Portsmouth pupils’ pride for city delights Pompey heroes

A trio of former Pompey footballers visited Lyndhurst Junior School in Portsmouth to talk to the children about their careers - from left, Ray Crawford, Alan Knight and Liam Horsted 
Picture Ian Hargreaves  (160545-1)
A trio of former Pompey footballers visited Lyndhurst Junior School in Portsmouth to talk to the children about their careers - from left, Ray Crawford, Alan Knight and Liam Horsted Picture Ian Hargreaves (160545-1)

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IT’S not every day you get to wear a piece of football history on your head.

But that’s exactly what happened to these plucky pupils when football heroes from Portsmouth paid them a visit on the last day of term before the Easter holidays.

Former England international and Pompey striker, Ray Crawford visited Year 3 children at Lyndhurst Junior School, alongside the Blues’ goalkeeping great Alan Knight and former Fratton midfielder Liam Horsted.

Crawford, who became a fan favourite during the 1957-58 season with the Blues, treated youngsters by letting them try on his prized England cap won after playing Austria in 1962 – a game which saw him netting a goal for the national side.

Susan Gibbon, class teacher, said: ‘The children were just awed by it all.

‘They couldn’t believe it. He pulled this England cap out of plastic bag which had all his league medals he won.’

The visit was all to celebrate the completion of a term-long project by the pupils looking into Portsmouth’s long and illustrious history and the famous people to have grown up within the city.

As part of the project, youngsters spent time visiting and learning about some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Spinnaker Tower, Historic Dockyard and HMS Victory.

They were given a tour of Fratton Park to see where their favourite Pompey players take to the pitch.

The project was part of a drive to help 75 of the Crofton Road school children become Portsmouth Young Ambassadors. As part of this the 120 pupils showed the guests, which included the city’s Lord Mayor Frank Jonas, what they had discovered.

Mr Knight, who is known as The Legend by Pompey fans, and whose daughters went to the junior school, was delighted by the pupils’ passion for the city.

‘It’s important people realise just what an historic city that we have and what has gone on here through the millennia,’ he said.

‘It’s a city that we should be proud of. So it was great seeing such youngsters with such a passion for Portsmouth.’

Youngsters said the day was an incredible way to celebrate their achievements over the past few weeks.

Young Finley Stokes, eight, said: ‘It was a really good afternoon.

‘I enjoyed seeing the Lord Mayor and the Pompey players.’

Lucky Libby Pycroft, eight, said the highlight of the afternoon was trying on Ray’s England cap and meeting the Lord Mayor. Describing the day, she added: ‘It was 10 out of 10.’

The project was jointly organised by Mrs Gibbon and teaching assistant Sacha Corby.