It’s Santa time in our Pompey Christmas countdown

Geoffrey Peters, whose pitch invasion dressed as Santa is still fondly remembered. Picture: Sarah Standing (133618-6708)

Geoffrey Peters, whose pitch invasion dressed as Santa is still fondly remembered. Picture: Sarah Standing (133618-6708)

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As part of our series of Christmas crackers, we thought we would revisit Geoffrey Peters’ antics on December 22, 1984, which saw him create what is today remembered as ‘Santa time’.

A £10 wager from brother Douglas resulted in Geoffrey bursting on to the pitch dressed as Father Christmas, causing significant extra-time to be played after the 90 minutes was up.

Geoffrey Peters on the pitch during the clash with Oxford

Geoffrey Peters on the pitch during the clash with Oxford

The pair sped off on their scooters after the incident but little did they know, while on their way, Alan Biley had scored a last-minute winner in the time added on for the impromptu break in play.

The win ended up holding back promotion rivals Oxford and sent the Fratton end into raptures as Pompey had come from behind to win the game 2-1, a thrilling festive treat for the 22,446 spectators.

Many Blues fans still remember the turnaround fondly and while the brothers were initially unaware they had written their names into the Pompey history books, they remain rather proud of their mischief.

Peters, 48, said: ‘In hindsight, I wish I’d been able to stay behind somehow.

I think the players were pleased to see me because they all looked knackered. Everyone was blowing!

Geoffrey Peters

‘Basically, it was a dare. I’d just turned 17 and bought my first Vespa from Rafferty Newmans in Southsea.

‘My older brother Douglas had a Lambretta, so we dressed up and rode down to the football – it was one of my first visits to Fratton Park.

‘Douglas dared me to run on the pitch for £10.

‘If I’d thought about it sensibly, I’d never have done it!

‘I think the players were pleased to see me because they all looked knackered. Everyone was blowing!

‘But the referee stopped the game, giving me the freedom of the pitch.’

Peters made his way towards the Oxford fans, clearly looking to spread the Christmas cheer, before eventually being escorted away.

He recalled: ‘After I’d reached the centre circle I ran towards the Milton end and gave the Oxford fans some stick, which got a loud cheer.

‘Then the whole of the North Stand started singing “we’ve got a Santa on the pitch” which was incredible!

‘I remember thinking “what have I got myself into here?”

‘A policeman then took me away to have a chat. It basically went along the lines of “get out”. So we did.’

It was only when the pair arrived to meet their friends did they realise what they had contributed to.

He said: ‘Me and Douglas jumped on our scooters and sped off.

‘When we arrived, a bloke working at Rafferty Newmans had the game on the radio and was running around like a lunatic.

‘We then realised we had won and started jumping up and down as well!

‘It was unbelievable. But it’s great that fans still talk about that game.

‘I’m glad I was able to help out just a little bit.’

We began our countdown to Christmas on Monday with our Christmas Cracker quiz.

Then the Pompey players revealed their favourite presents before we looked back at headlines from Christmas past on Wednesday.

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