Sports Mail nostalgia: The day ‘sprightly’ Portsmouth ‘bedevilled’ the Imps of Lincoln City

The Sports Mail may have been published for the last time, but its name will continue to live on

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 11:56 am
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2022, 11:56 am

In the build-up to every Pompey first team fixture in 2022/23, Roger Holmes will be looking back at a corresponding match by featuring an archive Sports Mail front cover and an inside page here at

Roger almost certainly boasts the largest collection of Sports Mails among Pompey fans - he has over 3,000 of them.

He wrote a weekly nostalgia page in the Sports Mail for most of the 21st century, right up until the end of last season.

The Sports Mail of August 20, 1960 - when Pompey lifted the curtain on a new Division 2 season with a 3-0 home win over Lincoln. But the season would turn up to be a huge disappointment for both clubs.

With the Blues hosting Lincoln City on Saturday for their first home game of the new League One season, Roger looks back to another early-season Pompey v Red Imps fixture at Fratton Park…


Pompey opened their 1960/61 season with a comfortable Division 2 win over Lincoln City at Fratton Park in front of a crowd of 18,959.

They were 2-0 up after only 15 minutes as 17 year-old outside-left Redvern Edmunds, who was making his Football League debut, swung over a corner that Ron Saunders headed home.

It was the centre-forward who notched Pompey’s second after Sammy Chapman’s effort was blocked.

Despite constant pressure for the remainder of the first-half, Pompey failed to extend their lead and looked less likely to do so in a dull second period until Jimmy Campbell netted four minutes from time with a left-foot shot.

Pompey: Dick Beattie, Cyril Rutter, Jimmy Dickinson, Ron Howells, Brian Snowdon, Sammy Chapman, Reg Cutler, Jimmy Campbell, Ron Saunders, Harry Harris, Redvern Edmunds.

It was to prove a dismal campaign for both Pompey and Lincoln, who would end the season occupying the two relegation slots.

The Imps were bottom on 24 points, seven points adrift of a Pompey team who would only win 10 more matches (out of 41 following their opening-day success.

Lincoln have never returned to the second tier since.


Pompey Reserves came from behind to beat Southampton’s second string 2-1 at The Dell before a crowd of 3,147.

Saints took a 23rd minute through Pask’s header but Pompey’s summer signing from Sunderland, John Fraser, equalised five minutes before half time with a shot from 20 yards.

Nine minutes from time, Keith Blackburn’s centre was deflected into his own net by Dave Scurr for what proved to be the winning goal.

Pompey had 16-year-old John Milkins to thank for making a string of fine saves.

Pompey: John Milkins, Rees Thomas, Bill Williams, Alex Wilson, Owen Dawson, Brian Carter, John Fraser, Bob Ridley, Jimmy White, Keith Blackburn, Ron Newman.


Former Fratton favourite Derek Dougan scored a hat-trick in Blackburn Rovers’ 3-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Frank Haydock, who was later to join Pompey, made his debut for United. It was hoped Haydock would solve the club’s centre-half problem, otherwise manager Matt Busby would likely make a bid for Leeds United’s Jack Charlton.

United recently announced a profit of £29,744, taking their post-war aggregate profit to £383,000.

Reigning Football League champions Wolves opened the campaign with a 4-2 home win against West Ham United with Ron Flowers bagging a brace.

Aston Villa, on their return to the top flight, defeated Chelsea 3-2 at Villa Park. Southampton, newly promoted to Division 2, were beaten 1-0 to Rotherham United.

Brighton lost 4-1 in their Second Division fixture with Derby County at the Baseball Ground, while Bournemouth won 1-0 at home to Queens Park Rangers in Division 3.