Bobby Doyle – farewell to one of my Portsmouth ‘originals’

Just as we are still coming to terms with the sad loss of Mick Kennedy, we have lost another great Pompey servant.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 1:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 3:00 pm
Pompeys Bobby Doyle carves his way through a trio of Fulham players

Days after a wonderful Fratton Park tribute to Mick Kennedy, news broke that Bobby Doyle had passed away, aged just 65.

It was never going to make as many headlines as the death of Scully, but it should have done. Doyle played for Pompey for five years and scored 18 goals in 188 games.

I think the line-up that features in the first game you see your team play stays with you forever, keeping a special place in your heart. And Doyle was in my original Pompey line-up.

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He was as important to the team of 81-82 (my first season) and 82-83 (division three title winners) as Kennedy was to the XI that evolved a couple of years later.

I remember Doyle as a combative midfielder, a tough tackler but good passer, too, and one who had an eye for goal – and for the odd spectacular strike.

From my spectating position on the old terrace beneath the South Stand, I can still see in my mind's eye a glorious chip that got us back into a game with Notts County in November 1984.

For a good chunk of his Fratton spell Doyle was our penalty-taker – though he was one of many hit by 12-yard jitters during that 82-83 season when the Blues, despite missing a few spot-kicks, won the title.

He was still in the side in Alan Ball’s first full season as boss, 1984-85, and I remember another of his goals in the famous 3-2 defeat at Plough Lane – the one that Noel Blake and Alan Knight prefer not to talk about.

The Scot played his last game for the Blues in the first game of 85-86 at Hull – the club he was to join.

A broken leg ended his career early, and now he is another who has been taken from us too soon – but the memories he made live on.