Northstand Critic: Enjoy the Pompey journey - nobody knows when ours might come to the end

Retired bookmaker Harry Garcia, of North End , centre, at Fratton Park in November 1976
Retired bookmaker Harry Garcia, of North End , centre, at Fratton Park in November 1976
Gareth Evans is back from suspension to face AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Shaun Boggust

AFC Wimbledon v Pompey: Early team news

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A regular contributor to the Football Mail’s letters page many moons ago, the Northstand Critic has got back in touch...

Following Pompey through the ages, I have experienced peaks and troughs of polar extremes.

Few other clubs can rival our rollercoaster ride, which has included thrills and spills in equal measure.

It is, however, a journey I feel privileged to have undertaken.

This meandering route has delivered me to various destinations.

Promotion, relegation, and administration to name just three.

Along a more personal path of this epic trail, I recall, with sadness, some of my companions who are no longer with us.

I would like to pay my respects to a select band by reminiscing on their contribution towards the Pompey they left behind.

Keith Burchill, aka Joe 90, was a popular figure on the terraces during the ’70s.

Short in stature, the bespectacled Keith was a dead-ringer for the secret agent who starred in the cult sci-fi series of our generation.

I never actually met Harry Garcia.

But I did witness the stirring oratory he delivered to the concerned Blues public who listened so intently inside a packed Guildhall one September evening during 1976.

It was Harry who masterminded the original SOS Pompey appeal, which helped secure a future for our perilously-stricken club.

Clive Limbrick was a massive Blues fan in every sense of the word.

He organised Pompey away travel from his local pub The Fox in Leigh Park.

His brother Paul continues to fly the Blues banner in Clive’s honour.

Rob Porter was probably one of the funniest men I have ever met.

Attending Pompey matches in his company was pure comedy gold!

Docker Hughes was a close personal friend.

He not only headed the band of my merry men, but he also achieved fame by standing for the candidacy of the Portsmouth South seat during the 1987 general election, providing so many memories during a hilarious campaign.

Visionaries Ken Malley and Tony Goodhall were two high profile figures behind the formation of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust.

These star players performed pivotal roles, leading to the Trust’s ownership of our club.

The tireless work put in by this affable duo ensured a footballing legacy, bequeathed to many.

Derek Fossett was one of the nicest gentlemen I have ever had the pleasure to call friend or fan.

Del was a work colleague of mine whose loss to Tooting & Mitcham was one huge gain for Pompey.

One of the nicest gentleman I have ever had the pleasure to call friend or fan.

These random snapshots of our dear departed has reminded me that none of us know the length of our own Blues journey.

We must all enjoy every game as if it’s our last.

Our loyalty is already being rewarded in the knowledge that the club’s future is now secure.