The 11 locals plying their trade away from Pompey

There's plenty of local talent in the current Pompey ranks.

Saturday, 24th March 2018, 7:09 pm
Updated Saturday, 24th March 2018, 7:20 pm
Current England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Jack Whatmough, Ben Close, Conor Chaplin, Adam May and Brandon Haunstrup have established themselves as key players for the Blues in recent seasons.

But there's plenty of local talent who have headed elsewhere to achieve success.

With the help of Will Clarke, we look at 11 players from our patch here on the south coast who have gone to pastures new for their footballing fixes.

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Current England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

1 Simon Moore

Sandown-born keeper Simon Moore was let go by Southampton’s academy having been labelled too small.

Now Sheffield United’s number one, he stands at 6ft 3in and has more than 50 appearances under his belt.

The Isle Of Wight stopper signed his first professional contract for Brentford in 2009 but was sidelined by the presence of Wojciech Szczęsny.

Current England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

His Bees breakthrough did not really materialise until the 2012-13 season.

The following summer, Moore was signed by Malky McKay at Cardiff City following promotion to the Premier League.

But unable to supersede the Bluebirds’ first-choice keeper David Marshall, he headed out on loan to Bristol City where he made 11 appearances.

Moore, who represented the Isle of Wight in the 2011 Island Games, joined Sheffield United for a fee in the region of £500,000.

As the Blades clinched the League One title, Moore was named in the division’s PFA team of the year. His younger brother, Stuart, is also a keeper and currently plays for Swindon Town – following a four-year spell at Reading.

2. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain became one of the youngest players to represent England at a major tournament when he featured in the European Championships in the summer of 2012, aged 18.

The Portsmouth-born talent made more than 200 appearances for Arsenal before swapping The Emirates for Anfield in 2017.

Son of former Pompey winger, Mark Chamberlain, he attended St Johns College in Southsea while growing up in the city.

However, he emerged through Southampton’s academy, having signed for the Saints at the age of seven.

Less than a decade later he made his first-team debut against Huddersfield – with only Theo Walcott breaking into the side at a young age.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger then recruited Oxlade-Chamberlain for a fee in the region of £12m in 2011.

The winger scored 20 goals for Arsenal over six seasons, before departing for Liverpool last year.

Now 24, he has 31 England caps to his name – finding the net on six occasions for his country.

His younger brother, Christian, is currently on the books at Fratton Park having progressed through Pompey’s academy.

3. Mason Mount

Mason Mount had no problem declaring his Pompey allegiance when he was crowned Chelsea Academy player of the season in 2017.

‘I’m a Portsmouth boy, so I obviously support Portsmouth,’ he explained.

Now 19, Mount has more than 30 appearance in England age group sides – most recently scoring one and laying on another two in a defeat of Hungary this week.

The former Purbrook Park pupil has been at Chelsea since the age of six and is currently on loan at Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, where he has played 29 times and scored seven goals.

Mount has accrued individual and team accolades on the international stage.

He was named Golden Player at the Under-19 European Championships, where England were crowned champions.

And prior to his loan move to Holland, Mount was rewarded by Chelsea with a contract extension that keeps him tied down until 2021.

4. Matt Butcher

Boyhood Pompey fan and AFC Bournemouth midfielder, Matt Butcher enjoyed a season-long loan at Yeovil Town last season.

The former Cowplain School student featured more than 30 times for the Glovers as they helped fulfil his appetite for game time.

Denmead’s Butcher, once a regular in the North Stand, played the full 90 minutes as Yeovil lost 3-1 at Fratton Park in League Two last term.

The 20-year-old caught the eye of a Bournemouth scout in 2010 while playing for Wimbledon Park Tigers – the club where Ben Close also spent his formative years.

Butcher signed for the Cherries in 2013 and went on to skipper their under-21 side.

Prior to his loan stay at Yeovil, the defensive midfielder has also had temporary spells at Woking, Poole Town and Gosport Borough.

He made a single appearance in his month at Privett Park.

Butcher put pen to paper on a new contract in January, keeping him at Bournemouth until the summer of 2019.

5. Marlon Pack

Marlon Pack’s two-year term on the fringes of Pompey’s first-team only yielded a single appearance.

The Blues were taking on Crystal Palace in a League Cup clash at Fratton Park when boss Steve Cotterill called on the Buckland-born midfielder in extra-time.

He scored in the ensuing penalty shootout but never featured for the club again.

Pack had loan spells with Wycombe, Dagenham & Redbridge and Cheltenham between 2009-11.

And after a season-long stay at Whaddon Road, he signed permanently for Cheltenham in 2011.

Pack played 38 league games during his loan spell – adding a further 86 following the free transfer.

He remains a favourite among Robins fans and is fondly remembered for a 25-yard free-kick he arched past Torquay keeper Robert Olejnik to send Cheltenham to the 2012-13 League Two play-off final at Wembley.

Since 2013, Bristol City’s Ashton Gate has been home to the Pompey fan.

He has played more than 200 games for Lee Johnson’s side, who are currently scrapping it out for a place in the Championship play-offs.

6. Dan Butler

Dan Butler started all but one of Torquay United’s league fixtures in the 2015-16 season.

He had moved to the Devon club following an 11-year association with Pompey – the club he joined as a 10-year-old.

Loans at the Hawks and Aldershot punctuated the Isle of Wight left-back’s two years in the Blues’ professional ranks, where he made more than 50 appearances

Hailing from Cowes, Butler is now a pivotal figure for Newport County, who narrowly escaped relegation from the Football League last season.

Since 2016, Butler has amassed more than 80 games for the Exiles. His highlights include a 25-yard volley against Hartlepool in 2017, which earned him the gong for Sky Bet’s goal of the weekend.

7. John Swift

John Swift was regularly seen at Soccer City in Fareham as a youngster ahead of spells with the academies of Pompey and Chelsea.

The Brune Park student frequently featured in Stamford Bridge youth sides among players two or three years his senior – accumulating team honours along the way.

At the age of 18, he was a pivotal figure in Chelsea’s under-12 Premier League winning squad.

And he was granted a Premier League bow as a substitute – replacing Eden Hazard in the final match of Chelsea’s 2013-14 campaign.

Swift represented England from under-16 through to under-21 level and helped his country to glory in the 2016 Toulon Tournament.

Now 22, the box-to-box midfielder plays for Reading in the Championship.

Following loan spells at Rotherham, Swindon and Brentford, Swift signed a three-year deal with the Royals and scored on his debut.

Last season the Pompey fan, who has spoken of his dream of wearing the star and crescent and playing at Fratton Park, was nominated for EFL young player of the season alongside Ollie Watkins and Ryan Ledson.

8. Matt Ritchie

Unreal. That was how Matt Ritchie described his hat-trick against Gosport Borough during Pompey’s 2008 pre-season.

The Scottish international, who now plays for Newcastle United, grew up in Gosport, supporting the Blues.

He cemented a place in Pompey’s academy at the age of 13, having impressed in his hometown’s youth sides.

On April 14, 2010, Ritchie was handed his senior debut against Wigan in the Premier League.

The following season, he donned the number five shirt and started in Pompey’s opening Championship clash against Coventry.

However, he soon fell out of favour with boss Steve Cotterill and returned for a second loan spell at Swindon Town.

He was then sold to the Robins – to the dismay of Pompey supporters who had been excited by his talent.

Ritchie remained at the County Ground – racking up more than 100 appearances and scoring 24 goals – before moving to Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth for £400,000 in the 2013 January transfer window.

Swindon boss Paolo Di Canio claimed the deal had been negotiated behind his back.

Ritchie excelled in a Cherries career spanning 142 appearances and peppered with goal-of-the-season contenders, earning him international recognition with Scotland.

He had notched 31 goals for Bournemouth before Rafa Benitez – boss of newly-relegated Newcastle – came calling in 2016.

Ritchie, 28, remains a regular in a Magpies side as they re-establish themselves in the Premier League.

9. Adam Webster

Turned away by Southampton and Chelsea, Adam Webster joined Pompey’s youth set-up as a 12-year-old.

The versatile West Wittering defender was handed his senior Blues debut by Steve Cotterill as a 75nd-minute substitute against West Ham in the Championship.

He replaced Greg Halford in the 1-0 defeat at Fratton Park.

In total, Webster went on to make more than 80 appearances for Pompey, scoring five times.

A season-long loan at Conference side Aldershot provided Webster with valuable first-team involvement during the 2013-14 season and – on his return – the Chichester-born defender scored the only goal as Pompey narrowly saw off Hartlepool at Fratton Park.

He also scored in his next Blues appearance – the opening goal in a 3-2 victory against Bristol Rovers.

Webster, who earned England caps at under-17 and under-19 level, signed for Ipswich Town in 2016 – with Matt Clarke and a substantial fee moving in the other direction.

Now 23, the centre-back continues to shine in the Championship at Portman Road.

He has played 48 games for Mick McCarthy’s Tractor Boys, scoring one goal, and recently catching the eye of scouts from Everton and Sunderland.

10. James Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse was born into a family of Pompey supporters but by the age of eight had joined the academy of fierce rivals Southampton.

He gave up his Fratton Park season ticket in the process, although was in the crowd at Wembley when Sol Campbell lifted the FA Cup in 2008.

Still only 23, Ward-Prowse is a now a regular in Southampton’s first team – and the club’s current longest-serving squad member.

A former Oaklands Catholic School student, his debut came as a fresh-faced 16-year-old against Crystal Palace in 2011.

Since then, the versatile midfielder has accrued nearly 200 appearances and scored 12 goals – earning a contract extension to 2022. Ward-Prowse, who at one point secretly trained with the Hawks to toughen up, made his England bow last year.

11. Joel Ward

Joel Ward kicked off his career playing for East Lodge – less than five miles from Fratton Park.

The Emsworth right-back joined Pompey’s academy in 2006, before signing his first professional deal two years later.

He was loaned out to Bournemouth for the 2008-09 season and made his senior debut in a 2-1 triumph over Cardiff City.

Despite being dealt his first red card in a 4-1 loss to Shrewsbury, Ward amassed a total of 25 appearances for the Cherries – scoring once.

Following his return to Fratton Park in the summer of 2009, Ward was handed his first-team debut by boss Paul Hart.

He featured as centre-back in a 4-1 victory over Hereford in the League Cup.

Ward was made to wait for his Premier League debut, however.

It came eight months later under Avram Grant – playing the full 90 minutes at left-back in a goalless draw with Wigan. When Steve Cotterill adopted a 4-2-3-1 formation for the 2010-2011 season,

Ward was favoured as an attacking midfielder – following a stint at right-back that was only halted by the introduction of Wolves loanee Greg Halford.

Ward tallied six goals in 96 Pompey appearances, memorably netting a derby equaliser against Southampton at Fratton .

He joined Crystal Palace for a fee of £400,000 in May 2012 and recently celebrated his 200th appearance for at Selhurst Park.