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PHS008 John Stokes MP3

PHS008 John Stokes MP3

Audio details

Collection Title Champions of England: Oral Histories
Date of Recording 6th November 2019
Name of Interviewer Samantha Middleton
Location of Interview Portsmouth
Participant Name John Stokes
Participant Date of Birth 1st January 0001
Participant Sex Male
Participant Occupation
Participant Background
Type of Recorder Zoom H4n Pro
Track No 1
Track Duration [00:33:54]
Recording Format MP3
Transcript Summary [00:00:00] John Stokes, born 1937, was 12-years-old during the Championship title season, born in 1937 and first match was when they were presented with the League Title cup at Fratton Park against Huddersfield Town FC, which Portsmouth won 3-0 [ndlr 2-0]. Attended match with his father. Remembers seeing the trophy across from the halfway line and people were stood with binoculars watching the Club President Viscount Montgomery who was there that day. Some supporters used to say that he was a jinx when he was present sometimes. Mentions was as old as 12 years old when first went to Fratton Park. Mentions a friend who played for Havant Rovers and I used to often go to Havant Park and we would watch them. Dad worked in the Dockyard and had 2 sisters, money was tight after the war and it was a bit of a treat to go there. Following season went more, was taken by Mothers brother who lived in Southsea, who would go to all the home matches with daughter. Stood behind the Milton End, standing there with everyone, was tiny so was lifted up and passed down to the front barrier. People were really good with the children.
[00:03:10] Born in Farlington by the Sunshine Inn and lived there till 1962 until married. Mother didn’t work in those days and brought up 3 children and Father worked in the Dockyard.
[00:04:09] Remembers first match and sticks in mind and were was stood, right on the halfway line in the North Stand. Didn’t have foul language or chanting like today, vividly remembers the smell of tobacco and alcohol. Christmas time you could smell the cigars from Christmas treats. No burger vans or hot dog stalls like today. Travelled to match by bus, with Father. Walked from Kingston Prison after getting off bus, starting from Havant, the C Bus. Lots of fans walking, wasn’t cars on the road and people also went by bike. People behind the Milton End would charge a penny to park your bike in their garden by Specks Lane. So bus, bike or walk. Cars were for the richer people.
[00:07:28] Remembers people were proud of Montgomery, and because of his war record it was good to have him as President of Club. Remembers no haircuts like today just partings greased down with Brylcreem. Portsmouth was still full of bomb sites, was slow catching up with the rebuilding the city after the war. Really had taken a pounding from the bombing and was really full of prefabs. Flatten the houses and put prefabs there, which were good homes for people at the time and were fitted with refrigerators which was new as normally you had to keep milk in a cold bucket of water in the Summer or a concrete larder. Things we take for granted today. 3 and a half years still seemed to have not completed unlike Southampton or Plymouth. Mentions read about how leagues didn’t function during the war and a lot of Navy and Army would sometimes play as guest players, played in a Regional League and not travel too far.
[00:11:51] Remembers the Semi-Final lost against Leicester City even though we were favourites, which was a blow. Went to away games a few seasons later, against West Brom, Wolves, Arsenal and Tottenham, on the train, never any trouble, a wonderful day out. Highbury was a different type of ground to us, remembers being in the crowd at Wolves and West Brom, and the surge forward lifting you off your feet. Something never experienced and miles away from the all-seater stadiums of today. Club was wonderful for morale during the time and really all you had to look forward too, Bob Jackson and the team, all local lads and all lived in Portsmouth. Remembers going down to club during the holidays and collected autographs, some in Essex Road, some in Milton but never sure anyone turn up in a car, always walked up. Remembers Jack Froggatt later opening a Sports Shop in Fratton Road and the Club had ties with the kipper style with the Pompey Sailor on, which was at a memorabilia event at Fratton Park few years back that a supporter still had. Reg Flewin had a greengrocer locally but they were all local boys. Len Phillips was a Portsmouth boy and had been in the Navy. Were always smashing to the kids as they came out the Frogmore Road gates after training. Training mainly looked like laps around the pitch and not so much ball work like they do today.
[00:18:38] Remembers Len Phillips, the inside forward, Jimmy Scoular the hard man, centre half, Peter Harris, right wing, and a lot of goals came from that position, either scoring the goals or being passed to players like Ike Clarke. Remembers favourite player was liked the goalies, and stood behind the Milton End, to watch Ernie Butler. Liked Len Phillips, was a great player, liked the skill and the hard play of Jimmy Scoular, would probably not be on the pitch for 10 minutes in today’s game.
[00:20:54] Remembers being all standing in the terraces and the club had placards with numbers on so to keep the gangway clears and a man with a tray would come around selling cough sweets. Shouting and people would throw money down to him and a packet of sweets would be thrown back up and find its way back to the person who threw the money.
[00:21:58] No memories of a pitch invasion but the crowd went loopy on the day they won. Remembers the tour of the city and watched from the Guildhall as the bus came through there. Taken by Father.
[00:23:35] Press always seems to favour London clubs, Arsenal, etc. Remembers when Pompey clinched the Championship and played Arsenal and beat them 4-1 and you could hear the noise on a good day from Farlington. Not heard today perhaps due to the crowd size only 18,000 now and not the 40,000 supporters during those days.
[00:24:39] Arsenal was a team everyone wanted to beat, no Portsmouth and Southampton rivalry as Southampton were in a different league.
[00:25:55] Mentions as got older started to play men’s football so wasn’t able to get to Fratton Park as often as wanted, maybe when local football was called off. Remembers one cup game against Swindon Town, winning 3-1, Paul Went blasted a shoot at the Fratton End, a large stocky player, bringing the game back to 3-2. Leaving just at the end, whistle was going to go any minute and Bobby Kellard equalising and we missed it. Forced a replay and learned a lesson not to leave early. Although now park in South Stand and have to leave early now or get stuck in the car park. Remembers stuck in once and took 2 hours to get home. So time it right now. Mentions Jack Froggatt and Duggie Reid also being favourite players and they both went back to centre-half at one point of their career. Len Phillips had a poor knee injury in those days there was no remedy or cure like surgery Jack Whatmough has had.
[00:29:18] Mentions games today are entirely different, had to go in separate turnstiles in Specks Lane, Uncle would say to stay right there and I’ll come find you as there were a lot more people than the 18,000 today, even though it is much easier now. Mentions not so many women used to then unlike today. Queues seemed miles long but everyone got in. Was a bit scared but would always get home.
[00:31:55] Remembers result of match at Newcastle winning 5-1 [ndlr 5-0], going to school next day and it’s all you talked about, collected cards of footballers that were in cigarette packet. Mentions the charging of the goalkeeper being put through the back by Trevor Ford, Cardiff City and same happened to the goalkeeper at Spurs by a Portsmouth player.
[00:33:54] End of interview
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Copyright Holder Pompey History Society