Love for Portsmouth FC has been compulsory for me as long as I can remember.
From the first time I sat in the South Stand I knew that Fratton Park was the only place I would be calling a “home ground”.
The first match I can actually remember watching is the 3-1 win at home over Grimsby on February 1, 2003. Goals from Yakubu and Nigel Quashie helped us along to promotion at the end of the season.
It was safe to say I was hooked. From then on whenever I could be a part of the Fratton Faithful I would leap at the chance and I count myself lucky to have seen some remarkable games played.
Here’s my list of the seven best games I’ve seen.
1. Portsmouth 1 - 0 Cardiff. 17/05/2008. Wembley.
Nwankwo Kanu (37mins)
Predictably the match I picked as my favourite was the FA Cup Final triumph over Cardiff. With over 89,000 people in attendance Kanu’s early strike was enough to see up lift the cup. Sadly this is the only match on this list that I didn’t see live, however just watching it on television with my mates was enough to absorb the bedlam that erupted at the final whistle.
2. Portsmouth 4 - 1 Southampton. 24/ 04/ 2005. Home.
Yakubu (4mins) Henri Camara (20mins)
Arjan De Zeeuw (17mins)
Lomana Lua-Lua (22, 27mins)
This really was a fairytale match to me; the result put Southampton bottom of the league, Harry Redknapp was booed as the new Southampton boss and Portsmouth were dominant from start to finish. On top of all that it really was a great display of football, Lua-Lua played a blinder and even though it pains me to say, Henri Camara’s tight angled goal was very impressive.
3. Portsmouth 7 - 4 Reading. 29/09/2007. Home.
Benjani (7, 37, 70mins) Hunt (45mins)
Hreidarsson (55mins) Kitson (48mins)
Ingimarsson (81mins O.G) Long (79mins)
Muntari (90+2mins) Campbell (90+4mins O.G)
This match will always stick in my memory as the atmosphere at Fratton Park was electric, the football was end to end and the score was unbelievable. The match still holds the record for the highest scoring Premier League match and will take some beating. It was also one of the first matches where my faith in Benjani was rewarded, after a slow start, this season he came alive netting 12 goals for the club. Unfortunately in order to beat the traffic my dad and my uncle insisted on leaving the game before the 90 minute mark, walking outside the length of the Milton end and hearing two separate goal celebrations is still a tense subject in my household!
4. Portsmouth 1 - 5 Arsenal. 06/03/2004. Home.
Sheringham (90mins) Henry (25, 50mins)
Ljungberg (43, 57mins),
This is another game that saw Portsmouth face defeat, however the atmosphere at this game should be held as an example to other clubs. The Fratton faithful were so blown away by the sheer skill of this Arsenal team in their prime that it no longer became about the result, it was just enough to see some stellar displays of football. Thierry Henry put on such a show that even the home fans began applauding and singing “We’re going to sign you in the summer”. After the match Henry did a lap of the Fratton pitch wearing a Pompey shirt and has often since spoken about his respect for Portsmouth’s fans.
5. Portsmouth 1 - 0 Manchester United. 08/03/2008. Away. FA Cup Quarter-Final.
Sulley Muntari (78mins - penalty)
This match was significant as it continued the curse of Harry Redknapp causing an upset for United. As well as this it meant that Portsmouth would be heading to Wembley since 1942 and stopped United’s hopes for the treble.
6. Portsmouth 2 - 2 A.C. Milan. 27/11/2008. Home.
Younes Kaboul (62mins) Ronaldinho (84mins)
Nwankwo Kanu (73mins) Inzaghi (90+2mins)
During their European campaign in 2008 Portsmouth were drawn in group E alongside Italian giants AC Milan. Despite this not being an example of Portsmouth being victorious, it was such a spectacle to see players like Zambrotta, Inzaghi and Emerson grace Fratton Park. The game was hotly contested in the first half, with surreal sights such as Glen Little marking Kaka out of much of the game. Pompey even managed to pull a two goal lead up to the 84th minute, when late substitute Ronaldinho changed the course of the game with a breathtaking free kick. Filippo Inzaghi netted late in the game to bring the match to a stalemate.
7. Portsmouth 1 - 0 Manchester United. 17/04/2004. Home.
Steve Stone (36mins)
As a nine year old boy seeing Pompey defeat what seemed like a behemoth United side was a huge moment. Steve Stone caught on the end of Lua-Lua’s cross and boosted Portsmouth’s chances of staying up in their first season in the Barclay’s Premier League.
*Do you have a list of your favourite Pompey games of all time? We’d love to publish it - email it to firstname.lastname@example.org