Back to Champions of England: Oral Histories Oral Histories

PHS020 Brian Royston MP3

PHS020 Brian Royston MP3

Audio details

Collection Title Champions of England: Oral Histories
Date of Recording 17th December 2019
Name of Interviewer David Marks
Location of Interview Portsmouth
Participant Name Brian Royston
Participant Date of Birth 28th January 1932
Participant Sex Male
Participant Occupation
Participant Background
Type of Recorder Zoom H5
Track No 1
Track Duration [01:06:00]
Recording Format MP3
Transcript Summary Track 1 [00:00:00] [17 December 2019]
born 28 Jan 1932, name is Brian Royston (BR), father - regular soldier, mother - housewife.

[00:00:56] Talks about PFC post-war team. Ex-Navy: "the two Jimmys" Scoular (capped Scotland) Dickinson (capped England, most appearances for PFC player). Ex-Royal Marines: Len Phillips (played for England) Jack Froggatt (ex-RAF, capped for England in diverse positions)

[00:01:57] Realised Froggatt was nationally recognised when mentioned on the radio (comedians, "The Western Brothers") cousin Redfern Froggatt (Sheffield Wednesday) also Airspeed factory Peter Harris (quick, winger) played twice for England / Unlucky not to have played more (would have played more times apart from Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews) Skipper Reg Flewin played for England in a wartime game. Five “internationals” - being an international had more significance in those days. First realised PFC "becoming a force" October 1948 [ndlr November 1948] when they beat a powerful side (4:1 Arsenal) penalty.

[00:04:29] Disappointment - failure in cup, great chance to do a post-war league and cup double. Record crowd of 51000 watched them beat Derby County 2-1 powerful side (Derby 1946 cup winners). Semi-final - (1-3 Leicester City), expected PFC to win but something went totally wrong. Rumour that Duggie Reid had had a fight with another player. terrible disappointment. 1949-50 (5-1 Aston Villa)

[00:06:04] When working as Railway Booking Clerk a colleague made a disparaging remark about PFC despite their success.

[00:07:16] BR was aged 16 in August 1948. Started National Service 1950.

[00:07:45] BR born in Christchurch Barracks. Father in Army, posted Southsea 1930 left Army abt. 1935. BR Left school age 17, worked on Railway until 1967.

[00:08:47] Attended a PFC match pre-war, only memory is being near the front of the crowd.

[00:09:39] Clothing - in 1948/49 people dressed more formally than today, trilby, flat cap, didn't dress up specially for football match.

[00:10:42] getting to the Fratton Park ground from home near Lake Road. walk along Fratton Road, Saint Mary's Road, over railway bridge at bottom of Clive Road, down alley on the other side and into the ground

[00:11:10] memories of Portsmouth as a city - "taken a hell of a battering during the war" BR's family "bombed out" twice. Remembers "beginning of German attacks", August 1940, Princes Cinema Bomb, Lake Road. BR's home was adjacent and "knocked out" by the explosion. Mentions Rialto Cinema in Arundel Street.

[00:12:46] Remembers elder sister taking him and his younger sister taken to stay in Highbury Grove, Cosham with Aunt Emmie and Uncle Ben. Ben, builder also "Heavy Rescue Squad" (recovering air raid victims). Daughter (Sheila, early teens, BR's cousin) evacuated 1940 to Winchester (with Northern Grammar School ), when home in Cosham was killed in air raid (Anderson shelter) "awful times"

[00:15:43] (Alexandra Road home destroyed in bombing of Princes Cinema), then lived in Foster Road. Memories of when Foster Road home was destroyed in early 1941 air raid.

[00:16:33] BR and his younger sister then went to live in Catisfield - Auntie Annie (sister of BR’s mother) and Uncle Jack. Compares level of stress experienced by children then with present day.

[00:17:40] BR’s memories of cinema bomb explosion, August 1940 on a Saturday, perhaps was at home and not in an air raid shelter. Unaware of what happened to the people in the Cinema

[00:19:33] Remembers cousin Sheila was killed after BR relocated from Cosham to Foster Road.

[00:20:42] Remembers Foster Road home destroyed so moved to Catisfield d, "totally peaceful" from April 1941 to end of 1944 when moved back to Portsmouth. Sat scholarship exam summer 1943 and started Southern Grammar, in September 1943 (school had been evacuated to Brockenhurst). Returned to Portsmouth at end of 1944. V1 & V2 rockets. Southern Grammar School resumed in Portsmouth in January 1945

[00:23:39] Remembers following progress of war in newspaper - some of BR’s perceptions of war were more accurate than those of Uncle Jack (ex WW1 Grenadier Guard)

[00:25:52] PFC players stayed with club for long time - players on "the maximum wage" could not get a pay rise for players by changing clubs.

[00:26:43] BR not sure how war experiences affected players. People did not necessarily share their war time experiences with each other because they had all been through it.

[00:28:00] memories of the city. bomb holes. fire hoses remain on road after raids. hunting through wreckage. road closures. in 1948 city was being rebuilt.

[00:29:18] success of team good for morale in city. feels people from other parts of the country held in respect

[00:30:04] BR did not attend away matches, but his older brothers went occasionally. (semi-final with Leicester???)

[00:31:31] talks about elder brother, John, b. 1918, d. 2004, was at Dunkirk, Garrison of Iceland, Radar Controlled Artillery.

[00:32:37] other brother "Ron" (Hubert b. 1924), unable to serve in forces. Lorry Driver / Toy Shop in Cosham/ Insurance Broker for Allied Dunbar. BR's father d. 1939 age 46, gassed twice in First World War. Brought up by mother. Older Sister (age 17 at start of war) Air Raid Warden in Portsmouth then directed to aircraft factory at Weybridge.

[00:35:20] Sister not interested in football. supporters mostly male. not everyone was a football fan. BR's brothers not as interested in football as he was. Just something he was interested in does not know why he became a fan. Contemporaries at Grammar School were PFC supporters and would often bump into each other at Fratton Park. Talked a lot about football and at School

[00:36:50] No adverse opinions about way that club was run. Very happy with the results.

[00:37:10] PFC probably had impact on morale of city. rationing. Relief that war was over and bombing stopped. Accepting of difficult living conditions. Buying and selling of food rationing coupons. Hearing that Germans were doing better - Marshall Aid. Opinions about post-war Germany, prosecutions for war crimes. "to some extent germany did get away with it"

[00:41:41] players mixing with community? Fratton Station. Goldsmith Avenue. Saw Jimmy Dickinson, Saw Ike Clarke at NAAFI Club at Eastney, Jack Froggatt come out of cinema as I was going in. 1940s.

[00:43:45] talks about which parts of the ground he went to during matches. North Stand, terracing, via alley from railway bridge at Clive Road
[00:44:39] Memories of songs? remembers very little. "play up pompey". Remembers song from 2002-3 season, "Going up with Harry and Jim" (Jim Smith/Harry Redknapp )
[00:46:05] Memorable personalities? Not like John Westwood these days. doesn't recall anybody of that ilk at that time.
[00:46:50] style of play? everybody played the same way. Different styles came in later years. “old-fashioned football” 2 fullbacks, 3 half-backs, 2 inside forwards, 2 wingers and a centre forward. Experimenting and changes followed ideas from abroad (e.g. Hungary)
[00:48:10] not aware of progress of overseas teams at the time. (Puskas) no TV, followed league in newspapers and radio. Football Mail. National papers. Scores on radio. Anxious to find out the score as soon as possible.
[00:50:10] particular games that stand out? (4-1 Arsenal) / Derby County (cup game with record 51000 crowd). Last game of 1949/50 season (Aston Villa 5-1).
[00:50:52] how were PFC regarded nationally at that time? “a side to be respected and feared”. e.g. Newcastle captain, 1951 [ndlr 1952] "Anyone but Portsmouth at Fratton Park"
[00:51:58] no animosity between fans of opposing teams at Fratton Park (unlike during 1970's)
[00:52:59] difficult to attend away matches in late 1940's / early 1950's fewer people had cars Worked on railways. Goods yard
[00:55:15] late 1950's Freddy Cox (manager, ex-Bournemouth). BR attended Wolverhampton game in late 1950s Where’s Jackie Henderson? Sold him.
[00:56:41] talking about the oral history project. future for PFC? Talks about present ownership. Expects slow improvement to team but not expecting much excitement. Doesn't attend matches any more, watches on TV Talks about his lifestyle, Christmas, health problems. talks about National Service in early 1950's, serving in Germany, 3.5 years in Territorials, grievances about Territorials. Mentions present-day army.
[01:06:00] End of interview
Copyright Clearance Full
Copyright Holder Pompey History Society