It wasn’t just Paul Cook’s side serving up a December treat as Blues trio laid on a sugary spread to embrace the season of goodwill. The ALL-SEEING EYE reports...
COOKING UP A STORM
Paul Cook lived up to his name on the touchline on Saturday as things became rather heated in the technical area.
The passionate Scouser is not afraid of a tongue-lashing and is known for wearing his heart on his sleeve but he was pushed to the extreme in the second half of the Blues’ 4-0 win over Hartlepool.
The cause for his fiery outburst?
One of the worst officiating decisions witnessed in a long while at Fratton Park – and that is saying something.
Somehow, referee Chris Sarginson and his linesman failed to see that Caolan Lavery’s goalbound shot had taken a clear (not slight) deflection off defender Michael Oates.
The obvious giveaway that the officials had made a terrible decision?
The fact that both teams had lined up for a corner.
Sarginson, though, stood by his original decision, which caused the home fans – and Cook in particular – to let their feelings known about the call.
It’s a footballing tradition that always brings a smile to the face – and Pompey’s fans don’t need to be told twice how to greet a friendly face.
So when Trevor Carson – who served the Blues commendably between the sticks two seasons ago – returned with Hartlepool on Saturday, it was in unison the Fratton end stood to applaud the Northern Irishman.
It was a mutual respect that Carson reciprocated, although he probably wished he hadn’t bothered making the long trip south come the final whistle.
‘STELLING, WHAT’S THE SCORE?’
Hartlepool may be without a major honour of note in their 107-year history but what they lack in trophies they more than make up for in celebrity fans.
American rock star Meat Loaf and Labour grandee Peter Mandelson are two examples.
But it was well-known football pundit Jeff Stelling – presenter of Sky’s popular Soccer Saturday programme - who captured the attention and imagination of the Pompey fans.
‘Stelling, what’s the score?’ was the chant from the Fratton end to pile on the Pools’ misery.
Barry Harris prides himself on all things Pompey, whether that be as a walking encyclopedia of Blues knowledge or simply gathering together the balls at the end of the game.
If the star and crescent is involved, it matters to Barry.
So when he failed to locate a stray ball in the stands after the full-time whistle he got himself into a bit of a grump.
That’s the first one to get past him this season but don’t expect it to happen again – angry Barry won’t stand for it.
FESTIVE FRATTON FEAST
While Paul Cook’s men served up a December treat for Pompey fans on the field of play, it was the media who were tucking into a festive Fratton feast of their own before Saturday’s game with Hartlepool.
That’s after generous Blues workers Ann Davies, Mick Hogan and Neil Weld embraced the season of goodwill by providing local and visiting hacks with a veritable spread of sweet offerings.
Some in the past may have scoffed at a perceived lack of pre-match fare but the only scoffing going on in the media centre was that of mince pies, donuts, cakes and biscuits.
The News’ very own Neil Allen was first on the scene and is believed to have made a healthy start to hoovering up the unhealthy handouts.
But he was not alone in his peckish ways as Hogan again produced the goods at the top of the South Stand with a bounty of sweets to share in the press box.
Except one man failed to abide with the unwritten ‘take one, pass it on’ etiquette.
It seems Radio Solent’s Blues legend Guy Whittingham is as greedy for sugar as he was for goals back in the day as he boldly attempted to keep the whole tin to himself before reluctantly returning to sender.