Time to recreate the wall of noise

Fan-funder Steve McLenaghan cuts the ribbon to officially open the Tifosy pitches at Pompeys Copnor Road training base. Also included are, from left, James Pollock, Tifosy, Blues chief executive Mark Catlin, manager Kenny Jackett, academy boss Mark Kelly and Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Ken Ellcome. Fans were also present at the opening ceremony

Football’s reaping success from Pompey pioneers

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FOR DEFIANCE and fighting spirit it remains unsurpassed.

That’s John Westwood’s assessment of the famous ‘wall of noise’ clash against Stockport in 1998.

Now The News are getting behind Andy Awford’s call to recreate that famous atmosphere at Fratton Park once again.

Last Saturday, Awford delivered a war cry for the spirit of ’98 to return as Pompey fight for their place in the Football League. We’ll be doing our bit to rally the troops for the crucial clash with Hartlepool on Saturday.

This week, we’ll relive some of the famous atmospheres at Pompey games in years gone by.

And there is only one place to start on the front.

There were 8,622 fans in Fratton Park for Stockport in 1998, with Alan Ball’s side seven points from safety in division one.

But the noise created as Pompey battled their way to a 1-0 win will go down in legend. Endless chants of ‘Alan Ball’s blue and white army’ reverberated around the ground as the home side held on for a crucial three points – which sparked their run to survival.

Westwood was in the Fratton End that night, and knew he was part of something special.

He said: ‘When you walked in the ground, you could tell something was going to happen. There were 8,000 there and it was the real hardcore – and they weren’t giving up.

‘I had my bugle and Dave Anderson had the drum and we looked around us and could just see the whole ground chanting. That made us want to do it even more!

‘The spirit of this city when their backs are to the wall was summed up that night.

‘You could see the Stockport players were nervous when they were near the Fratton End.

‘And it seemed to me the Pompey players got 10ft taller. For defiance and getting behind the team, that atmosphere was the best. It was awe-inspiring.’

Westwood is right behind the The News campaign to bring back the wall of noise atmosphere.

He said: ‘Awfs has come back and understands this is a time for unity.

‘Alan Ball used to say people go to war from this city. When the chips are down the people of Portsmouth come out fighting.’