1. Why you were looking
forward to going to the ground (or not as the case
This was our first visit to Fratton Park and a
chance to experience the reputed atmosphere.
Southend were on a four game winning run and
Portsmouth, pre-season promotion favourites had
lost five on the bounce leading to their manager
Guy Whittingham being sacked the day before this
fixture. We expected a tough match.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the
As exiled fans living in North Wales it was a five
hour, 250 mile journey each way. We travelled down
M6 M5 A34 M3 M27 etc.. and despite busy traffic
around the ground managed to park easily in the
club car park for £5.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy....
home fans friendly?
We usually take a picnic and supplemented this
with a delicious tray of chips for £2 from the
burger outlet in the car park. We took a walk
round the ground and took pictures of the iconic
main entrance and collected our tickets. The car
park stewards and club staff were helpful and
4. What you thought on
seeing the ground, first impressions of away end
then other sides of the ground?
The ground is set within a residential area
mainly. The black and white main entrance reminds
you of olden times in football. There is a narrow
passage from the car park to the ticket office
which is poorly lit which surprised me given the
safety standards these days and not a place I
would like to encounter if it was really busy.
The burger vans in the car park are well stocked
and the cleanest I have ever seen. The away end
was better than I expected, with just enough leg
room. A pillar does prevent a perfect view but is
better than some other grounds I have visited. The
stands, particularly the home one behind the goal
are large and high and close to the pitch, which
makes for an intimidating feeling.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere,
stewards, pies, facilities etc..
Some Southend fans had been delayed in traffic
after an accident and arriving late found that no
food was available until half-time. Luckily we had
eaten food from car park outlets. The stewards
were friendly and allowed some of the away support
to stand behind the goal. The toilets were
reasonable. A crowd of 13,427, (770 Southend)
under floodlights, made for a good atmosphere.
the away section
Portsmouth took the
lead after just two minutes with a great run and
shot and Southend struggled to control the
midfield in the first half. Portsmouth also hit
the bar, and had a couple of good chances to
increase the lead. Southend sent on substitute
Woodrow after an hour but he was almost
immediately sent off and despair was setting in as
the famous Pompey singing rolled down on us.
10 men Southend then came into the match and
scored after 76 minutes and unbelievably took the
lead after 81 minutes and held on through five
minutes added time to win at Portsmouth for the
first time in 95 years!
The Southend fans were not out singing the home
crowd once we equalised and were delirious at the
end, cheering their hearts out as the team and
manager Phil Brown strolled up to acknowledge the
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after
We were delayed leaving the car park with traffic
trying to turn right onto a busy road, so we opted
to turn left and let satnav guide us away
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Results always affect our thoughts of the day and
so winning with 10 men at Portsmouth to go into
3rd place ensured it was one of our best ever
football trips. Travelling home that far at night
does lead to problems with night road works
closures at M3/A34 and M40 access at Junction 9,
the M42 and M6 and finally even the A55 causing us
to travel through Chester!
A trip to Fratton Park has to be highly
recommended. It is an old fashioned ground full of
atmosphere, with tremendous fan support the envy
of many, and we hope they soon start climbing back
up the leagues.
On reflection we should have made it a longer stay
to visit the sights of Portsmouth, but we have
happy memories of the 5th successive win and that
will suffice for now.