2011 saw the 60th birthday of PFSCL, one of the oldest of Pompey’s supporters clubs. So where did it all begin?
In 1951/2 Pompey were a team to be reckoned with, but the “heady” days were behind them. Despite this slight down turn in fortunes Sports magazine ran an advert in September 1951 calling for exiled Pompey Fans, based in the London area, to contact Mr Phil Patrick – with a view to forming the London Supporters’ Club. Following that advert Phil Patrick, and his son Paul, met up with Brian Smith and a few other likeminded exiles on the terraces at Craven Cottage; the meeting took place 6 October during the half time interval. At the end of the game Pompey had won 3 – 2, but it wasn’t just three valuable points that resulted from the game, or at least the half time cup of Bovril……. but the foundation of The Portsmouth Football Supporters Club London.
For the remainder of that season the newly formed club was run single handedly by Phil Patrick, who amongst other things organised a total of six coach trips, which included two trips to Fratton Park to witness a 2 – 0 win over Tottenham and in 1952 a victory against Lincoln in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup. PFSC-L’s first away day soon followed in the 4th Round of the Cup, as Pompey faced a trip to Notts County. The party left Victoria at 11pm on the Friday night before the game (Yes that’s 11pm – so please don’t ever complain about an early train to Manchester) with entertainment provided by an on board crooner. Not much has changed in terms of passing the time on long away trips, though I doubt any of our singing these days is up to crooner standards. The coach, complete with Crooner singing “Some Enchanted Evening” finally arrived at Nottingham at 6am. Despite heavy snow and ice, the game went ahead and was won by the blues – just as well really given the efforts of the exiles to get there. The return journey started off at midnight, and no doubt involved a traditional post match sing song and several pints.
On 23 May 1952, the London branch had its first official meeting, held in Clapham, South London. The following officials and committee members were appointed:
R Plaskett: Chairman
Mrs N Pitcher: Registration Secretary
P C Patrick: Secretary/Treasurer
J Cresswell: Committee member
C Allen: Committee member
P Farlam: Committee member (substituted by T Day)
B Smith: Committee member
At the end of its first year the London Branch had 110 members, which was not a bad total for its first 12 months.
Play up Pompey, Pompey Play up…. The first issue of the Pompey Chimes magazine was published on 12 July 1952 and despite its turbulent history remains ever present today (albeit erratically).
Further away day tales…. Of the many other trips organised by the London Branch the 1 September 1958 League tie at Blackpool stands out as a classic example of the way PFSCL likes to treat its members. The parent supporters club in Portsmouth organised a train party for this match and had arranged for the train to stop at Wimbledon to pick up the London exiles. The train stopped at midnight, and those that boarded found that a whole carriage had been reserved for their comfort. And comfortable it must have been, as there were only three London Branch members to fill it – Phil Patrick, John Dilley and Brian Smith. They must have felt like VIPS. (I can’t quite see Richard Branson and Virgin trains allowing us that luxury can you? I bet they never had to book Super Advance Returns either!)
Unfortunately we do not run any of the sports teams at the moment (though we would if enough of our members expressed an interest) but we continue to follow in the footsteps of the founding members, by organising tickets to games, running the occasional away trip and competition, and hosting evenings with representatives from the club, both past and present.
The Supporters Club owes a great debt to those that met at Craven Cottage in 1951, none more so than to Phil Patrick, but most of all we owe a great deal to the members who have stuck with us, for without their continued support there would not be a Portsmouth Football Supporters Club – London.