A few months back I asked if anyone knew of Ken Malley, or any of his travelling companions - sadly I was not able to be helped, but on one of the most fantastic days out watching Pompey that I can ever recall I was able to get hold of his contact details, now let the story unfold…
It all started in what proved to be an incredible match to see for your first match of the season, the 7-4 win over Reading - you do not get many of these to the pound do you.
To be honest the build up to the game was not that great, people kept dropping out which meant the original plan of going by the train had to be dropped and Graham decided that he would drive. The Friday night came and the two of us, along with Geoff - his mate, Daryl - my brother and Sue - his girlfriend and my sister-in-law to be were all definitely going that much we knew, with maybe at least one other joining us?
All was well until Saturday morning came round, Sue was struck down with illness over night, so at that point we were down to just the four of us - that I knew of - but we plodded on. As it turned out the other one who might have joined us didn’t decide to join us, they were out for whatever reason too, but the four of us were going, there was no turning back - this was meant to be were the thoughts, and how it was.
After a good journey, sharing stories with each other, despite a hold up which seemed to last forever we eventually managed to get to Fratton at around 2pm, so this was time enough for Daryl and I to have a traditional pre-match Monster Mick - you’ve just got to love those burgers! - and also catch up with our cousin and his friend, a long-term family friend, and both season ticket holders - they actually still sit in the same seats, which we all got as our season tickets some ten years ago. At around 2.30pm we decided we would head into the Fortress to sample the pre-match atmosphere, see if you don’t get to many games these days you make he most of it don’t you!
As for the match, what can you say? Fantastic does not do it justice it was simply incredible! It has been good watching it on DVD again several times since, but it just isn’t the same as being there, this is something that made the day all the more special, and something I will never ever forget.
The journey home was fantastic, again stories were swapped, disbelief at what we had just witnessed was the main talk on the agenda, then, not far from the time I was due to be dropped off - having already dropped off Daryl in Exeter - the subject turned to how I used to get to games, so I explained and Graham said he knew Ken, and that he had his mobile number, along with the numbers of another fella I used to go with - which didn’t actually exist anymore as it happens, but it just shows it is a small world doesn’t it, and is further proof that that day was indeed meant to be.
I have since sent Ken a text message, and got his email address and have been in contact with him.
So after about seven years of being out of touch with him all thanks to the best football club in the world Portsmouth, and the consequences that have occurred in my life due to it over the past year or so - starting with my work on Vital Pompey as a match reporter through to my current position as site editor, getting to know some of the sites members, and even meeting up with some, including Graham briefly at the Yeovil pre-season match and arranging back then to go with him to the Reading match - and I will without doubt go with him again, Everton is our next planned match - so many new doors have again been opened to me.
What a game that was, and thanks to ‘that game’ I have now been put in touch with a lost friend of seven years! Things happen for a reason, this is something I strongly believe in, even more so after this…
PLAY UP POMPEY!