Boys' team earn surprise Pompey player visit

Star-struck members of a boys' football team netted themselves a new coach.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 22nd January 2017, 1:48 pm
Updated Sunday, 22nd January 2017, 2:48 pm
Christian Burgess with the Skilful under-12 youngsters
Christian Burgess with the Skilful under-12 youngsters

For they were handed a surprise visit by Pompey’s Christian Burgess.

The Blues were left without a match following the cancellation of Saturday’s visit to Crawley due to a frozen pitch.

The frustrating fixture absence prompted Burgess to take to Twitter seeking suggestions for ways to spend his day.

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Yet Will Chitty, manager of Skilful Soccer Youth under-12s, never anticipated his cheeky response about joining in with coaching would earn a shock visit.

Burgess spent more than an hour overseeing the youngsters’ training session at Bransbury Park.

The central defender laid on drills and also took part in a Q&A session, before posing for photos with members of the Portsmouth Youth Football League Under-12 C Division side.

And Chitty was delighted to have the presence of one of Pompey’s star performers.

Christian Burgess watches training for the under-12 side

He said: ‘Christian mentioned on Twitter that he was bored and wanted suggestions, so I posted we trained at Bransbury Park at 12 noon and to get himself down there.

‘I thought no more of it, I didn’t think he’d read it to be honest.

‘We started the session and 30 minutes in I looked up and saw him wandering over asking for “Will”. I didn’t know what to say!

‘We asked him to take the lads through one of the sessions he does with Pompey, so he introduced a possession-based session where eight lads attempt to keep the ball, while four lads try to win it back.

Christian Burgess watches training for the under-12 side

‘Afterwards there was a bit of a Q&A and one of the lads asked Christian if he earned £50m, which raised a few laughs!

‘He was a really nice guy, fantastic with the kids, really encouraging and praising whatever they were doing.

‘We thought he would be there for 10 minutes, but he insisted he’d stay for however long we wanted him, ending up being more than an hour.

‘Apparently, others on Twitter were asking him to help with homework and some guy even wanted him to dig up a tree! Ours seemed like the best thing to do.

‘Most of the lads support Pompey and go to watch, so it really lifted them.

‘Mind you, I forgot to get my son, Ansah, a selfie with Christian – but made sure I got one with him!’

Burgess has made 70 appearances and scored six times since joining Pompey in the summer of 2015.

And the 25-year-old revealed he enjoyed delivering his impromptu coaching session.

Burgess added: ‘With the Crawley game being called off, I didn’t have anything to do, so thought I’d pop down.

‘It fitted in with the time, I was on my way back from training, knew the park and thought I’d say hello.

‘I put on a possession drill we do with the gaffer, then they played games and I watched and just shouted a little bit now and again.

‘They seemed to enjoy it, it was a nice surprise for them and there were some talented kids there. They were big Pompey fans, as are most people in the city.

‘It’s not something I have done before. I enjoyed it so why not do it again in the future if I have time off the it’s round the corner?’