Alex Bass: David Forde was scary at Portsmouth - and he used to give me a kick up the backside

Plenty of goalkeepers have come and gone during Alex Bass’ Pompey career.

Sunday, 15th September 2019, 6:30 am
David Forde celebrates Pompey's League Two title triumph. Picture: Joe Pepler

Despite still being only 21, he’s somewhat of a stalwart at Fratton Park, having first been named on the bench as a 16-year-old for a 1-1 draw with Accrington in March 2015.

Bass has played alongside a host of stoppers at the Blues. From Paul Jones to Brian Murphy, Ryan Fulton to Craig MacGillivray, the Eastleigh ace has been able to garner tips and heed advice from them all.

But there's one keeper who stands above the rest for Bass – and also scared him. 

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David Forde arrived on loan from Millwall in 2016.

Then-manager Paul Cook was hoping the Republic of Ireland international would resolve the Blues’ goalkeeping crisis that had blighted their League Two promotion bid during the 2015-16 campaign, with five used in total.

Forde indeed proved the remedy. He featured 47 times, recorded 19 clean sheets and was a key player as Pompey claimed the fourth-tier crown. 

Despite being in the twilight years of his career at PO4, the former West Ham man remained a consummate professional.

Alex Bass, left, and David Forde. Picture: Sarah Standing

And Forde’s high standards on the training pitch is why he’s head and shoulders above the rest for Bass. 

The academy graduate said: ‘For me, Fordey sticks out. I was still only 18 when he was in and it was a great great experience. 

‘I got told we were signing him during a pre-season game.

‘I knew the name and when goalkeeping coach John Keeley said he plays for Millwall and Ireland then I knew who he was. Goalkeepers usually follow a lot of their counterparts.

‘I wasn't really involved in games that season because I was on loan at Salibsury but in training he was a hard worker – even at his age!

‘I don’t want to sound horrible but even though he was getting on, he still worked as hard and trained to the maximum he could.

‘He was good for advice. He’d always ask me how I got on that weekend, what I could have done better and what I could have done differently.

‘He was one that’d put his arm around me if I needed it or give me a kick up the backside if he thought I was being lazy!

‘There were a couple of times I got a kick up the backside. In training, he was a scary man.

‘I used to serve him and if you weren’t doing it right then you’d know about it. He’d tear your head off – he was a scary man! He had a deep voice and couldn’t half empty it on you if you needed it.

‘But he had high standards because he needed to get his work done. If a volley wasn’t right for him then he was going to tell me about it and fair enough.

‘That's what you’ve got to learn if you’re going to go on to that sort of standard. You don’t want a little kid like I was at the time volleying it into his hands, he wanted a bit of pace about it.

‘That's fair enough, I’ve taken it into now and it was a good experience for me.’

Forde's key attribute at Pompey was his ability to dominate his area and collect crosses with authority.

That’s something Bass has tried to replicate in his game. 

He added: ‘Myself and John always used to talk about Fordey’s crossing and how demanding of the box he was.

‘That was one thing that really stuck with him, how dominant he was with crosses coming into the box.

‘There are loads of little things goalkeepers need to do now.

‘But if you can have one dominant thing you have trust in then the rest of your game comes with it.’