Back to April 1949

April 18-24: Champions Of England!

Monday 18:  Pompey have been forced by injury into making a change to their side for the match at Birmingham City this afternoon. Cliff Parker replaces Jack Froggatt at outside-left.

The full Pompey side to face Birmingham City at St Andrews is: Butler, Hindmarsh, Ferrier, Scoular, Flewin, Dickinson, Harris, Reid, Clarke, Phillips, Parker. 

Pompey's slumped to an unexpected 3-0 defeat against Birmingham City at St Andrews this afternoon. Fortunately the results elsewhere mean that their challengers for the First Division title failed to make any ground. 

Pompey's big following saw Peter Harris and Duggie Reid both spoon chances over the bar before Birmingham's Jackie Stewart headed the home side in front against the run of play in the 32nd minute.

There was a lengthy stoppage while Reg Flewin received treatment after being knocked out cold. Pompey suffered a further blow on the stroke of half-time when Jimmy Dickinson suffered a nasty cut to the head. 

Pompey began the second-half with only ten men, but after several minutes Dickinson returned to the action with his head swathed in bandages. He took up a more forward position with Len Phillips dropping to left-half. 

Birmingham doubled their advantage through Jack Badham in the 68th minute.

Pompey were struggling to re-group, and their misery was complete ten minutes from time when Bill Hindmarsh attempted to pass back to Ernie Butler but somehow struck it wide of his keeper and in to his own net.

With their main rivals for the title all running out of matches Pompey will now head to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday knowing that a win there will almost certainly ensure that the Championship trophy will end up at Fratton Park. Match Summary: Birmingham City 3, Portsmouth 0

Bert Barlow's early goal wasn't enough for the reserves to avoid defeat at Fratton Park. Match Summary: Portsmouth Reserves 1, Crystal Palace 2

April 22  Fit-again Jack Froggatt will return to the Pompey line up for their crucial First Division fixture against Bolton Wanderers at Burnden Park tomorrow. He will replace Cliff Parker at outside-left. 

A win for Pompey at Bolton tomorrow will finally secure the Division One title - if results elsewhere go their way. Of the two clubs who could yet overhaul them, Newcastle are away at Liverpool; Manchester United entertain Preston. 

The full Pompey side to face Bolton tomorrow will be: Butler, Hindmarsh, Ferrier, Scoular, Flewin, Dickinson, Harris, Reid, Clarke, Phillps, Froggatt. 

Pompey's record against Bolton at Burnden Park is dismal in the extreme. On their 12 previous league visits the Blues have gained just one point, from the 1-1 draw in April 1938.

With the possibility of Portsmouth becoming Champions of England for the first time in their history, in this their golden jubilee season, we will be bringing you minute-by-minute updates from Burnden Park tomorrow afternoon. Kick off is at 3pm. 

Pompey Reserves are without a match tomorrow. The Pompey "A" team go to Bournemouth for a Hampshire League fixture. The team will be: Aslett, Gunter, Butler, Neave, Duggins, Evans, Wood, Delapenha, Martin, Henderson, Anderson.

A crowd of 95,000, a record for amateur football, is expected at the FA Amateur Cup final, Bromley v Romford, at Wembley tomorrow afternoon.

This is how the top of the First Division looks this morning: 

                         P    Pts

Pompey            38   54

Newcastle         39   50

Man Utd            36   44 

23/4  This afternoon's key fixtures at the top of the First Division:

Bolton Wanderers v POMPEY

Liverpool v Newcastle Utd

Manchester United v Preston 

In short, Pompey will become League Champions this afternoon if they win at Bolton AND both Newcastle and Manchester Utd fail to win their matches.

Pompey supporters have been arriving in Bolton since the early hours and are thronging around the town hall, which, by the way, is remarkably similar to Portsmouth's own civic headquarters.

While Pompey go in search of a history-making victory at Bolton this afternoon, Portsmouth Schools will face Southampton Schools in the replay of the Pickford Shield final at Fratton Park (3pm).

We'll be here all afternoon to bring you up-to-the-minute news of Pompey's crucial match against Bolton Wanderers at Burnden Park. Pompey could take the First Division title today, but the likelihood is that the issue will require longer to resolve 

Pompey supporters are at Burnden Park in large numbers. Many travelled overnight by train and by coach. A huge Pompey Supporters' Club banner has been unfurled at the railway embankment end. 

A reminder of today's Pompey team: Ernie Butler, Bill Hindmarsh, Harry Ferrier, Jimmy Scoular, Reg Flewin (capt), Jimmy Dickinson, Peter Harris, Duggie Reid, Ike Clarke, Len Phillips, Jack Froggatt. 

Pompey are first to emerge from the tunnel. They are greeted by a huge roar and a rousing rendition of The Pompey Chimes from their supporters.

Bolton have taken the field to a more muted response from the locals. 

The Pompey team are now assembling for a pre-match photo.

Pompey get the game underway on a firm pitch and in warm sunshine.

Pompey are immediately on the offensive, but two crosses from Froggatt on the left come to nothing. (2 mins)

A Bolton counter-attack is ended by Ferrier, who then calmly passes back to Butler. 

POMPEY ARE AHEAD AFTER JUST FOUR MINUTES! A fine through ball from Clarke was carried forward by Reid. His pass found HARRIS who beat the keeper easily from 12 yards.

Bolton 0 - 1 Pompey (4 mins) 

Harris almost doubles Pompey's lead. 'Keeper Elvey dropped Scoular's cross under pressure from Reid, but the ball was scooped off the line as Harris rushed in. 

Bolton win the first corner of the match, but it is met with a thumping header from Flewin to clear the danger.

Bolton threaten again, but McShane's cross drops harmlessly on to the roof of the Pompey net. (22 mins) 

Bolton are fighting back determinedly, but Pompey's defence is holding firm.

A cross from Harris on the right looks promising as three Pompey forwards wait to meet it, but it's a white shirted defender who gets there first. (24 mins)

POMPEY HAVE DOUBLED THEIR LEAD! An inch-perfect cross from Harris is met by Clarke, who plants a firm header past Elvey. 

Bolton 0 - 2 Pompey (25 mins) 

The Bolton defence is now at full stretch as Pompey take a stranglehold on the match. 

There have been two goals in two minutes at Maine Road but it's all square at 1-1 between Manchester Utd and Preston. (32 mins)

It remains goal-less at Anfield between Liverpool and Newcastle. (33 mins) 

Bolton now seem to have drawn Pompey's sting and are putting together moves of their own, but Lofthouse, normally their main threat, is getting no change out of Reg Flewin. (40 mins)

Play has become scrappy at Bolton and there has been a delay while Jimmy Dickinson, still sporting bandages for the head injury sustained at Birmingham, receives treatment. His wound appears to have re-opened.  (43 mins)

It's half time at Burnden Park.  Bolton 0 - 2 Pompey. The Blues will be very satisfied with that. 

Other relevant half-time scores:

Liverpool 0 - 0 Newcastle

Manchester Utd 1 - 1 Preston

The teams are back out at Burnden Park, but Pompey are a man light. Jimmy Dickinson has not yet appeared and it will be a 10-man Pompey side with the sun at their backs.

It's been a bright start to the second half by Bolton. Pompey 'keeper Ernie Butler has had more action in the last five minutes than in the entire first half. (50 mins)

Jimmy Dickinson has re-appeared, freshly-bandaged and ready to join the fray. (51 mins) 

Bolton are now fighting like tigers to get back into this match. Little is being seen of the Pompey attack. Some of the Pompey tackling, particularly from Scoular, is becoming rather toothsome. (60 mins)

Scoular has just received a stern lecture from referee Mr Hoxley (Kent). (62 mins) 

Bolton come again, forcing a series of corners. Butler has just had to grab one of them from right under the crossbar. (65 mins) 

The Bolton pressure is incessant, and it is all hands to the pumps for Pompey, with Reid and Philllips being drawn deeper to help out the beleaguered defence. (69 mins) 

It's still 0-0 between Liverpool and Newcastle, and 1-1 between Manchester Utd and Preston.

At last Pompey get something moving forward again, but Scoular's cross is dealt with and the danger cleared. (74 mins)

Jimmy Dickinson is in the wars again. His head bandage is once more sodden with blood, but he is not inclined to come off. (79 mins). 

Bolton are still pressing hard but this is a magnificent rearguard action by Reg Flewin and his men. (81 mins)

Maine Road latest: Two more goals but it is still all-square. Manchester Utd 2-2 Preston 

Still goal-less at Anfield. Liverpool 0 - 0 Newcastle.

The Pompey supporters are making a deafening noise at Burnden Park, On the pitch Bolton seem to have blown themselves out. 

It's all over at Maine Road and at Anfield. Both Newcastle and Manchester Utd have failed to win. Come on Pompey!

The whistle goes at Bolton. It's ended 1-2 and POMPEY ARE CHAMPIONS OF ENGLAND! 

The Burnden Park pitch has disappeared beneath a stampede of Pompey supporters who have rushed on to congratulate their team. 

What a remarkable achievement by Pompey. They have set the pace in Division One since the early weeks of the season, hitting top-spot and staying there. They have lowered the colours of all the big clubs and are now CHAMPIONS OF ENGLAND! 

And how fitting it is for Pompey to have become League Champions in their 50th anniversary year. Match Summary: Bolton 1, Portsmouth 2

Pompey will be making a low-key return to Portsmouth tonight. They are currently travelling to London by train. They will enjoy a quiet meal in the capital before being collected by coach. They are expected to arrive home in the early hours.

Football League officials have confirmed that the Championship trophy will be presented to Pompey after the match against Huddersfield Town at Fratton Park next Saturday.

In case you missed the news, Pompey are the new Champions of the Football League. Their win at Bolton this afternoon, and results elsewhere, mean that they cannot be caught by any of the sides beneath them. This is how the table looks tonight.

Second Division leaders Saints, who for so long this season have looked certain to join Pompey in the First Division, will be looking anxiously over their shoulders tonight after surrendering a point to West Bromwich Albion at the Dell.

A sensational second-half performance by Portsmouth Schoolboys saw them overturn a half-time deficit to beat Southampton Schoolboys 7-1 in the replay of the Pickford Shield final at Fratton Park this afternoon. 

Dear Arsenal

The following item is overdue for return. Please send it to the Football League immediately, as it will be required at Fratton Park next Saturday…

April 24  Pompey's president, Field-Marshal Montgomery, has cancelled plans to travel to Europe on Saturday. Instead, he will be at Fratton Park for the match against Huddersfield Town, when Pompey will be presented with the League Championship trophy  

Pompey's players were back in the Burnden Park dressing room drinking lemonade yesterday before it could be confimed that they were the new Football League champions!

Pompey's dressing room celebrations had to take place in the absence of a key member of the side. Jimmy Dickinson was along the corridor in the Burnden Park treatment room having fresh stitches inserted in his head wound. 

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