In My LIfetime - Where The Blue Have Been Few !
Friday, 17th May 2019 14:00
Since the early 1960's a lot of things have happened in World History, in a week where again it is one of failure for the Blue Few here we take a look at what has happened at both ends of the M27 or A27 as it used to be.
Since 1961 there have been 58 League seasons Saints and Pompey have been in the same division for just 10 of them approx 17%.
Out of those 58 seasons Saints have been in a higher division or finished above Portsmouth in the League for 51 of those (88%)
Saints have been a top flight club for 42 seasons (72%) and Pompey 8 seasons (13%) indeed even taking into account the Pompey glory years when games were interrupted by dinosaurs on the pitch, they have only been in the top flight for only 34 seasons in total, 8 less than us and about to become 9.
Saints highest top flight finish is 2nd in 1984, Pompey's 8th in 2008, in 58 seasons we have had 13 seasons of 8th or higher.
Saints have been in League One(old Div 3) for 2 seasons(0.30%) Pompey 8 seasons(13%).
Saints have been in League Two(old div 4) for 0 seasons (0%) Pompey 6 seasons (10%)
Saints have spent 2 seasons in the bottom 2 divisions (0.30% ) Pompey have spent 14 seasons (23%)
Of 58 seasons Saints have had a bigger average attendance in 54 of those seasons (93%) including having a bigger average in our first season in League One where we averaged 20,982 with only 18,249 turning up at Fratton an average of 2,600 empty seats per game.
Saints have won 1 FA Cup so have Pompey, likewise the EFL Trophy is 1 apiece, this would be the Johnstones Paint Trophy when we won it but the Checkforafan trophy this season.
Saints have also appeared in 1 losing FA Cup Final so have Pompey.
Saints have also appeared in 4 losing FA Cup semi finals Pompey 1.
Saints have appeared in 2 losing League Cup Finals , Pompey 0
Saints have had 9 seasons of European Football, Portsmouth just 1, however it should be noted that they did qualify in 2010 as FA Cup runners up but had failed to obtain a UEFA licence so could not participate and their place went to Liverpool.
So the overall message here is that although Portsmouth have won more of us in the far distance past, indeed no one under the age of 80 would remember their last title win and the one FA Cup win they have more than us was won at a time when Hitler had still not started a World War, in the modern game they have mainly been staring up to us and in our shadow,
Yes we have not had the most successful of times in the last 58 seasons in terms of winning trophies, but it still has been a time when we have actually challenged for something in each of the last six decades where their glory years have been mainly confined apart from one season in the early 90's to a few seasons a decade or so ago when their corrupt owners spent money they didn't have and although it won them the FA Cup it drove them into administration and the brink of extinction being only minutes from being wound up on several occasions.
Football has changed in the last decade we will perhaps never win a Premier League title, but then again the likelihood is that 6 clubs aside no one else will again unless a European Super League comes into being.
Yes Pompey have won League titles but Huddersfield have won more but don't spend their entire lives telling everyone they are a sleeping giant and will once again return to their true place in football.
Of course Pompey are below their true place, that is in the Championship where they have spent 36 of those 58 seasons covered here, that is where the rest of the footballing world sees them as a perennial mid to lower table club, indeed that is where they have spent 63% of their time since 1961.
Indeed given that they have spent 90% of the last 58 years outside of the top flight is there any football fan in the land outside of a PO postcode that would consider them a Premier League club in all but name ?
The crumbling stadium and the fact that the bottom three divisions contain around 20 clubs who could truly make a better claim in the last 7 decades to be a top flight club in terms of years spent at the top level, ground size, average support etc.
Another season for Pompey in League One will only make these statistics worse.
Over the years The Ugly Inside has engaged in various levels of banter with our friends from down the M27, we have usually kept in light hearted and not personal, after all Pompey fans arent that much different than us, aside from the extra fingers and scales on their backs from a distance aside from one of them they could all be mistaken for the average man in the street.
But the balance needs to be addressed, we sat tight throughout the season and watched the videos on social media as their number 1 fan led the customers in the pub through lusty renditions of a song about Pompey going up and Saints going down and what they would do to us in the Championship next season.
It turned out that neither club kept their side of the bargain and the Championship will be a South Coast free zone next term and perhaps the gap will widen still further.
But looking back over my time on this Earth I would not swap our last 58 seasons for their's, the greats in football who have played for our club whether coming through the ranks of signed is countless, for them it is another case of Blue Few.
I'm sure this will rile some Pompey fans up, in truth it's meant to a little, although one aim is also to remind Saints supporters just how well the club has done in this time when compared to most clubs outside of the now Big Six.
The main message though is that Pompey and Saints is a rivalry that matters, it is not just about football it is a tale of two cities that just don't get on, it is a rivalry that unlike say Spurs and Arsenal or Liverpool V Everton and Man Utd V Man City is about more than just a game, there is a cultural divide, a distinct boundary where no matter how badly either team is doing you support your home town team and that is how it should be.
The likes of Bournemouth have tried to muscle in, but they never will for us it is about Pompey and whatever the fans of either side will say about not caring about the other, deep down they do, the final whistle at Fratton Park last night was greeted in those watching on TV in Southampton with almost as much enthusiasm as those watching back in Sunderland.
Sadly we rarely play them as has been illustrated here, that is sad in one respect in that some would say that it would be nice to have regular local derbies, but in another as it is such a rare occurrence it makes it that much more special, that much more intense, that much more passionate.
But in conclusion for us we can see a better future with Ralph Hasenhuttl whilst for them in the words of Phil Collins it looks like No Jacket Required.
Photo: Action Images
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