Pompey to roll back the years when faced with League One opposition

Deon Burton challenges for a header during Pompey's last visit to Oldham's Boundary Park, in November 1996
Deon Burton challenges for a header during Pompey's last visit to Oldham's Boundary Park, in November 1996

It has been almost 33 years since Pompey most recently ventured to Hartlepool’s Victoria Park.

The last time they travelled to Leyton Orient for a league match, Keith Harris and Orville were in the top five of the charts.

And Harry Redknapp was at the Bournemouth helm when the Blues last faced their south-coast rivals in a competitive match.

Yet there will be plenty of old acquaintances renewed next season when the League One tour gets under way.

Crewe’s play-off final victory on Sunday completes the line-up for the division that Michael Appleton will be seeking to bounce out of at the first time of asking.

For many Pompey fans, the majority of the opposition represent entirely new destinations on the footballing map.

Others may send a nod of recognition in the direction of grounds not entered since the old division three and division four years back in the late 1970s and early 80s.

In addition, Pompey have never before played league matches at Crawley, Yeovil and Stevenage.

The years are going to be rolled back as the Blues taste their third division in the past four seasons and, for many, that provides the attraction in the campaign ahead.

One of the longest journeys will be Hartlepool – and one Pompey have previously made only twice before in the club’s history.

The last time they made the trek was in August 18, 1979, the opening match of the division four season under Frank Burrows.

John McLaughlin netted on his debut, having signed from Swindon in the summer, while Steve Bryant and Colin Garwood also scored in the 3-0 success in front of a Victoria Ground crowd of 3,075.

Pompey played at Leyton Orient in a League Cup game in September 1996, yet their most recent league encounter was more than 29 years ago.

Back in January 1983, Bobby Campbell’s men went to Brisbane Road and suffered a 2-1 defeat, despite Billy Rafferty opening the scoring as early as the fifth minute.

The encounter marked Colin Sullivan’s 500th career league match, yet the Blues went on to claim the title that season, with the veteran left-back one of three ever-presents in the side.

Carlisle is another destination visited in League Cup football in recent times, notably September 2009 in a 3-1 victory.

However, it was December 1985 when the two teams last met in the league.

Mick Channon would grab the only goal of the game to keep Alan Ball’s men in second spot, but ultimately they would finish the campaign out of the promotion spots in fourth.

Both Colchester and Shrewsbury nowadays play in new grounds, nonetheless, Pompey haven’t played league football in those towns for many, many years.

In October 1980, Burrows’ team lost 1-0 at Colchester in the old division three, one of just three visits there in the club’s history.

As for Shrewsbury, when the Blues travelled to Gay Meadow in August 1988 for the opening game of the season, Ball’s men won 2-1 through goals from Terry Connor and Mark Kelly.

The fixture would also see new signings Warren Neill and Graeme Hogg make their debuts.

Surprisingly, Pompey have not played a competitive match at Bournemouth since October 1989, despite many pre-season friendlies during that barren spell.

It was 22 years and seven months ago when Mark Chamberlain and Mick Quinn completed a 2-1 Dean Court victory, Shaun Close pulling one back for a Redknapp team which would contain the likes of Kevin Bond and Sean O’Driscoll.

Meanwhile, there was a 4-1 defeat at Brentford in September 1992 and a 1-0 triumph at Notts County in December 1994 on the most recent occasion Pompey ventured to their grounds.

The Blues picked up a point on their last visit to Oldham, battling to a 0-0 draw at Boundary Park in November 1996.

Finally, they last faced Walsall, Crewe and MK Dons (as Wimbledon) in the league back in the 2002-03 season – a campaign which, of course, would yield promotion to the Premier League at the end of it.