The former Portsmouth schoolboy who once shared a football pitch with Pele

I received an email from Dallas, Texas from Portsmouth-born Bobby Moffat.Bobby came from Eastney and attended Wimborne Road School.

Monday, 16th September 2019, 4:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 5:32 pm
Something Bobby never thought would happen in his younger days, on the same pitch as the great Brazilian, Pele
Something Bobby never thought would happen in his younger days, on the same pitch as the great Brazilian, Pele

After playing for Portsmouth Football Club schoolboys, he signed as an apprentice along with Colin Crawford and Barry Figgins in 1961, and in 1963 as a full professional.

His grandfather was Billy Moffat who represented Pompey in 138 games, winning promotion to Division One in 1927.

Bobby sent me several photographs of his Pompey schoolboy days and his PFC days.

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Pompey players in the 1960s. Bob Moffat is third from right.

He said: ‘The two with players in were taken at Lilleshall, at the time the national training centre. I then spent three seasons at Gillingham, before playing in the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 1970-77.

‘After that I ran soccer camps and international soccer tours with my wife, June. The majority of the latter to the Portsmouth Cup, organised by ex-Pompey player Mick Mellows.’

The photograph must be something Bobby could have only dreamed about when he was on Pompey’s books.

There he is on the same pitch as the great Brazilian footballer, Pele.

Pompey players in the 1960s. Left to right: Keith East, Barry Figgins, Vince Radcliffe, anon, Colin Crawford.

It was Pele’s first game for the New York Cosmos, June 15, 1975, against Dallas Tornado.

The New York Times reported that 50 million people watched it live in the United States, and elsewhere.

Ex-Pompey players Richie Reynolds and George Ley also played in the game for the Tornado, coached by ex-Pompey player Ron Newman.

Bobby tells me he is staying at the Ibis Hotel, near the Guildhall, from October 8-31.

The original Portsmouth Harbour bus interchange, long before HMS Warrior appeared on the scene. Photo: The News archive.

He is keen to meet up with his old teammates who remain in the area.

To get in touch with Bobby, send him an email on [email protected]

Portsmouth Harbour today must be one of the few railway stations in the country where passengers cannot alight a train and hire a taxi anymore.

The new interchange has no approach road so passengers with heavy bags have a 200 yard walk to a taxi rank.

There also used to be parking for the many tourist coaches along the pier road.

In the photo on this page we can see there was once an approach road and taxi rank.

Mind you, whatever reason the car had for parking on the pavement is beyond me.

It is pictured shortly before opening in the early 1970s.

The photograph also shows the scene long before the new pier was constructed in 1987, ready for the arrival of HMS Warrior 1860.