Fratton Park lads arrived four hours before kick-off

A Fratton Park crowd in the late 1940s
A Fratton Park crowd in the late 1940s

THIS WEEK IN 1993: ‘Despicable’ attack on Armistice Day

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Eddy Amey wonders how today’s footballers would cope using old leather balls and boots as opposed to the lightweight modern versions. The older balls were much heavier with the contained bladder. They were coated in Dubbin to waterproof them but still absorbed nearly 1lb of water on a wet day. Heading the ball then was like head-butting a bullock.

Eddy, from Fareham, says his days watching from the Fratton Park terraces were great value.

A 'proper' pair of footbal boots and a tin of dubbin

A 'proper' pair of footbal boots and a tin of dubbin

He says: ‘As a youngster in the 1940/50s, our gang boarded a football special bus at Cosham to be at Fratton Park in time for the turnstiles opening at 11.15am.

‘Nobody had cars so spectators arrived on foot, bicycle or bus. Being early meant we could get to the wall around the pitch for the best view. Most match days Pompey Boys played first with a 12.15pm kick-off followed by a marching band or gymnastics display.

‘About 15 minutes before kick-off a steward walked around the pitch with a board showing team changes. Just before kick-off the visiting team would come out to applause swiftly followed by Pompey to a terrific roar from perhaps 35,000 supporters. Afterwards we’d walk through the streets to lines of buses, passing houses with forecourts crammed with bikes stored at 2d a time.

‘The afternoon was a bargain: two matches, pre and half-time entertainment, all for 9d (less than 4p) for juveniles.’

A bladder, lacing tool and old-style leather ball

A bladder, lacing tool and old-style leather ball