Why Pompey weather woes cannot compete with Big Freeze

12/1/2013 (SPORT)''The match between Portsmouth FC v Notts County FC was cancelled on Saturday afternoon due to a waterlogged pitch.''Pictured is: The waterlogged pitch at Fratton Park on Saturday.''Picture: Sarah Standing (1393-1792)
12/1/2013 (SPORT)''The match between Portsmouth FC v Notts County FC was cancelled on Saturday afternoon due to a waterlogged pitch.''Pictured is: The waterlogged pitch at Fratton Park on Saturday.''Picture: Sarah Standing (1393-1792)

winter weather has devastated Pompey’s fixture list, with three of their past seven matches postponed.

Yet the frustrating period for Blues followers is merely a snowflake on Southsea Common compared to 1962-63.

For when the infamous Big Freeze took an icy grip, Pompey managed to play just once in 59 days.

George Smith’s men headed into Christmas 1962 in a healthy division two position following just four defeats.

Then came some of the worst weather in living memory.

For 62 consecutive days snow lay on the ground in the south of England, resulting in a horrendus fixture backlog and a slump to 16th.

The only game played between Boxing Day and February 23 was an FA Cup clash at Fratton Park with Scunthorpe.

That ended in a 1-1 draw, with Johnny Gordon equalising for the Blues.

It would be another six weeks before a replay was possible on March 7, Ron Saunders netting twice in a 2-1 victory.

The fact no league matches were played during that time ensured a hectic final three months to the season.

In March alone, there were eight matches staged including FA Cup fixtures.

At one point, Smith’s men faced Coventry in the fourth round of the FA Cup three times in seven days, taking into account replays.

As for the league – during one spell in April they played three games in four days.

That included matches against Norwich in successive days – home and away – with Pompey losing both.

To think matters had started so encouragingly upon the resumption of the league programme on February 23, the Blues on song as they beat Luton 3-1.

They then lost nine league matches in a row before a 3-0 April 30 home win over Leeds stopped the rot.

Tony Barton, Gordon and Albie McCann were the scorers in front of 7,773 fans – Fratton’s lowest crowd of the season.

The campaign ended in devastating fashion with a 7-0 hammering at Chelsea, the rampant Stamford Bridge side having already clinched promotion to division one.

Jimmy Dickinson, Phil Gunter and Saunders were all in the Pompey side that day, with the latter ending the season with 29 goals.

For the modern-day Blues, the next fixture is at home to Hartlepool on Saturday.

The away trip on December 22 had been called off due to a waterlogged pitch, as was the Notts County match on January 12.

Last weekend snow denied Pompey a visit to Scunthorpe.

Now fans are hoping a third successive Saturday match does not fall victim to winter.