As a life long Pompey fan - though not quite as long as the author - this book really resonates. What memories the author has revived about the life and times of being a supporter of Pompey. The matches, the players, the owners, the supporters and the managers are all covered. All written in pithy style you would expect from an academic who takes no prisoners yet is quick to acknowledge those who deserve positive recognition. My sadness is I read it too quickly. But if you want a book that tells the supporters' story, then this is it. It reminded me of just why I support this great club and always will. Not for the glory times but for as long as I live. Play up Pompey!!
This book by Northern Blues member Geoffrey Fry - a retired Leeds University professor and political writer – is a welcome addition to the various nostalgic histories of Portsmouth Football Club, even more so because its comes from the heart of very longstanding Pompey fan. Geoffrey is one of the few people left who has supported Pompey in every season since the Second World War and this book is an incisive and analytical study from a fan’s perspective of the immediate post-war highs in the 40s/50/s, the slide into long term mediocrity in the ‘60s/70’s, and finally the journey to the top with the realisation of the Premiership dream and a Wembley triumph. For a few years travelling from the Isle of Wight Geoffrey was in the Fratton End to salute the Blues team that dominated English football, and later he travelled home and away up and down the country through the interminable mediocre years, when his employment and war service allowed, to take in football’s distant outposts as an away fan. On that afternoon in May 1950, when a second Championship title was won, as they sang their songs of triumph on the steamer as it crossed the Solent, Geoffrey and his mates would have laughed long and hard if someone had told them that Pompey would win nothing that mattered for nearly sixty more years. Yet, it was not until 2008 that Portsmouth won another major honour, and Geoffrey like many of us realised his dream of seeing Pompey win the FA Cup at Wembley. Geoffrey pulls no punches in telling what is often an emotional story supporting Pompey, with his own key life events woven in. He shows an astonishing recall of games, players, incidents, anecdotes, and also interestingly reflecting the view of the fans through the eras.
`Bury My Heart at Fratton Park' is a fantastic read not only for Pompey fans but anyone who has been a long time football supporter of any club. It covers the history of Portsmouth FC from 1947 to 2008 through the good times and bad with humour provided by the many characters that have followed the Club over the years. As well as being a footballing history it is also provides a social commentary through the years which should be appreciated by both more senior members of the footballing fraternity and younger. A well written book which captures the mood of times past.