Pompey tour diary: Doyle silences the Blues stattos and Bennett is a little off-key

Michael Doyle. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Doyle. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts watched Pompey's League One opener against Rochdale from the stands at Fratton Park Picture: Joe Pepler

Roberts: Treatment by Pompey boss was massively disrespectful

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In moments of relaxation, there is nothing more enjoyable for Barry Harris than to absorb Pompey trivia.

Hence the long-serving Blues employee settling down in the bar area of the Johnstown House Hotel with his treasured copy of Colin Farmery’s ‘Portsmouth, From Tindall To Ball, A Complete Record’.

Inevitably, the challenge arrived to test Barry on his impressive encyclopedic knowledge – much to his glee as he sought to impress.

Except the impromptu quiz turned out to be a personal statistic sparring battle between the assistant kitman and fans’ liaison officer Johnny Moore.

The questions ranged from Alan Foggon scoring the winner for Middlesbrough, Paul Walsh’s first game back on his second coming, Dave Dodson’s hat-trick and the player who scored Pompey’s opening goal of the 1998-99 campaign.

At times the one-upmanship was truly breathtaking in the scrap for supremacy, firing facts across their pints.

Yet, in truth, the pair had lost the skirmish much earlier when Michael Doyle stole the show.

During a lengthy chat about football, the skipper threw into conversation how he lined up against Pompey for Coventry in the opening match of the 2010-11 campaign.

‘The following game,’ he added, ‘I can remember Pompey winning 2-1 at Stevenage, with Michael Brown scoring one of the goals.’

Cue silence from those gathered, stunned at the knowledge demonstrated by somebody with no natural reason to be aware.

n Pompey’s players have been worked hard, yet in their free time the hotel’s games room has proven popular.

Drew Talbot, Danny Rose, Conor Chaplin and Christian Burgess have been spotted playing Fight Night Round 4, while Curtis Main often patrols the table-tennis table.

Elsewhere, Adam Barton, Brandon Haunstrup and Ben Close have been involved in games of cards.

However, Jack Whatmough and Kyle Bennett came up with a novel way to pass the time – a sing-off.

The room-mates decided to stage the impromptu competition in front of the Pompey Player camera.

Whatmough kicked off with a rendition of ‘Little Things’ by One Direction, while Bennett followed with Bill Withers’ ‘Lean On Me’.

The victor was Whatmough, purely because Bennett’s display was far too polished and reminiscent of an over-the-top X Factor audition.

– NEIL ALLEN