If you have £1.50 lying around today, take it to your nearest newsagent, pick up a copy of
Mail Memories and enjoy.
And if you are reading this online, make sure you find the story that tells how to order your copy via portsmouth.co.uk (details are also on today’s back page) – but maybe carry on reading this first...
For those who eat, drink and breathe Portsmouth Football Club, I genuinely believe it will be one of the best investments you ever make.
Within the pages of the special publication, 109 glorious years of the Sports Mail or Football Mail (depending on how long you’ve been around) are celebrated.
The tome contains a Sports Mail front page for every year that one of the great Portsmouth sporting institutions was in existence.
That allows the rich tapestry that makes up the history of Pompey to leap from its pages.
We are all still coming to terms with the loss of the Mail a little under two months ago.
In fact, I’ve lost count of the amount of Fratton folk who have spoken to me of the gap it is has left in their Pompey weekend.
From under the mock-Tudor facade on Frogmore Road, to the Twittersphere, people have told of how much they are missing their old companion. Well, hopefully all those who ever enjoyed it will feel the same sense of warmth and royal blue pride from travelling the club’s tumultuous voyage that I did.
From the first edition of The Football News and Southern Sport on September 5, 1903, to the final Sports Mail on October 6, 2012, it’s all documented.
Cartoons depicting the Pompey sailor striking fear into Tottenham Hotspur’s cockerel and a saint from Southampton, complete with halo, take us to a bygone era.
Continue further and two brave cup final defeats are reported on, before the Football Mail headline trumpets POMPEY ARE BRINGING BACK THE CUP TO-NIGHT on April 29, 1939.
Edition 1,136 says it all in 1949: POMPEY ARE CHAMPIONS.
And it was the Mail’s reporter ‘Ranger’ who told of the story of Bob Jackson’s heroes retaining their division one title a little over 12 months later. ‘Nimrod’ and ‘Linesman’ continued to enrapture Pompey supporters with their dispatches through the 50s and 60s.
Step into the 1980s and one of the most memorable of all Sports Mail front pages is told through photographer Murray Sanders’ work.
POMPEY PRIDE roars the headline as Alan Ball’s boys of ’87 party outside The Pompey pub on Frogmore Road after securing the club’s return to the big time.
A familiar Pompey fan in the club’s supporters’ liaison office, Johnny Moore, puts DEACON IN THE DOCK as he launches a broadside against the club’s chairman after relegation 12 months later.
And then to the most recent ‘golden period’ covered by Mark Storey, Neil Allen & Co, before Allen proudly applied ‘the final full stop’.
Keith Newbery’s insight into his time working on the Mail alongside the legendary Mike Neasom in the 1970s is worth the cover price on its own.
But so are so many of the wonderful journeys we are taken on in celebrating something that is so special to us all.