Macca: Thanks for a memorable Pompey occasion

Alan McLoughlin watching his benefit game from the stands. Picture: Joe Pepler
Alan McLoughlin watching his benefit game from the stands. Picture: Joe Pepler
Brett Pitman was on the mark again for Pompey as they earned a draw against Walsall Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey 1 Walsall 1: Jordan Cross’ match report

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ALAN McLOUGHLIN allowed his mind to wander back to his illustrious playing career as Pompey fans chanted his name again.

The former Blues midfielder watched his benefit game from a seat in the Fratton end to mingle with supporters as Pompey played out an entertaining 3-3 draw with AFC Bournemouth in the latest step of their pre-season campaign.

And McLoughlin was serenaded with his old chant during the first half as he paid tribute to those who made it a memorable occasion.

He relished the occasion and was glad to be able to share it with the supporters.

The experience was emotional at times for the Pompey hero.

McLoughlin said: ‘It was great fun.

‘It was like being back on the pitch again when they were chanting my name!

‘It was a wonderful day so I would just like to say a big “thank you” to everyone who came along and made it special.

‘It was just really good of them to show their support.

‘I’d also like to thank my committee – Malcolm Drew, Jake Payne and Ian Marshall – they have been great.

‘Pompey is a club that will always be close to my heart and I was a bit overwhelmed by it, to be honest.’

After his seven-year playing spell, the former Republic of Ireland international then made a return to the club to join the coaching staff in 2011.

But he thinks the chance of returning for a third spell is remote.

McLoughlin said: ‘I certainly don’t anticipate ever returning to the club but you can never say never in football.

‘Coming back for a third time would probably be pushing it!’

In response to the club’s gesture of honouring a contractual agreement dating back to the 1990s, McLoughlin offered a token of thanks.

He said: ‘I went into the boardroom to thank everyone and left some bottles of wine.

‘I’m eternally grateful to the club – they didn’t have to do it.

‘Iain McInnes shook my hand and welcomed me back.

‘You can be left sore about what happened when I left the club and what I think about it will stay with me.

‘But it was a fitting way to sign off.’

Even though it was stipulated as part of his contract, McLoughlin has also pledged to donate a percentage of his earnings from the match to several charities.

He said: ‘I feel it’s the right thing to do but I won’t be singing from the rooftops about it.

‘It will be done quietly and over a period of time.’

– STEVE WILSON