Bradley Tarbuck and Liam Walker put the gloss on the celebrations as Pompey marched to a 2-1 friendly success over IBV.
A goal either side of the interval was enough to seal the victory in front of a bumper crowd of nearly 7,000 as spectators created a cracking atmosphere before Kjartan Gudjonsson netted a late consolation for the visitors.
The last time David James was at Fratton Park, Pompey were a Premier League side.
The former England keeper, who was such a key part of Pompey’s FA Cup victory in 2008, did the decent thing and waived his right to a new contract in 2010 when the club’s relegation to the Championship was confirmed.
Admittedly, the Blues were in dire straits at the time and he probably had more chance of getting paid on time at Bristol City.
But as a gesture of goodwill – and no doubt one that cost him a fair few quid – it was right up there and put to shame many of those other ex-Pompey players who fought tooth and nail for every penny they were owed.
Yes, in the hard-nosed business world, they were within their rights.
But some were bitten by the Fratton Park bug in a bigger way than simply the inflated bank account.
James was most definitely among them, although his part in this game was restricted to the warm-up. Another man to be bitten by the bug was Hermann Hreidarsson.
Now boss at Icelandic club IBV – and anyone who has first-hand knowledge of Hermann’s unique style of man management will suggest that was a very brave move indeed by the board of directors at that club – Hreidarsson wanted to say his farewell to a place where he is respected and held in high esteem.
It wasn’t just his performances during his spell as a player.
He showed he cared about the club and became an iconic cult hero among the Pompey supporters.
As has been stated many times down the years, the vast majority of Blues fans will forgive a lack of ability if it means those wearing the club’s colours will give everything to the cause.
Hermann certainly did that.
And his rapturous ovation from the Fratton faithful when he came on in the 64th minute was testament to that – switching to play the final five minutes for his old club.
With only four of Pompey’s starting XI having played first-team football this season, it was clear manager Guy Whittingham felt his weary troops needed a midweek breather with just two games of the season to go.
While it was a shame so few of the first team were on show, a very decent crowd caught a glimpse of a bit more of Pompey’s future with some of the youngsters in action.
Tarbuck has been tipped to be the next cab off the rank and on this evidence, he will definitely join the first-team squad for next season.
While he was deployed in a role on the right of midfield, his preferred position is up front for the Academy but he showed enough out wide to suggest he has plenty to offer.
Tarbuck’s pace and direct running certainly troubled his IBV opponent and he took his 18th-minute goal well to put Pompey ahead.
John Akinde produced a sublime turn to escape down the left flank, his pass inside found Ashley Harris who fed Tarbuck to confidently slot past the goalkeeper, even though Gudjon Orri Sigurjonsson got a hand to the ball on its way in.
Walker had been denied just moments before with a fizzing low drive the IBV keeper just about kept out.
And Pompey nearly doubled their lead just beyond the midway point in the half as Adam Webster’s header back across goal bobbled around and cried out for someone to poke it home.
IBV, meanwhile, looked a threat at times, although they failed to really trouble Phil Smith at any stage. The closest they came during the first 45 minutes was in stoppage-time when the dangerous Ian Jeffs stooped to meet a header which landed on the roof of the net, although the same player did also threaten earlier in the half with a long-range effort he dragged wide.
In a quiet start to the second period, Pompey sprung to life around the hour mark and so nearly made it 2-0 as Harris rattled the post with a thumping drive, while Akinde should have netted only to take it too wide when going clean through and rounding the keeper.
But with 15 minutes to go Pompey did make it 2-0 as Walker served up a corker of a finish, bending his shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.
It was another glimpse of the midfielder’s undoubted talent and paved the way for the old favourites to make their entrance as Linvoy Primus, Svetoslav Todorov, Mark Kelly and Guy Whittingham came on.
Todorov should have buried an easy chance, while Whittingham – who filled his shorts far more than he did back in his pomp – played up to some unkind treatment from the Fratton end and took it all in the good spirit it was intended. IBV bagged their late strike in stoppage-time but all in all, it was a good evening’s entertainment and more cash for the Fratton Park coffers as the new era takes shape.