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PHS013 John Harris MP3

PHS013 John Harris MP3

Audio details

Collection Title Champions of England: Oral Histories
Date of Recording 27th January 2020
Name of Interviewer Samantha Middleton
Location of Interview Salisbury
Participant Name John Harris
Participant Date of Birth
Participant Sex Male
Participant Occupation
Participant Background
Type of Recorder Zoom H4n Pro
Track No 1
Track Duration [00:26:57]
Recording Format MP3
Transcript Summary [00:00:00] Born John Ashley Harris, born in 1938 in Devon and went to boarding school in Devon, father was a Doctor in Devon until family moved to Portsmouth in 1947. Lived at 168 London Road, North End. Only home during the holidays and knew nothing about football, being at a school that you were brought up playing cricket and rugby. So when arrived at Portsmouth wasn’t aware of the football in Portsmouth. Remembers across the road from father was a surgeon called Rex Parish, mentions being a bit of a loner and mother thought it would be good for them to become friends with a child of same age. Friend of theirs Dick was a Portsmouth fan and invited me to a match at Fratton Park and after that was completely hooked. Always being grateful to Dick as he is the reason I am a Portsmouth fan. Remembers the amazing spectacle and the entrance to the ground. Remembers the excitement of it as a little boy.
[00:02:42] Remembers going to matches during school holidays, mentions teams, Bolton, Newcastle, Charlton and Wolves, at the time was personality led rather than the matches. Remembers all of the Portsmouth team and the teams more during those times than 10 years ago. Mentions 2 favourite players from opposing teams were George Robledo, Newcastle United and Stan Mortensen, Blackpool, the fastest centre forward I had ever seen, Jackie Milburn and Stanley Matthews was everyone’s favourite but wanted to be different. Maybe Nat Lofthouse but the first 2 were favourite. Remembers 2 favourite players for Portsmouth, Peter Harris and Duggie Reid, closely followed by Ernie Butler and Jimmy Scoular. Remembers Peter Harris tearing down the right wing and was quick, right in to the corner and crossed to Duggie Reid who would really walloped it with his head or his foot and had a terrific shot, a slow and lumbering player and it was said that one of his shots broke the net. Ernie Butler, goalkeeper had a big flat cap.
[00:05:50] Remembers the experience then being huge numbers of people, the Navy. Portsmouth had a huge Naval following and believes that’s why Portsmouth have a huge support away from the city, as people spread out after the war. Everyone in Winter came in uniform in those days, a deep black but in the Spring they would the white tops on to the hats, and in the Milton End, normally a black crowd but would turn white with their hats on. Possibly some Army services there but not so present. During National Service tried to get into the Navy, but they were not taking on so many then, so went in to the Army. Navy were prominent at games.
[00:08:18] Remembers getting to the game by car as family friend Dick Gossip owned one. But Portsmouth was a bicycle town and used to go by bike later on and in those days there was match every week and used to go by bike to the reserve matches. Mentions houses behind Milton End and Carisbrooke Road used to open their houses to let people put your bike there during the game for a few pennies, and would have to take bike through house to back garden. Mentions it was a good source of income for them and to this day no memories of how you knew which bike was yours, as you never got a ticket. All done on trust and paid your sixpence and dumped your bike there and collected at the end. Something you would never do today as frightened it would get pinched. Mentions not many cars during those days and mainly owned by doctors, solicitors and business. Everyone went by bikes. Remembers the dockyard at end of day was like a wall of bikes coming out. Mentions other mean of transport to game was the trolley bus. Mentions tram lines down Fratton Road, trolley buses worked on an overhead cable and had acceleration and open at the back and people would run and get on the bus whilst it was moving and the same when they got off. Occasionally caught people out as you would grab the bar and miss it.
[00:12:43] Remembers the city after the war, the bombsites were always covered in buddleia that seemed to grow there. Away at school and was a loner and spent my holidays riding bike and being too shy to stop and talk to people.
[00:13:53] Remembers Montgomery being there, President at the time and didn’t realise until National Service that Monty always wore a Tank Regiment beret instead of his general’s cap. Mentions Monty being a significant person as a child as everyone talked about him. Mentions the Portsmouth Fire Brigade band played before matches in front of the North Stand and the band leader would throw his staff up when he got to the corner flag. Remembers people getting there earlier in those days unlike today and watched the band. Remembers throwing staff up and it broke and had a plastic covering and dangled. The crowd went mad and special occasions they had the Royal Marine Band.
[00:16:45] Only remembers going to Charlton Athletic when they played at The Valley. In those days the ground had a large capacity and an amazing steep banking and you could look over at the houses over the back. All standing so had bars to hold on to and stop you going too far when the crowd moved. Remembers vaguely White Hart Lane from the outside. Totally different to Fratton Park because it was more of a bowl than 4 stands but remembers the steep bank.
[00:18:32] As a child only remembers the team, only interested in the players and not then Manager Bob Jackson. Mentions John Jenkins and the wonderful memories he must have had.
[00:19:50] Remembers players did mix with the supporters but know players came on the bus with the fans and just paid a normal wage. Ordinary people with a wonderful job on a Saturday afternoon.
[00:20:17] Remembers the pitch being rough and the ball being so heavy game was slower and physical. Jimmy Scoular was a loved player but opposing side didn’t like playing against it. Play was get it down the wing, wallop it in. Not preference on style of play to then and now. Remembers being at the top of league but not the actual game they won.
[00:21:51] Most of classmates played rugby and cricket and wasn’t ribbed about it. Remembers the green Football Mail and came out within an hour of match finishing and on the front had the Pompey Sailor with his thumbs up, when away at school Mother used to send the Football Mail in the post every week.
[00:23:48] Remembers being the top 3 with Blackpool and Wolves.
[00:24:04] Remembers the Combination League reserves matches gates were smaller but still quite large, also had an A team so had a match on Wednesday as well, pitch was cut up and a really state by the end of the season. Just remembers it was a football match and just wanting to go.
[00:25:48] Mentions Milton End in the middle of Winter the sun is out and low and the sun is in the goalie’s eyes and in those days they wore a flat cap but everyone wore them and no understanding why goalies of today don’t wear a cap.
[00:26:57] End of interview
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Copyright Holder Pompey History Society