Alan Knight: I'm enjoying my fifth Pompey promotion

Let's enjoy the moment.

Tuesday, 18th April 2017, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:41 pm
The Pompey players celebrate promotion from the boardroom balcony at Meadow Lane following Mondays 3-1 win against Notts County Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey have won promotion following an extremely emotional day for us all at Notts County.

What a brilliant effort from everyone involved, on and off the pitch, and those wonderful fans who have had to put up with a lot over the years now wear a smile.

For me it was the fifth promotion since associated with the club – and first I have been able to savour sober!

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Hopefully, there will be another two to add to that before I am done.

My first was the 1979-80 campaign under Frank Burrows, when we finished fourth in Division Four to go up.

I made eight league appearances that season but was still an apprentice so didn’t travel with the side for the season finale at Northampton.

We won 2-0 to earn promotion, with myself and a few of the apprentices already at the Pompey pub when the team turned up to celebrate.

Like Monday evening at Fratton Park, we marked the occasion by drinking with supporters and that was an excellent night.

For the 1982-83 season, I was part of Bobby Campbell’s side that was promoted with two matches to go – but still had the issue of the Division Three title.

Top spot was claimed with a 1-0 victory at Plymouth in the final game, with Alan Biley giving us the win.

Then there was Alan Ball’s 1986-87 team, although we were promoted after Oldham had failed to beat Shrewsbury, sending us up in midweek without Pompey kicking a ball.

By the time Harry Redknapp led us to the Premier League in 2002-03, I was a coach so it was an entirely different feeling.

As a player you are engrossed in what is going on at the time, whereas a coach is on the periphery and looking at the bigger picture – I much preferred to be playing in a promotion side.

Being a coach, you are keeping track of results around the county and have no control over what happens on the pitch, unlike players.

You are more or less a supporter. I’m not being disrespectful, it doesn’t mean any less, it’s just a different scenario and different emotions.

So there I was in the Meadow Lane press box working for Express FM and watching Paul Cook’s men against the Magpies.

Thankfully, Jamal Lowe wrote his name in Pompey folklore by scoring twice after coming on as a substitute.

There was a lot of relief in many ways and I’m sure everyone is really pleased to have achieved promotion with games to spare.

I can tell you, the longer it goes on, the nervier it gets!