HOW can Portsmouth find a way out of their financial mess? There is, of course, only one man who can answer Pompey-related questions beginning with the word ‘How’. Therefore, there is only one man who can save the club. Step forward Fred Dinenage.
As far as I’m aware, Fred is not the UK-based businessman with pots of cash who takeover frontman Rob Lloyd is keeping a secret from the world. (That doesn’t mean it isn’t Fred, though. He could be hatching a plan right now to save Pompey by moving them out of Fratton Park to play their home games in Jack Hargreaves’ shed from next season.)
But the veteran regional TV news anchorman – and one-time biographer of the Kray twins – does have more knowledge of the Fratton Park boardroom than most of us. In the days when Pompey’s finances seemed to be a lot healthier than they are now, Fred was a non-executive club director.
Indeed, during the final season of The Premiership, ITV couldn’t show highlights of a Pompey game without cutting to a shot of Fred in the stand, his suntan holding out against the November squalls.
Of course, the answer to this particular How question is obvious. You need someone with millions and millions of pounds, who is willing to chuck it at a football club who will be in the Championship next season. I think Fred might be struggling there, given that – as far as I can remember – most of his solutions to the questions on How involved matchsticks, mirrors, brown paper, bits of string and/or a glass of water.
I can’t see any of those dragging Pompey out of administration.
Last night’s final match: Portsmouth 0 Blackburn 0
Commentator: Steve Wilson
With a General Election campaign looming, Fred is – curiously – currently less famous than his daughter.
Caroline Dinenage will be standing for the Conservatives in Gosport whenever the election happens, and found herself in the headlines last month when it was discovered that some of her campaign posters had been airbrushed to remove what the Daily Mail referred to as “natural laughter lines”.
(This kind of trickery does feel as if it should be the answer to the question: How can Photoshop get a prospective MP into trouble? Although in the interests of political balance, I should point out that we’re hardly in James Purnell territory here.)
Another How question: How did Blackburn fail to win at Fratton Park yesterday? Christopher Samba was denied twice in the first half, first by Pompey keeper Jamie Ashdown, then by the post.
Ashdown also kept out Phil Jones once and Martin Olsson twice on a dark, wet afternoon on the south coast. A frustrating afternoon for Rovers, who can at least console themselves with the fact that they have gone top of the Gubbometer as the season heads towards a thrilling climax. (I reckon any one of five teams, including Pompey, could win it.)
But Pompey battled away, just as their former Blackburn enforcer Aaron Mokoena had told them to in the build-up to the game when he asked: “Are we going to back off, or are we going to die like soliders?”
Well, they’re not mathematically down yet, despite Anthony Vanden Borre needless sending off, after picking up a second booking for handball when there was no danger to Pompey’s goal.
Jamie O’Hara had their best chance in the first half, which was somehow cleared off the line by Gael Givet. (How? I couldn’t tell you.)
Not that O’Hara was trying to gloss over things when interviewed afterwards. “This probably deserves to be last on Match of the Day,” he said. “It was a shocking game.”
1. Blackburn: 7 (GD: 1. 2L: 3.)
2=. Portsmouth: 7 (GD: 1. 2L: 1.)
2=. Everton: 7 (GD: 1. 2L: 1.)
4. Stoke: 7 (GD: 0. 2L: 3.)
5. West Ham: 6 (GD: 1. 2L: 2.)
6. Bolton: 5 (GD: 0. 2L: 7.)
7. Wigan: 5 (GD: 0. 2L: 3.)
8. Hull: 4 (GD: 0. 2L: 7.)
9. Aston Villa: 4 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
10. Wolves: 3 (GD: 0. 2L: 7.)
11. Fulham: 3 (GD: 0. 2L: 5.)
12. Gubba: 2 (GD: 2. 2L: 3.)
13. Birmingham: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 7.)
14. Burnley: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 6.)
15. Tottenham: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 3.)
16. Arsenal: 1 (GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
17. Liverpool: 1 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
18. Sunderland: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 7.)
19. Manchester United: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 2.)
20. Chelsea: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
21. Manchester City: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
GD = Gubba difference
2L = On second last (Last night’s penultimate match was: Stoke 2 Hull 0.)
(NB. Teams will receive one point for every time they appear last on MOTD. Appearances on MOTD2 are not included. Teams level on points will be separated by Gubba difference – the number of times a team is on last with Tony Gubba commentating. Teams still level will then be separated by the number of times they appear second last on MOTD.)