From Emsworth, Malta and Zagreb - The remarkable 21 Portsmouth followers who travelled to Croatia to watch a training session

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They came from Copnor, Waterlooville, Emsworth, Zagreb and Malta - although one poor chap ended up too hungover to leave his hotel bed.

Still, 21 Pompey fans, accompanied by passing German and Sweden sightseers plus a Stoke fan, were present at an open training session held 1,148 miles from Fratton Park.

In baking Croatian heat, the Medulin-based venue, which has served as the Blues’ training camp since Sunday, welcomed members of the Fratton faithful on Thursday morning.

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Pompey had held off announcing the precise training location until 24 hours before the date to prevent early well-wishers attending.


Regardless, some supporters flew in on Sunday, spending the majority of their time in the picturesque Luka Medulin area by the harbour, particularly in the evening, especially drinking Karlovacko beer.

Despite no friendly scheduled, remarkably a two-hour training session proved just as tempting to those plucky souls who ventured to Medulin, some of them going to extraordinary lengths to be present.

Gaz Guinness flew from Malta to Zagreb, where he met friends Tom Chappell, Adam Porrier and Owen Line, who had hired a car to drive the three hours to Medulin.

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Blues fans Iain Lyon, Steve Holte and Andy Paine had, by a ridiculous coincidence, booked a holiday in the area back in November with their partners.


Although Andy, from Bedhampton, sadly was unable to attend the training session after overdoing celebrations while watching England’s semi-final victory over Holland the previous evening.

The youngest present was Harry Dailly, whose school term at Portsmouth Grammar School ended last week, enabling mum Andrea to bring him to Croatia.

As ever, Banksy’s bus was well-represented, led, of course, by El Presidente Paul Banks and accompanied by Meg and Paul Argyle, Barrington Bain, Judy Yoxall, Fiona Kerr and Rob Thompson.

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Gary and Nolan Bishop, the double act behind the popular PompeyInitMush YouTube channel were in attendance and also managed to interview four players, including Kusini Yengi.

Then there was Marko Antonio Subatic, a converted Pompey fan from Zagreb who adopted the Blues as his favourite club in 2006 when his hero and compatriot Niko Kranjcar was signed by Harry Redknapp.

For the open training session, Pompey oversaw the construction of six gazebos, three alongside each of the two pitches in use, while kindly provided a huge cool box of drink free of charge, including Coca-Cola and Fanta.

Undoubtedly the gesture was well received by the supporters in sweltering conditions of 34 degrees centigrade as they basked in the opportunity to watch their heroes in action.

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Indeed, at the end of the session, which consisted of a one-hour game between the squad, the onlookers gave an appreciative round of applause to John Mousinho’s exhausted troops.

Then it was time for the players and management to mingle, with plenty of photographs taken and chats being had in the relaxed environment.

All that way to spend one morning watching the League One champions train. There’s nothing quite like that Pompey passion.

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