El Classicoast: Portsmouth Greatest XI vs Southampton Greatest XI

It's the south-Coast derby today, but who would emerge victorious from these two teams that a coup[le of fans have seen in the flesh?
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It's the south-Coast derby today, but who would emerge victorious from these two teams that a coup[le of fans have seen in the flesh?

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Portsmouth Greatest XI v Southampton Greatest Xl

Portsmouth Greatest Xl by Pompey Rabbi

I went to first Pompey match on Saturday 9th October 1977. Walsall at home with my Dad who wasn’t a football fan in anyway; a distant cousin David who was a big Tottenham fan, and my Uncle Yakov who was married to my mums sister, and was an Israeli army veteran. A late Norman Piper goal helped Pompey get a draw in a game long forgotten by every else who attended. Since that day I’ve attended numerous Pompey matches that have seen the club I support promoted and relegated. I’ve seen us win and lose both FA Cup Finals and Semi-Finals. I’ve seen us beat Manchester United and Liverpool but am still waiting to see Chelsea or Arsenal defeated. I’ve seen everyone from Peter Mellor to Peter Crouch turn out for Pompey, some were great, some good, and some so lame they should have been put down. Anyway these are the Greatest XI I’ve ever seen and not all of them were great footballers.

GK: Alan Knight

There were two reasons for feeling sorry for Andy Gosney. One he had very dodgy eyes for a goalkeeper. Almost boss eyed in fact. Two he was Pompey’s reserve goalkeeper throughout the mid to late eighties and barely got a game because of Alan Knight who spent over 20 years in goal for Pompey. He was the Paolo Maldini of the South Coast. No style, thick as two short planks, and a smoker but a great, great goalkeeper. In fact for a large part of my life he was the only Pompey goalkeeper I saw. 8

CB: Noel Blake

Noel Blake was Birmingham through and through. So much so that when we played them in 1985 at Fratton Park their fans sung for him to rejoin their club. He didn’t and went on to become a Pompey legend. Born in Jamaica Blake was immense physically and didn’t take any prisoners.  Just the sort of player Pompey fans love. I know I did. 8

CB: Sol Campbell

You have to love Sol Campbell. I couldn’t a fuck whether he stitched up Tottenham or walked out on Arsenal. It was what he did at about 5pm on Saturday 17 May 2008 that I remember him for; the first Pompey captain in nearly 70 years to lift the FA Cup; that’ll do for me. 9

CB: Steve Aizlewood

I’m going for three at the back rather than 4-4-2. I’m chosen that formation so I can include Steve Aizlewood. Not for any great performances but for what he did to me at Home Park, Plymouth in 1983 when we got promoted. I plucked up enough courage to run on the pitch during an invasion by Pompey supporters. While everyone else made for the Plymouth fans I ran towards the Pompey captain to shake his hand. Instead of a manly handshake he told me to ‘f*** off’. Something I’ve never forgotten. 9

CM: Robert Prosinecki

I’d heard of Robert Prosinecki prior to his one season at Fratton Park. I’d seen him win the European Cup with Red Star Belgrade and play for both Real Madrid and Barcelona. I’d never really appreciated what a truly great footballer he was until a wet and windy Friday night in Rotherham in 2001 when he put half their team on their arse with a series of sidesteps and turns. Brilliant stuff when you consider he smoked 40 a day. He remains a Pompey hero to this day. 9

LM: Mick Tait

Many Geordies come to Portsmouth. Most join the Navy. They remain professional Geordies throughout their stay. They then leave the navy and head back up North. They aren’t the most popular people in Portsmouth. Mick Tait was a Geordie. In 240 games for Pompey over seven years he never gave anything less than 100% and helped Pompey go from third to first Division. Legend doesn’t cover it. 8

CM: Mick Kennedy

The day in January 1988 when Pompey sold Mick Kennedy for £250,000 to Bradford was the day they effectively accepted relegation from the old First Division. We thought with him bossing the Pompey midfield our club had a chance of staying up. He wasn’t pretty but he could tackle, pass, and motivate. A bruiser he was someone who many Pompey fans could connect with. His departure left fans not only feeling cheated but also watching 2nd Division football the following season. 8

RM: Richard Hughes

He’d been released by Arsenal, head butted by Cristiano Ronaldo, and only scored one goal in a decade at Pompey. Richard Hughes hardly sounds like the greatest player ever does he? Despite never holding down a regular first team place he never moaned about it or demanded a transfer. Richard Hughes just got on with it and despite limited ability, tried his hardest throughout Pompey’s time in the Premier League. For that reason and that reason alone he is in this team. 7

LM: Darren Anderton

It wasn’t the greatest start to life but Darren Anderton couldn’t help it. Being born and bred in S********** doesn’t generally endear you to Pompey fans but as Anderton found out putting Portsmouth within ten minutes of an FA Cup Final in 1992 does wonders for your popularity. His goal against Liverpool at Highbury led to pandemonium amongst celebrating Pompey fans, me included. As it was, we never made it to Wembley and Anderton left for Spurs soon afterwards. He was good though and we got Paul Walsh as part of the deal. 9

CF: Paul Walsh

Where do you start with Paul Walsh? He cost £400 000 in 1992. That remains one the best bargains Pompey have ever got. An incredible player who had it all, the regulars at Fratton Park loved him. We like to think he loved us. We rated him so highly that we voted him as our Player of the Year in 1992/93 despite his strike partner Guy Whittingham scoring 42 League goals. Walsh’s departure in 1994 was met with widespread dismay by Pompey fans. 10

CF: Alan Biley

My final selection is Alan Biley. Ok he had Rod Stewart’s haircut (not fashionable in 1983), and came to Pompey with a reputation nearly as dodgy as his barnet. Biley won Fratton Park over by just scoring goals, and looking like he was enjoying himself while he did it.  His two goals in the last minute performance against Oxford in a top of the table clash in 1984 means he’ll never have to buy a drink in Portsmouth for the rest of his life. 9

Manager: Alain Perrin and Avram Grant

If there is any reason for Pompey fans to like Harry Redknapp (and there aren’t many are there Judas?) then it would have to be overseeing S**********’* relegation from the PL in 2005 after losing 4-1 at Fratton Park. He’s also produced M&S media tart Jamie (another ex S******). For those reasons I’ll go for Alain Perrin and Avram Grant. Both well loved by me for one for both overseeing 4-1 victories over S***. 10/10

Portsmouth total 104

Southampton’s Greatest XI:

GK: Peter Shilton

How can you put anyone ahead of the man who won 49 of his record-breaking 125 England caps at Southampton? The legendary shot-stopper’s international career spanned over 20 years and he helped Saints to a club record second place in the old First Division in 1984. 10

RB: Peter Rodrigues

Former Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff full back Peter Rodrigues was best known for an incredible end to his playing career with Southampton – captaining the club to their only major trophy and lifting the FA Cup after a shock win over Manchester United at Wembley. 8

CB: Claus Lundekvam

Composed on the ball, solid at the back and a loyal servant to Southampton with 350 appearances, Claus was influential in many relegation escapes in the Premier League and maintained his place in the side that reached the 2003 FA Cup Final and qualified for the UEFA Cup as a result. He even makes the side despite taking around 300 appearances to score his first goal for the club. 7

CB: Jim Steele

The surname fits his nature on the pitch, as the Scotsman’s steely determination helped Saints survive an onslaught against the much-fancied Manchester United in the 1976 FA Cup Final. He made 177 appearances for Saints and featured in Dundee’s remarkable UEFA Cup run in 1971/72. 7

LB: Wayne Bridge

A hugely talented attacking full back who made his name on the South Coast, earning England recognition and battling with Ashley Cole to be England’s first choice left back. Bridgey was a key figure in the club’s success in the early noughties under Glenn Hoddle and Gordan Strachan, helping the club to a Premier League best position of 8th in 2003. Chelsea made a big money move for him that summer. He was hard done by to not get much first team football from then on after a great start at Stamford Bridge. 7

“Le God” is one of the most naturally gifted players to grace the Premier League – so much so that Barcelona captain Xavi idolised him as a youngster.

RM: Terry Paine

Terry Paine is the club’s record appearance holder, with an incredible career spanning over 18 years, where he notched 160 goals from right wing and allowed prolific strikers Ron Davies, Derek Reeves and Mick Channon to shine. Paine’s pace, flair and fantastic natural fitness shone through as he helped Saints from the Third Division to the fringes of top flight football and featured in England’s 1966 World Cup squad. 9

CM: Matt Le Tissier

“Le God” is one of the most naturally gifted players to grace the Premier League – so much so that Barcelona captain Xavi idolised him as a youngster. His ability to almost single handedly win games and help Southampton avoid relegation was great, but his ability to score wondergoals on a regular basis was incredible. A one-club man, he scored 101 Premier League goals and fittingly scored a brilliant left-footed volley in the last game at Southampton’s 103-year-old stadium, the Dell, in 2001. 10

CM: Kevin Keegan

Kevin Keegan was voted the European Footballer of the Year in 1978 and 1979, so it was a shock to world football when First Division minnows Southampton called a press conference to announce his signing. He won 66 caps for England and scored 37 goals in 68 games for Saints. World class. 10

LM: Alan Ball

World Cup winner Alan Ball spent two successful spells on the South Coast, making nearly 200 appearances and helping the club to the 1979 League Cup Final. Ball also had great success at the likes of BlackpoolEverton and Arsenal throughout his career, and he earned 72 caps for England. 9

ST: Mick Channon

Channon is Southampton’s all-time leading goalscorer and was arguably the most high profile player in Southampton’s FA Cup winning side and promotion to the to flight twice in the same decade. He banged in 227 goals for Saints and scored 21 goals in 46 England internationals. 10

ST: Ted Bates

“Mr Southampton”, Ted Bates was a manager, director and player at Southampton and deservedly earned legendary status during his long association with the club, and a statue in honour of the man stands proud outside the club’s current stadium, St. Mary’s. He scored 63 goals and was a hugely influential player between 1937 and 1953, and pips the likes of Alan Shearer, Steve Moran and Derek Reeves because of his iconic association with Southampton. 9

Manager: Lawrie MacMenemy

He inspired Southampton to promotion to the top flight of English Football, the only major trophy in the club’s history so far and guided the club to a record-breaking second place behind a powerful Liverpool side in 1984, so he has to be the man who manages this team of Southampton all-stars. Ted Bates is a player/assistant manager for this one.10

Southampton Total: 104

Portsmouth total 104 - Southampton total 104

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