Pompey tour diary: The (busy) life of Brian

Brian Howard is mobbed by Spanish children during Pompey training
Brian Howard is mobbed by Spanish children during Pompey training
Donny were formed almost 20 years before Pompey

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Michael Appleton has already joked about taking those development group youngsters present in Spain to McDonald’s or ten-pin bowling.

Well, he need not worry about keeping them amused – they’ve found a table-tennis table.

An area of the Benahavis Hotel has effectively become a youth club, with those teenager members of the travelling party in constant attendance.

Hard-fought tournaments have been under way to unearth the king of table tennis every night after dinner.

So far, it appears Sam Magri is edging George Colson in the champion stakes, or so he is quick to claim.

However, Adam Webster is officially the worst – more pong than ping.

It’s fair to say the arrival of Brian Howard on trial has raised a certain level of interest amongst Pompey fans. Although, that is nothing compared to the reception the former Reading and Barnsley midfielder has received in Spain.

While training at the Marbella Football Center, he was mobbed by a group of Spanish youngsters at the end of one session.

Around 15 converged upon him, demanding his precious autograph on anything they could get their hands on.

Obviously, they must have been captivated by his performances at Swindon, Barnsley, Sheffield United and Reading over the years.

Not that any of his team-mates fancied rescuing him from the sea of red which swept him out of their grasp.

Probably because they were relieved Howard was distracting the excitable children while they sought a well-earned rest following an exhausting two hours of training.