Stranded Pompey’s Plan B saved the day

Pompey chairman Iain McIness, left, and Paul Cook, along with the Blues first-team squad, had to get a train from Carlisle to London Euston on Saturday after the team coach broke down
Pompey chairman Iain McIness, left, and Paul Cook, along with the Blues first-team squad, had to get a train from Carlisle to London Euston on Saturday after the team coach broke down
Pompey midfielder Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey’s Plan B helped inflict defeat on promotion rivals Carlisle.

Similarly, alternative tactics had to be employed after the team were stranded in Cumbria in the aftermath of that 3-0 triumph.

The Blues were deprived of a team coach when the vehicle broke down on its journey up north to collect them.

It meant Paul Cook and his squad were instead forced to catch the train home.

Accompanied by chairman Iain McInnes, the group also encountered some of the 1,209 Pompey travelling faithful during the trip back.

Eventually, having arrived at Euston, another coach returned Cook & Co to the south coast by 1.30am on Sunday.

Great credit to the chairman and – more importantly – his daughter Georgie, who sorted it all out quite quickly

Paul Cook

Not that the exhaustive 702-mile round trip could put a dampener on a heartening day for all associated with Pompey.

Cook said: ‘We flew up Friday and had another coach which took us across from Newcastle to our hotel.

‘The coach from Eastleigh was coming up to collect us on the Saturday, but broke down a couple of times on the way up.

‘We were supposed to leave at 5.30-6pm to get the coach home – but never even managed to get on it!

‘It’s not great for us in terms of getting back for a game on the Tuesday, but our job is to stay professional.

‘Great credit to the chairman and – more importantly – his daughter Georgie, who sorted it all out quite quickly.

‘Right away they managed to get a group of 30 players on to a train to Euston and we got home safely at 1.30am.

‘It was always going to be like that, that’s football, you get on with it.

‘As you can imagine, the chairman and myself tried to relax and enjoy ourselves!

‘There were Pompey fans on the train back, everyone was in good spirits after the result, which was nice.

‘It was also healthy for the players to see how much supporters put into travelling and how much money they spend.

‘It was a good chance for everyone to see what life is like being a supporter.’

At least there is now a week of home comforts for the Blues, with successive Fratton Park matches.

Tomorrow night they face Morecambe – with Crewe the visitors on Saturday.

Those matches represent ideal opportunities to enhance claims for automatic promotion.

Pompey are next on their travels on Tuesday, March 7. The 114-mile round trip to Crawley still preferable to Carlisle.