GOALIE Alan Knight knows more than most the effects that smoking can have on your body.
So the former Pompey keeper, known as Legend, has been talking to students from Bay House School in Gosport about it.
Alan, who played for Pompey a record 801 times, visited the school as part of National No Smoking Day yesterday.
He said: ‘I was a smoker. I started when I was 16 years old when I first came to Portsmouth as an apprentice.
‘Out of boredom I took a cigarette and then 34 years later I found myself trying to give up.
‘I managed to pack up three years later and I haven’t gone back. I just wanted to relay that to the kids. While I was playing football I didn’t feel it was affecting me but once I finished playing I started to feel the effects of smoking like breathlessness.’
Sarah Cornish is a citizenship teacher at the school and is also a smoking peer mentor.
She said: ‘We’re very passionate about early intervention in educating before children start smoking.
‘I wanted to incorporate smoking with fitness this year.
‘I couldn’t think of a better way to do it then with our PE department.
‘We have got a small minority of smokers in school and they take part in sport.’
Ms Cornish has praised Alan for the work that he did with the children.
‘Alan is a lovely bloke,’ she said. ‘The kids really responded to him.
‘If they weren’t alive when Alan was playing football, they know the club he was a part of.
‘It was interesting to find out that Alan gave up smoking himself and how it affected him.
‘The majority of the pupils are non-smokers so it was a good insight.
‘Hopefully they will get the message not to start smoking. It’s certainly brought awareness about thinking about your fitness and your social circles.’