When you arrive at Fratton Park it’s like stepping out from the Tardis and finding yourself in the 1950s. There's nowhere quite like it anywhere else in the Premier League.
The main stand seems to be the same now as it was 100 years ago (or so Paddy tells me!). It's a wooden structure with a rabbit warren of dimly lit passages and corridors underneath. You expect the home fans to be wearing flat caps and rosettes and waving rattles. As for going to the toilet in the main stand, it involves using a trough in what appears to be a cattle shed.
Goodness only knows what visiting players make of it all when they get off the team coach and try and find the pokey dressing rooms. It’s about as far removed as possible from the identikit modern stadia dotted around the country. And for that reason, long live Fratton Park. It’s a unique venue that must send the health and safety people bonkers, but at least there's a roof on the away end now – only a few years ago the United fans would have been utterly drenched on Saturday.
Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs hogged the headlines after the 4-1 win, and rightly so. Theirs were two stellar performances and Giggs brought up yet another landmark in a career of landmarks – a 100th Premier League goal. But I must mention two unsung heroes. First, Tomasz Kuszczak. It was his first Premier League appearance of the season and he made at least three brilliant saves to keep out a very spirited Portsmouth side. Antonio Valencia also deserves a special mention. He gave Hreidarsson a torrid time and was a massive threat all afternoon. He’s made that right wing spot his own.
Finally, what did you make of the FA Cup draw? It will be some third round tie at Old Trafford – a team of unknowns that has slipped down the football ladder, who’ve fallen on tough times and could really do with a financial boost.This will be their Cup final. And Kettering might enjoy it, too! Seriously though, United v Leeds would be very tasty. I’ve