Portsmouth v Derby County
Saturday January 19th 2008, 3pm
(Derby County fan)
Why were you looking forward to going to the ground?
Both Alex, my son, and I had never been to Fratton Park home of the famous Pompey and as this was Derby’s first (and most likely last for some time) season in the Premiership we couldn’t resist the chance to visit as many Premiership grounds as possible. Derby had just bought 5 new players including Robbie “break your legs” Savage in the January transfer window so I was interested in how the new look team would perform and held vain hopes of a historic Derby revival in the second half of the season..
How easy was your journey?
We set off at 12.00am from our base in Hertfordshire. Travel time was estimated at 1hour 50 minutes but we had the M25 to negotiate first. Thankfully the traffic was light with no accidents so it was onto the M3 and head for Southampton. Off the M3 onto the M27 and straight into Portsmouth. The directions on the web site worked perfectly. Once you get off the M27 at the Southsea/Fratton turning you are onto a dual carriageway into Portsmouth with the ground signposted and it is only about 2-3 miles down this road that you come to the ground on your left hand side. Just as you first see the ground there is a pub on the left at a set of traffic lights. If you turn left here there is street parking. We went through the lights and took the first left turn, down to a T junction and then looked left for a parking space. Found one in no time and actually parked behind another Derby support doing the same as us. Time of arrival 1.50pm.
What you did before the game:
We walked straight to the ground which was about 5 minutes away and we walked past 2 pubs with punters drinking outside. We saw no derby colours at all so didn’t stay around as there was also one or two choice words aimed at us as we walked by. The area was well policed though and I am sure it was only the Pompey being playful and properly welcoming any Derby faithful.
You see the floodlights first and the ground somehow seems to be wedged between terraced houses. Quite nostalgic actually because it has the feel of the old “Baseball Ground” to it. The facilities outside are minimal to say the least but we spied one burger van doing a roaring trade just outside the ground under the away end. Alex and his friend were surprised at the age and state of the outside of the ground as they had only been used to Pride Park or the Emirates etc this was going to be something different.
The game itself:
I have to start by praising the stewards. They were present but not intrusive, very polite and prepared to have a laugh and a joke with the fans as well as allowing you to stand up. Stewards can quite often spoil a game for away fans especially when the home side goes 1-0 down so well done Pompey.
had not scored at home in 6 games. Derby had
only scored 4 goals away from home and it was
halfway through the season. Things did not look
good for an exciting game with plenty of goals.
However, as unpredictable as ever, Derby took
the lead with their first attack, a cross into
the box by new boy Lauren Robert, header by
Fagan, save onto the bar by James and bundled
over the line by the returning Nyatanga. 1-0 to
Second half and Derby came out fighting but the game was killed off 10 minutes in by a delightful Pompey counter attack and clinical finish by, you guessed it, Benjani. The Derby faithful would have nothing of it and continued to spur the team on with the “We are Derby, Super Derby” chant. This went on continuously for a good 20 minutes and when we finally changed it to “Oh when the Rams go marching in” the Pompey fans stood and applauded the change of song. No further goals although Derby huffed and puffed so 3 points to a revitalised Harry Rednap’s Pompey and back to the defensive drawing board for Paul Jewel and what’s left of the depleted Derby squad.
Facilities at Fratton Park are sparse to say the least with only 1 shop on the top of the terrace and if going again I would take my own refreshments. Also take a coat. The wind down there coming off the sea is absolutely bitter.
Was a piece of cake. We left with 3 minutes to go, were back at the car just as the final whistle had blown and then back on the main road out of Portsmouth inside 10 minutes. Traffic was light and we arrived home in Hertfordshire after collecting a KFC on the way by 7.00pm
A special day out on many levels. Alex has now seen how football grounds and facilities used to be when I was a lad. The youth of today - They don’t know their born!
The Pompey support, when roused, was a delight to hear and created a wonderful atmosphere and if at some point in the future they get a new ground then I am sure they will do it justice. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day out but do take a thermos and wrap up well.
Are you an away or general football fan who has visited Fratton Park recently?
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to the Guide to Fratton Park - Portsmouth FC page
Football Ground Guide Index