McInnes: My emotional Pompey farewell

Pompey beat Charlton to help get back on track and must continue to push on. Picture: Joe Pepler

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The perfect ending to Pompey’s season – and fitting farewell for Iain McInnes

Following four years as the Blues chairman, McInnes is stepping down to return to sitting back among the Fratton faithful.

Iain McInnes, right, with Enda Stevens, Kyle Bennett and Michael Doyle. Picture: Joe Pepler

Iain McInnes, right, with Enda Stevens, Kyle Bennett and Michael Doyle. Picture: Joe Pepler

Both chairman and team went out with a bang as Paul Cook’s side claimed the League Two title on a dramatic final day.

A 6-1 triumph over Cheltenham and the failures of Plymouth and Doncaster to win, decided the destiny of the title.

It paved the way for a glorious reception on Southsea Common at the pre-arranged event.

McInnes has earned the respect of Pompey fans through his honesty and approachability.

That was epitomised by a Fratton end chant of ‘He’s one of our own’ during the first half of Saturday’s victory.

And McInnes will treasure a tenure which finished with the League Two title in the Blues’ trophy cabinet.

He said ‘This is a very special football club. It doesn’t matter whose name is on the ownership document, the fans will always own it.

‘Whatever direction we move in, the players now firmly believe in the club and the fans now firmly believe in the players so there is a great togetherness.

‘You can go absolutely anywhere with that.

‘I used to sit out on a wall next to the common dreaming I could be a captain one day – and instead became an admiral of a football club. I wouldn’t have expected that to happen.

‘The fans singing to me during the game was really touching and the good thing about it is they are right, I am one of their own.

‘I spoke to Conor Chaplin afterwards and told him we had something in common. The difference is I would have scored with that shot he missed against Cheltenham!

‘When I heard the crowd’s reaction towards me, I didn’t quite know what to do, but who doesn’t like to be acknowledged?

‘I am one of them – a Pompey fan – and as long as they know that – and they obviously do – that’s the best thing that could ever happen to me.

‘I would rather shake the hand of a Pompey fan than 100 kings, truthfully.’

McInnes was among those who took to the stage to be greeted by a packed Southsea Common yesterday.

It provided a memorable finalé in which Cook’s men collected Pompey’s first trophy since the 2008 FA Cup.

McInnes added: ‘It’s a step on a long journey and has been hard work getting there.

‘This has been a city and a club with its tail between its legs – and now it is wagging.’

– NEIL ALLEN