Ex-Pros mark 50 years of Pompey loyalty

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They spanned the Pompey generations – the Fratton folk who have entertained us all down the years.

And last night they gathered for a special evening which marked the 50th anniversary of the Ex-Portsmouth Football Club Professionals’ Reunion Club.

From left: Barry Cook, Ray Crawford and Colin Sullivan at the Ex-Portsmouth Football Club Professionals' Reunion Club's 50th anniversary celebrations at the Marriott Hotel, North Harbour   Picture: Mick Young

From left: Barry Cook, Ray Crawford and Colin Sullivan at the Ex-Portsmouth Football Club Professionals' Reunion Club's 50th anniversary celebrations at the Marriott Hotel, North Harbour Picture: Mick Young

The Marriott Hotel in North Harbour hosted the dinner which saw a host of greats who wore the star and crescent gather.

There were special long-service awards for reunion club stalwarts Pat Neil and Lyn Powell – on an emotional occasion for the pair.

They have been the lifeblood of the outfit, which has raised in excess of £120,000 for a string of deserving causes at home and abroad.

Freddie Evans is now the club’s oldest member with the ‘Havant flier’ celebrating his 90th birthday this year.

The likes of Jimmy Dickinson, Jack Froggatt, Len Phillips, Reg Flewin, Peter Harris and Duggie Reid all turned out for the club’s football side, when it was known as the Ex-Portsmouth Championship and Professionals XI.

And the families of many of those greats were represented at the dinner last night.

Wyn Froggatt was joined by a host of family members, while Sylvia Harris and Joan Phillips were also present.

Club chairman Neil feels it’s a special achievement to be celebrating 50 years of existence.

Neil said: ‘It’s lovely to get together for the umpteenth time.

‘I’ve been involved for the past 25-30 years – and for some reason we still like each other!

‘We are spanning the decades, too, when it comes to the people involved!

‘It’s certainly quite something that we are still going – and it’s very nice, too.

‘It’s not all the star guys, either.

‘These people are the lifeblood of the club. In the ’50s, the club used to churn out five teams a week.

‘Some of these guys never made the first team – but are Pompey players of the past.

‘They are still remembered as Pompey footballers.

‘There is the charity side as well as the social element, which is a big part of what we do.

‘But we like to remember the old times, tell some stories, have a glass of wine and have lots of laughs.’

Neil was recognised for his dedicated service last night.

He paid tribute to his friend Powell, however, who has been so important to keeping the group running.

Neil promised the desire to keep the club together will continue moving forward.

He said: ‘Lyn is the last standing-up member of the original club.

‘Lyn is well in to his ’80s now but has shown a determination to keep the club going.

‘We’ve carried on and it’s because of people like Lyn that is the case.

‘He deserves the recognition because the club has been his life for past 20 or 30 years really.

‘It’s a pleasure to be a part of this club – and we’ll keep going as long as we can.’