Pompey legend Alan Knight made his West Leigh Park comeback and admitted: It’s good to be back.
The 50-year-old has been re-appointed as the Hawks’ goalkeeping coach – a role he held previously with the Blues Square South outfit.
Knight was with Shaun Gale’s Hawks when they had their terrific FA Cup run back in 2008 and lost 5-2 to Liverpool at Anfield in the fourth round.
By his own admission, his life went off the rails soon after that, though.
But since then Knight – who was a part-time goalkeeping coach at Aldershot last season – has battled back to put those days behind him and is focused on his new role.
‘I had a great time when I was here before but, unfortunately, hit problems that have been well documented,’ he said.
‘Now, though, I have put those days behind me and returning to West Leigh Park is a little like coming home.
‘The people at the club, like chairman Derek Pope and manager Shaun Gale, have always been very supportive right through my problems and it is great to be back working with them.
‘I was at Aldershot with Kevin Dillon last season, which was all part of me getting back into football. Unfortunately, Aldershot didn’t start well last season and Kevin paid the price for it.
‘Dean Holdsworth was brought in as manager and he wanted to go in a different direction with it, which I fully understand.
‘Coming to the Hawks has worked out perfectly for me and my job is to work with the young goalkeepers at the club.’
One player hoping to benefit from Knight’s vast experience is young keeper Nathan Ashmore.
Injuries have restricted his playing time over the past two seasons but he’s returned for the Hawks’ pre-season programme fit and ready for action – and determined to establish himself as Gale’s No1 shot-stopper.
‘I have worked with Nathan before and this is a big chance for him,’ said Knight.
‘I have spoken to the manager about what he wants from him and hopefully I can help him a little bit in making the most of his opportunity.
‘I remember when I was a youngster trying to break into the side, people kept saying you need experience but it is a catch 22 situation because unless you play you can’t get it.
‘With Nathan it is a case of, if you are good enough you are old enough.’