Lower Life: Wembley’s old hat - Brentford trip can be next Pompey occasion

Action at Griffin Park, where Pompey head on April 13
Action at Griffin Park, where Pompey head on April 13

I was intending to go to the Bournemouth game in February and was caught out by the speed at which the away allocation went. So there was no danger of missing out again, at least not through a failure to pay attention.

And so it is that my son and I, and a little group of friends (yes, I do have some) will be off to Brentford in a couple of weeks’ time for, I’m sorry to have to admit, our first away game of the season.

Incidentally – and I know I’ve said this before in this column – it continues to amaze me how many tickets Pompey, 22nd in League One, remember – can sell for an away game, and how quickly.

Don’t let anyone tell that judge there’s nothing really worth saving at the end of Frogmore Road.

We can’t wait for Brentford – our sense of anticipation heightened by the fact that, for various reasons, we go to very few away games.

In fact the sum total of my Pompey away games since 2006 has been a couple of trips to Fulham, a couple to Southampton, four to Wembley, a journey up to Chelsea and one short trek over to Privett Park for a pre-season friendly.

It’s a woeful effort when you compare it to the hardy bunch who go wherever Pompey play, whenever Pompey play.

I admire them but just don’t have the time or money do that any more.

And the plus side is it makes the few away trips you do get involved in extra special.

My last time at Griffin Park – which was also Pompey’s last visit there – came during a time when I was a home-and-away fan (that’s a supporter who watched Pompey every week, rather than a fanatic of the second-rate Aussie soap that still seems to be hanging around on certain TV channels).

It was early in the 1992-93 season and got absolutely hammered 4-1.

Given that four of the Blues’ current backroom staff were in the team that night at the start of what turned out to be a near-glorious season (Whittingham, Awford, Knight, McLoughlin), perhaps there’ll be a bit of long-awaited revenge in the air on April 13.

My son, who’s now ten, is looking forward to the trip as much as if it were another Wembley outing.

Chelsea in the Cup last season was his last taste of a Pompey awayday – and his first, in fact – and he’s still talking about it now; mostly focusing on how bad Fernando Torres was and how it was only 1-0 with about five minutes to go.

That London trip seems an age ago when you think of what’s happened since – how many of you could name our line-up that day, for example?

But Brentford promises to be every bit as much of a special occasion, especially if it turns out to be the first game we play after the courts have made the decision we are all waiting for and all know they should.

The only danger is my youngest gets a real taste for away games and insists on me taking him (or is it the other way round?) to many more next season. But whether he has as much appetite for a six-hour mid-winter run to Hartlepool could be another story.

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