Pompey’s close links to Dallas remembered: RETRO

Bobby Moffat, right, along with Vince Radcliffe in their Pompey playing days.
Bobby Moffat, right, along with Vince Radcliffe in their Pompey playing days.
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Last Monday and Tuesday I published photographs sent to me by former Pompey reserve player Bobby Moffat who now resides in Dallas, Texas. Bob told me of his career and of the many ex-Portsmouth professionals who ended their playing days in America.

He says: ‘I made my league debut for Gillingham in 1966 at Scunthorpe and Ron Newman was in the side.

‘In late 1969 the Dallas Tornado, with Ron by then the player coach, toured Scotland and England.

‘We played a friendly game against Chelmsford – that was nowhere near friendly – to buy my contract.

‘With the ‘friendly’ played, I joined the team for games in Belgium, Holland and France, and returned on loan to Chelmsford until near the end of the 1969-70 season after which my wife, June, son Dorian and I left for Dallas.

'I played for the Tornado from 1970 until 1977, returning every off-season from 1970-1973 to play in England.

‘In 1970-71, for Yeovil, we won the Southern league, lost in the semi-final of the FA Non-League Cup, and lost 3-0 to Arsenal (I didn’t play) in the third round of the FA Cup.

‘And in 1972-73 I played for Waterlooville, a disastrous season under Pat Wright, where I pulled my back in my debut game, the injury plaguing me until I returned to Dallas and the team were relegated. After this we’ve lived permanently in the greater Dallas area

'Each of the seasons I returned to play in England I trained at Fratton Park which manager Ron Tindall kindly allowing me to. I told the players about playing in the NASL.

‘Tommy Youlden played for the Tornado in 1971, Freddie Smith in 1972, John Collins, Nicky Jennings and Richie Reynolds in 1973,  George Ley in 1974 (George stayed with the club until the 1979 season) and Richie Reynolds, again, for the 1975 season.

‘Ron Tindall also spent a few weeks in Dallas, in the summer of 1973, researching how we sold the game – Pompey’s crowds averaged 10,000 during the 1972-73 season he told the Dallas papers.

‘There was talk of a Pompey 1973-74 pre-season game against the Tornado at Texas Stadium, and of a continuing relationship between the clubs, which unfortunately never happened.

‘The possibility was carried in the 1973 Sports News, as were other NASL stories. Ron, who had done so much for the game in North Texas, was fired after the 1975 NASL season and the relationship died.’

Bob adds: ‘It is interesting to note that the most successful male and female coaches in North America, Ron for the men, and Jill Ellis for the US women’s team, were from Fareham.

 'Mick Mellows brought my touring teams (boys and girls) to Portsmouth for friendly games, and to play in the Portsmouth Cup 1980-1997.

‘My parents and I lived next door to Bill and Mary Albury (Bill managed Waterlooville). Their son Kevin is now coaching in Allen, Texas, where June and I now live.’

Bob will be in Portsmouth, staying at the Ibis Hotel near the Guildhall, from October 8 – 31.

He is keen to meet any of his ex-teammates who remain in the area. If anyone would like to meet Bobby please e-mail him on bobbymoffat14@gmail.com.

• Don’t forget that today is Pay to Play Day on Angel Radio, the community radio station based in Havant which you will find it on 89.3FM and also online.

You can ring in for free on 0800 014 1955 or (023) 9248 1988.

From 9am until late into the evening the station is raising much-needed funds and all the volunteer presenters will be playing records from the 1960s for the minimum sum of £1.

If you listen in the morning you will also hear my dulcet tones as I will be a guest on the show with Pete Cross, reading out requests and also talking about my Remember When columns in The News.

• Who remembers that bizarre custom we used to have – half-day closing ? Here's a bit of further information about Somers Town FC.

David Houghton tells me they played in the Wednesday League, which was open to people who did not work on Wednesday afternoons thanks to half- day closing.

Dave’s uncle, Gordon King was in the team. He was a butcher and Dave used to watch games after school on a Wednesday at King George V playing field, Cosham.

Apparently the police and fire service also had teams in that league.

I wonder if anyone has any memories about this league?

• Does anyone remember the Gosport Sports Club that was in existence in the late 1940s and 1950s?

June Ladmore asks if anyone can help her. She is on 07712 863227.