Book Review: Pompey Chimes, Pompey Times – A Collection of Portsmouth FC Memories & Memorabilia Sean ‘Northstandcritic’ Simpson, Derek Hammond & Gary Silke
Conker Editions is an independent publishing company, established in 2017 with the aim of producing high-quality, beautifully designed books. Conker specialises in books on football, memories and memorabilia and here at FBR we have been lucky enough to review many of them including, Can We Not Knock It?, 101 Manchester City Matchworn Shirts, Flat Caps & Tangerine Scarves, Glove Story, Glove Story 2, Football’s Black Pioneers, The A-Z of Weird & Wonderful Football Shirts and The Got, Not Got Football Gift Book.
This latest offering is a homage to Portsmouth FC, a Club who in winning the First Division title in 1948/49 and 1949/50 were crowned champions of England, but by 1978/79 had fallen all the way down to the Fourth Division. Pompey’s history is as choppy as The Solent that laps around its famous harbour, so for every triumph, most recently, the FA Cup win in 2007/08 as a Premier League club, there has been financial ruin and relegation down to League Two just five years later.
Where Conker’s previous books (and this addition also) win, are that the stories have an authentic feel, which for this Portsmouth book comes from having a dedicated and life-ling fan, Sean ‘Northstandcritic’ Simpson, as the readers guide to all things Pompey. As with some other titles from the Conker’s stable, there are within the pages, images of a great collection of memorabilia, whether that be kits, programmes, pennants, flags, rosettes, or football cards.
However, it also provides so much more, as Simpson captures the unique identity of those from the ‘island’ of Portsmouth, with its naval and dockyard links and history, the famous Play Up Pompey chime and larger than life fan, John Anthony Portsmouth Football Club Westwood. It is also a tribute to many that have been at the heart of the club through the ups and downs and featured with the section ‘Pompey People’ and most of all to Simpson’s father who passed away nine months before Portsmouth’s FA Cup victory in 2007.
Nothing within the Club’s History is shied away from as tales of the rise and fall on and off the pitch are covered, with the League title and FA Cup triumphs, and the season in Europe, sitting alongside Pompey’s poor Play-off record and financial crisis’s in the mid-1970s and early 2010s. But Simpson also captures what it has been like as a fan following the Fratton Park side, giving readers his personal choices, in the sections titled, ‘Top ten players’, ‘Match of the decades’ and ‘Away day tales’, which contains an absolutely genius story of a trip to Liverpool, and which is worth the price of this book alone.
Yes this is a book aimed at Pompey fans, but followers of other teams will understand the experiences Simpson provides as a fan, and of the trials and tribulations that clubs endure through their history whether Premier League or Northern Premier League.
(Publisher: Conker Editions Ltd. May 2022. Paperback: 176 pages)
Buy the book here: Pompey Chimes