and players, as well as the financial story of the club, told for the first time in extensive detail.

Colin Farmery, who is the book’s editor, said: 'This project has taken more than a year to pull together and I truly hope we have done the club we all love justice. The team of people who have worked on the project have all put their heart and soul into it and I am hugely grateful for their efforts.

'From a personal perspective, it has been a joy to relive the club’s magnificent history. The book stands on the shoulders of giants, such as Mike Neasom, who have authored club histories before, but this book’s intention is to give a fresh perspective and add to the body of knowledge, especially around the formation of Pompey.

'The statistics have been extensively checked and the financial summaries for all the years of the club’s existence make for fascinating reading. The colourisations are also expertly done and bring the past to life.'

The book is available from New To You Books, High Street, Cosham, Pigeon Books in Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth City Museum & Art Gallery Bookshop in Museum Road. Fans living out of the area can order one by post.

For more or to order go to

Photo: Action Images

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