Give me a reason to visit Fratton Park

Boyhood hero Ron Springett.
Boyhood hero Ron Springett.
The new trackbed for the Horndean Light Railway looking south across the bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham, about 1903.

NOSTALGIA: Ready and waiting, the shiny new tracks climbing Portsdown Hill

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At one time I would have known every Pompey player by name and a few personally.

The England squad would have been just as familiar and at one time I could name every First Division goalkeeper.

Even now when I think about it I can go through the old First Division of the 1960s and remember most of them: Leicester-Banks; Chelsea-Bonetti; Notts Forest-Grummitt; Everton-West, Sheffield Wednesday-Springett (Ron), Blackpool-Waiters, Liverpool-Clemence, Arsenal-Wilson and so on.

Why is it then, for the life of me, I don’t know who Gary Cahill is or who he plays for? Also, why is it that I did not know that a player named Ashley Cole received his century of caps playing for England last week or who he plays for?

Has the modern game got so boring that I have become that uninterested with the players and their antics?

I am talking about a man who has visited just about every ground in England, watching his beloved Pompey play since 1959.

Today I would not walk across the road to go inside Fratton Park, the ground that holds so many memories for me both. I have stood shoulder to shoulder with two much-missed brothers shouting ourselves hoarse singing the Chimes. I have stood in the Fratton End with so many fans that I could not raise my arms above my head.

I have walked out of the gates down Frogmore Road and been carried off my feet for several yards, there were so many leaving the ground at the final whistle.

I was once threatened with the sack from my job when I took a Saturday afternoon off to see the great Ron Springett when he played for Queens Park Rangers. He was my boyhood hero and there was no way I was going to miss seeing him.

I just hope that whoever takes over at Fratton Park can instil something in me to visit my field of dreams once again.