A Rough Guide To Portsmouth
Monday, 23rd Sep 2019 10:04
This could be called the Distant Derby due to the fact that the supporters of both sides will not come into much contact with each other and that's the way they like it, all the info you need to know here.
Fratton Park as we are often informed by our Pompey neighbours is unlike our own soulless concrete bowl in that it is a traditional style football ground, what this actually means is that its a ground that's facilities are so outdated that they would merit a charity record by Bob Geldof if people were living in such squalor in the third world.
On three sides of the ground its basically seats bolted on to the old terracing with poor views, often obscured by posts and pillars as well as some seats being lower than pitch level, meaning that because of the famous camber of the pitch, several thousand people in the front of the stands cant see below the players knee height on the other side of the pitch.
Saints fans will be situated in the Milton End of the ground, for many years this was an open end, firstly terraced and then in the last 15 years or so with seats, however a previous owner decided to subdue the locals into still thinking he was actually interested in building Pompey a new stadium and making them into the World force he had promised, so he decided to pop along to B & Q and buy a cheap football stand roof in the summer sales, this induced much forelock touching in the Portsea area although most of them failed to notice that the plans for a new Stadium at Gunwharf that he had also unveiled to them looked uncannily like the Romany bathroom range and the bidet in that range in particular, ironically given its inspiration this stadium was soon down the crapper like half a dozen before it.
The Milton End is luxurious and completely in keeping with the surrounding area, visiting Saints fans will be ushered through the 2 turnstiles at each side of the stand and then will have the choice of using either one of the two toilet cubicles or squeeze in next to approximately 7 other Saints fans which the toilet block can accommodate, this is of course how a proper football toilet should be and not the concrete bowl effect we experience when performing our ablutions at St Mary's.
If visiting the toilet doesn't float your boat, or your shoes for that matter, then there are of course the World class catering facilities on offer, formerly a tea hut on the M27 extension, the Milton End tea bar's offer a range of tea or pies, or both if you want, this is a proper 1960's football ground tea bar and now a World heritage site and has much more history and aura that our soulless concrete catering facilities, with beer burgers, pies & hot dog's in a spacious covered concourse that we are used to at St Mary's.
There are two items on the menu in the away end at Fratton Park, tea or pies, so like at McDonald's where every order is greeted with"Do you want fries with that" on Tuesday you will be asked "Do you want Tea/Pie's with that"
The view from the stand of course is excellent although sadly when we visit it will be somewhat obscured, other visiting supporters have spoke of the wonder of row upon row of bright dazzling empty blue seats that leave them needing to shield their eyes, however sadly we probably wont be treated to this spectacle due to the generosity of Portsmouth FC, who have invited a few thousand missing persons to join them for this very special occasion.
This is the easiest trip of the season, all you have to do is turn up at St Mary's and get on a coach and hey presto in about an hour you will be deposited outside Fratton in a sterile area and can safely walk to the turnstiles.
Alternatively there is a special train none stop from Southampton Central at 6.05 pm on Tuesday evening and it will return from Fratton Station at around 10.34pm.
14 years ago it took the police around 1 1/2 hours to get the Saints supporters the 3/4 mile from the station to the away turnstiles, meaning we missed the first 20 minutes of the game.
Hampshire Constabulary have assured us that they have the manpower to keep all Saints supporters safe on the walk to and from the ground and that safety won't be compromised at all, there are horses from Berkshire, British Transport Police from London, helicopters from somewhere, this is truly a nationwide operation.
There are no designated away fan pubs and there is good reason for that, the chips on both shoulders that they have for Saints means that they feel obliged to turn into slightly smarter versions of JPFCW when it comes to Saints.
If you want to have a drink then our advice is have one a little away from the ground and get a cab in.
The choices in the ground have been mentioned elsewhere, the wall of Freeborne garage is good to have a quick can of lager before you get on the coach and it might be an idea to bring sandwiches.
What To See
The road into Pompey has many sights to gaze in wonder at, as you look up to Portsdown Hill on your left, at the top you will see Monster Mick's Burger bar, the nearest you will get to food all day, otherwise the highlights are the rotting submarines in Portsmouth Harbour and the view of Hayling Island from Eastern Road, don't forget to have your pictures taken next to the Hanging Fences of Babylon sponsored by Hampshire Police.
If your there in one of the first coaches then you may see the spectacle of the 7.00pm plane from Orlando overhead, locals have never quite got used to being on the flight route from Florida and still stop to point and wonder how it stays up there.
The end message though is stay safe, no one wants to go to a football match and no come home.
Photo: Action Images
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