Tributes paid to fan who saved Pompey

Harry Garcia of home in North End. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (132003-2)
Harry Garcia of home in North End. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (132003-2)
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HE WAS the figurehead of a huge campaign to save Pompey in the 1970s.

Now tributes have been paid to loyal supporter Harry Garcia who died on Saturday at the age of 89.

Retired bookmaker Harry Garcia of North End , centre in November 1976 at Fratton park ENGPPP00120130718183346

Retired bookmaker Harry Garcia of North End , centre in November 1976 at Fratton park ENGPPP00120130718183346

Mr Garcia – who was head of a supporters’ club in 1976, was approached by the then-Pompey chairman John Deacon to set up the SOS Pompey campaign which was backed by The News.

Blues supporters from across the area donated money and held fundraising events to save the club from going out of business.

In just over six months the campaign raised more than £35,000.

His daughter Jane Garcia, 60, said: ‘The club meant a lot to him. He grew up supporting the club. His father took him to games.

‘He was larger than life. He had a fantastic personality.

‘He was the life and soul of every party. He was a generous, warm person who had a lot of friends. He would help anybody. He was a character and he was very respected.

‘He had a lot of history with the city. He lived here all his life. I hope he will be warmly remembered. He did keep that club going.’

Mr Garcia worked at a confectionary shop in North End called The Chocolate King, which was originally owned by his parents and was later a bookmaker.

Pompey club director Mick Williams said: ‘I was involved in the SOS Pompey appeal back in those days.

‘He was one of the leading figures. He was pushing to try and save the club at that time.

‘It’s a sad day. I have great admiration for him. It was his determination that galvanised a lot of different people to do different things to raise money.’

Mr Garcia watched Pompey lift the FA Cup at Wembley in 1939 and was back at the stadium in 1966 to see England win the World Cup.

Club liaison officer Johnny Moore added: ‘I got to know him in the last few years.

‘He will be remembered for the fact that he started SOS Pompey under The News.

‘He played his part as many have since in saving Pompey and paying off its debts. He was devoted to the club and always wanted to see it in safe hands.’

Mr Garcia died at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham from pneumonia.