Factfile: Pompey Hall of Fame class of 2017

Vince Hilaire made 168 appearances for Pompey, scoring 24 goals for the Blues
Vince Hilaire made 168 appearances for Pompey, scoring 24 goals for the Blues
Scott Giles  Photography by Habibur Rahman

Genius who studied in Havant is off to Oxford University with five A and A*s under his belt

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Paul Merson, Cliff Parker, Colin Garwood and Vince Hilaire are the next four Pompey legends to be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame on April 7.

Daniel Lewis looks at why these stars have received their legendary south-coast status.

Paul Merson:

Time at Pompey: 2002-2003 (one year)

Appearances: 48

Goals: 12

Position: Midfielder

Paul Merson arrived at Pompey on a free from Aston Villa in August 2002, and in just one season the midfielder helped propel the south-coast side into the Premier League for the first time in 15 years.

Even though he only spent one year with the Blues, Merse shot to being a fan-favourite after scoring on 12 occasions and assisting Svestoslav Todorov heavily as the striker finished top goalscorer in division one that season.

The former England international was handed the captain’s armband by Harry Redknapp after finishing decorated stays at Arsenal and Aston Villa, where he lifted six trophies for the Gunners and one for Villa.

Merse left the Blues at the end of the 2002-03 season to join Walsall on a free transfer – spending the best part of three years at the the Saddlers instead of tackling the Premier League again.

Of the 12 Pompey goals the Englishman scored, half of them were penalties as he often tucked away spot-kicks when presented the opportunity.

Colin Garwood:

Time at Pompey: 1977-1980 (three years)

Appearences: 78

Goals: 34

Position: Striker

Colin Garwood left Colchester to join Pompey on deadline day in March 1978 and scored 34 goals in 78 appearances for the club.

Garwood netted on his Fratton Park debut against Shrewsbury Town and even though he only scored two goals before the end of that season, he had gained the faith of the Blues’ fanbase.

He picked up 15 goals over the course of the 1978-79 season, finishing top goalscorer for Pompey at the end of the campaign.

The 1979-1980 season saw the prolific front man bang in 17 goals by December - assisting the Blues in their push for promotion back to division three.

But the striker wasn’t in a Pompey shirt for much longer.

John Deacon, the chairman for the south-coast side at the time, signed forward David Gregory from Bury and froze Garwood out of the team.

Heacham-born Garwood opted to join Aldershot for £54,000 but his efforts – and goals – were not forgotten by the fans.

Cliff Parker:

Time at Pompey: 1933-1951 (18 years)

Appearances: 258

Goals: 63

Position: Left-midfielder

Cliff Parker was one of the most prolific and decorated Pompey players to ever grace the shirt.

With 63 goals in 258 appearances, Parker featured heavily for Pompey both before and after World War Two – lifting two consecutive League Championships and walking away with one FA Cup medal.

Parker moved to Pompey from Doncaster Rovers in December 1933 after scoring 11 goals for Donny in 52 appearences.

After the Second World War, Parker was still a first-team regular for the Blues when he arrived back from duty – featuring 38 times in the 1946-47 season.

His most memorable moment was when he bagged a brace against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup final at Wembley in 1939.

Pompey lifted the trophy as they thrashed Wolves 4-1 and Parker boasted to the goalkeeper: ‘This is my first Scotty, I’m coming back for another’ after his first effort.

Even after his retirement in 1951, the midfielder joined the coaching staff before becoming a scout for the club in 1953.

Vince Hilaire:

Time at Pompey: 1984-1988 (four years)

Appearances: 168

Goals: 24

Position: Winger

Vince Hilaire signed for Pompey from Luton Town for £100,000 in November 1984 when Alan Ball was manager at the club.

He had gained promotion twice already and made 255 appearences for Crystal Palace before joining Luton Town for just five games and then Pompey.

Hilaire made a strong impression in his debut at the club, pulling the Blues back from a two-goal deficit against Blackburn with a diving header.

In his second season at the Blues, Hilaire impressed so much that he was voted into the second division PFA Team of the Year after featuring 41 times for the south-coast side.

Hilaire helped gain Pompey promotion to the first division in 1987, playing an integral role in Ball’s iconic side – all of whom were big fan favourites.

Just one year later, thouhg, the winger joined Leeds United in a deal worth £190,000 and he was paraded by his new club at Fratton Park where Pompey duly thrashed the Whites 4-0.