WATCHING Pompey qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Cup reminded me of Saints’ first season in Europe back in 1969.

We played Vitoria Guimares, Pompey’s opponents on Thursday night, over two legs in the second round of the UEFA Cup’s previous guise as the Inter City Fairs Cup.

I remember volleying us into a 3-2 lead in the first leg in the Portugese city of Guimares after Micky Channon and Ron Davies had headed in a couple of equalisers.

We took a 3-3 draw back to the Dell after conceding a controversial late penalty and Ron Davies scored another couple as we beat the Portugese side 5-1 on a wet November night in the second leg.

Thirty-nine years after that 8-4 aggregate win, I watched Peter Crouch, pictured, come to the rescue for the team down the road by grabbing a couple of vital goals in extra time.

It was not the best first half but Crouch scored another two great goals in an excellent result.

Hopefully Pompey can do what we failed to do and go all the way. We lost in the third round to Newcastle United.

After getting a great result at St James’ Park, a goalless draw, we lost on away goals when we were held 1-1 at the Dell. Arsenal were the eventual winners of the Fairs Cup that year. Hopefully an English club goes all the way in this season’s competition.