Thanks in advance to Pompey players and staff who will put aside the club’s troubles tonight to give our annual Sports Awards a huge boost.
A number of first-team players have agreed to join us tonight and their presence is greatly appreciated.
I know that the chance to rub shoulders with their heroes will be a thrill for youngsters in particular as our leading local stars are honoured as The News stages its 10th Sports Awards.
They lit up the local and national stage in 2011 and this is our chance to pay tribute to the individuals and teams who make sport on our patch so special.
Since the start of this year, we’ve been asking readers to vote for their favourites from selected short lists.
And tonight, we will reveal the winners and runners-up in the following categories: Outstanding Contribution, Best One-Off Performance, Young Sportsman, Young Sportswoman, Outstanding Contribution to Disabled Sport, Coach, Team, Young Team, Pompey player of 2011, Sportsman and Sportswoman. And we will also hand out our Lifetime Achievement award.
Reports and pictures from the invitation-only ceremony in the Victory Lounge at Fratton Park will appear in The News throughout next week and a video will be available at portsmouth.co.uk.
Farewell Jim. It was a sad task to have to publish last week the obituary of Jim Riordan, for so many years a pithy and controversial columnist for The News. Jim was a man of huge principle, sticking by views that some firmly disagreed with and, in doing so, enriching debate in our democracy. He also, without fail, had a smile on his face every time I saw him. In every sense, a top man.