During the summer of 2004 author John Payne spent many months contacting publishing companies in the hope of getting his first title ‘The Pompey Boys’ to print. He was told that the book was too insular and would be classified as local interest, thus it was something they would not be willing to take on.
Undeterred, he believed that the book would be well received so decided to form his own publishing company and in October 2004 PB Publishing was established. By sourcing printers, publishing and marketing the book himself he proved that first time authors can get their work into the mainstream without going through the major publishing companies.
The Pompey Boys sold in high street bookshops and was exported to many European countries proving to be a great success. Through the medium of ordering online it made its way to all parts of the globe proving that a local interest book can still find a wider audience.
His second title ‘The Park’ (co- written with friend Roy Charles) was published in November 2005 and received rave reviews.
The new book ‘6.57’ will be launched on 1st November 2006.
1 -Let’s start with football. Tell us about your life with Pompey?
Next season will be my 40th year supporting Pompey. My first game was in 1967 and I have been following the team ever since. I lived away from the city for ten years so couldn’t see as many games as I would have liked but once a Pompey fan always a Pompey fan.
2 -Do you still go regolarly to Fratton Park and away?
I have had a season ticket for the past 15 years so I get to see nearly all the home games. I have missed a few games due to holidays but not that many. My 8-year-old son Charlie is also a season ticket holder and comes with me. I don’t go to a lot of away games now because I have a young family and it isn’t fair on them but I probably go to 6 or 7. We had a ‘Lads’ away day to West Ham at the end of last season and had a good night on the piss in London. I also took my son to Old Trafford to see the Man, United – Pompey game. I have friends that work at the club and after the game Charlie got to meet Rooney, Giggs, Ferdinand etc, which he loved.
3 -We have your wonderful book” Pompey Boys” How does it start?
In 2003 a book called “Rolling with the 6.57 crew” was released. The author was a friend of mine called Rob Silvester (He co – wrote it with The ICF’s Cass Pennant.) There were only 30 black and white photos in the book and I thought there should have been more. I noticed that the first thing people do when they look through a book is check out the photos. Most people do this before they read any of the text so I thought about putting a Pompey book together that is purely pictorial.
I started to collect photographs from friends and acquaintances and managed to get over 1200 in total. I then published ‘The Pompey Boys’, which is an insight into the fans that followed the team over a 25-year period. The book contains over 600 colour photos and I’m pleased to say it has been well received.
4 -After “ Pompey Boys” you have pubblished “The Park” about Fratton Park,
your ground, e now another pictorial book about famous 6.57 Crew. .Let’s
speak about these two books.
I published ‘The Park’ because the club told us they were re-building the ground and would be turning it into a brand new 35000-seater stadium. I hoped to produce a book, Pompey fans would look at in the future and be something that would bring back many memories. I wanted the book to be a record of how the ground looked before it was changed forever. I had a DVD made to accompany the book and interviewed many old Pompey players and supporters. They all talk about their favourite memories of Fratton Park going back to the 1920’s; it was great to talk to them and get their stories recorded for prosperity. Un-fortunately the club has yet to start any work on the ground and deadlines are being made and missed. The whole ground issue has turned into a bit of a joke to be honest.
The ‘6.57’ book will be available at the end of October and in my opinion it is my best book yet. I was fed up with these ‘hoolie’ books telling stories that have been exaggerated so decided to do a book that is based on actual newspaper reports backed up with photographs. It is the true account of what happened during the 6.57 hooligan era and nobody can claim it is fictitious.
5- Any new project for the future?
I have some of my own ideas in the pipeline and have also been asked by fellow authors to join with them in projects but I might have a short break from the book world. It takes a lot of hard work putting these books together and can get very tiring. I’m sure there will be more titles in the future though.
6 -In the book “Pompey Boys” trough the pictures you can see the style
evolution of the lads, skinhead and boot boys image till 81 and then the
Casual explosion. How was for you this revolution?
My first memory of ‘dressing’ was in the early 70’s when I got into the ‘Suedehead’ look; this was the style that carried on from the Skinheads. I had a two-tone suit, Ben Sherman shirt, loafers etc, and looked the part. I stuck with the ‘in’ styles until 1979 when I moved away from Portsmouth to work in a small town in Somerset in the west of England. It seemed that time had stood still in the town and fashion was well behind the rest of the country.
I worked there until 1984 so you could say the casual scene past me by. I moved to Torquay and got to know a few Scousers who were dressing casual, only then did I start to get into the clothes. I remember wearing a Nike zip up training jacket, Pringle jumper and Lois jeans. I didn’t get into designer stuff like Aquascutum and Burberry because I simply didn’t have the money.
7- Going to Cardiff in suit and ties pretending to go to a marriage to avoid
police control..to Cambridge with bycicle…tell us about your memories of the
80’ away match with pompey Boys? And nowadays?
The 6.57 crew have always tried to do things a bit different; travelling to away games on mass was always hard until 1981 when coupons appeared on washing powder boxes allowing cheap train travel. The lads took full advantage of this and would use trains to travel all over the country. As I said I was not really into the casual scene at the time but remember going to Wolves around ‘84 and standing on the terraces thinking were are all the lads? I was told that a lot of them now go in the seats. So after the game I waited outside the exit for them to come out. I saw a few lads I knew and they were all dressed in blazers, Farrah slacks and Burberry ties. I had never seen this before and was laughing at them. I couldn’t believe the crew was dressing like this but it still didn’t stop them fighting the opposition mobs.
Pompey has always had a good away following and is known for its passionate support. Even the hoolies sing their support for the team which other mobs find ‘un-cool.’ There isn’t a lot of trouble at away matches anymore (unless we play Southampton, our main rivals.) Even though a lot of the old crew still go they are like me and take their kids. There is probably more of a hooligan problem in Italy than England at the moment.
8- How is today the terrace scene in Portmouth? I have seen your lads last
year in Upton Park for West Ham-Portsmouth and the give me big impression?
At chanting level I think you are among the best in uk. What dou you think?
Fratton Park is easily the best ground in the premiership for atmosphere. It is still an old fashion ground and the fans are very close to the pitch. I should think it is an intimidating place for opposing players, as the fans are right in their face. There is a strong bond between the fans and the club and we have a proud history. This comes out in the passion shown for the team on match day.
9 -There so many legends about the nickname “Pompey”. The truth?
These theories seem to be true.
The nickname 'Pompey' is a widely used term to refer not just to the football club, but to the whole city. The name 'Pompey' is almost certainly of naval extraction. and Mike Neasom's book Pompey: The History of Portsmouth Football Club sets out three main theories.
Legend has it that a snoozing, drunken sailor interrupted a lecture on the Roman Empire given by a naval temperance worker. Upon hearing that an emperor of that name had died, the sailor shouted out 'Poor old Pompey'.
More substantive evidence records a group of Portsmouth-based sailors, who scaled Pompey's Pillar near Alexandria, Egypt, in 1781 and became known as the 'Pompey Boys', while others claim the name originates from a French battleship La Pompйe, captured in 1793 and which eventually became the guardship to Portsmouth Harbour.
10- Is there a frendship beetween your firm and the lads of Everton? How
does it start?
On a personal note I am friends with Andy Nicholls the author of the Everton hoolie book ‘Scally’ but there is no real link between the two firms. We haven’t played each a lot over the years as we were in different leagues.
11- In the book “Pompey boys” i have seen pictures of Pompey in Bari for the
Anglo-Italian Cup. Have you been there?
I went to the game in Bari. The club chartered a plane and took 300 fans out there, another 50 travelled independently. When we got outside the airport the police put us onto waiting buses but kept us sitting there for ages. They were obviously trying to keep us out of the city centre and the bars. After an hour the buses started moving but they took us to a church square with no shops or bars, again a stalling plan. We eventually hit the centre and went on the piss, there was no trouble and the police were good to us. It was really strange in the stadium, as you know it was built for the 1990 world cup and has a capacity of 60,000 but there was less than a 1000 there. Most of the Italian people we spoke to were not interested about the game and didn’t even know that Bari were playing Pompey.
12- Rednkapp mister with help from Tony Adams and Joe Jordon? Who will be
the best for a nite out in the booze?
Redknapp seems to be a wine man so wouldn’t be great for a night on the beer. Joe Jordan being a Scot probably likes a drink and would be good company. A few years ago the man for a night on the piss would have been Tony Adams. He has since admitted to being an alcoholic and is now ‘dry’. He even spent time in prison after getting drunk and driving a car into a wall!
13- Bung scandals, more and more stranger players, more and more stranger
bored richmen willing to buy british teams and turn them in their toy of the
moment until it can bring profits, pay TV setting the football agenda
according to their commercial needs..and we could go on. Do you think all
these issues are affecting people passion in some way? Maybe in the long
term supporters will be dismissing their beloved Clubs looking for some
“pure” football in lower Leagues?
Sky TV rule British football, they put mega amounts of money into the game but for that they get to dictate when matches are played and the stupid kick off times.
Pompey has been caught up in the ‘bung’ scandal but at the moment the F.A. don’t really have anything on Harry Redknapp. The investigation is on going so we will just have to wait and see if he has done anything wrong.
As you may know Pompey have just changed owners with Milan Mandaric stepping down and Sacha Gaydamark taking over the club. Were, as Mandaric would talk to the fans Gaydamark dosen’t say anything. The rumour is he doesn’t want to re-develop Fratton Park and is looking to build a new stadium on the outskirts of the city. The great thing about the ‘old’ ground is the atmosphere that it generates, if we move to a new concrete bowl I’m not sure if it will be the same. One thing is for certain; the Pompey fans will always stick with the club because it is a big part of our lives and the city is proud of the team.
For any John Payne book go to www.pbpublishing.co.uk