Dillon: Bally's Pompey side fought opponents, not each other

They were one of the most intimidating sides in Pompey history.

Monday, 28th November 2016, 2:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 4:42 pm
Pompeys 1986-87 promotion-winning side, with Kevin Dillon top right

But Kevin Dillon insists he never witnessed fist fights among team-mates during Alan Ball’s memorable first reign.

Now the Hall-of-Famer has called for the Blues to move swiftly on from the Christian Burgess and Michael Doyle fracas.

Instead, he believes management, players and supporters should focus on promotion.

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The midfielder made 258 appearances for Pompey, netting 58 times, and was part of Ball’s feared promotion-winning side of 1986-87.

Also containing the likes of Mick Kennedy, Noel Blake, Billy Gilbert, Mick Quinn and Mick Tait, they were a physically imposing opposition.

But despite run-ins and arguments among the group, primarily with manager Ball, Dillon is adamant punches were never thrown.

He said: ‘Never ever, ever was there a fight like that where fists were thrown and people hurt physically.

‘I have never ever had one or seen one on the training ground either. Ever.

‘We respected each other. In this day and age you have to be dead precise in what you say and do, it’s a different world.

‘I’ve had fights with other players – John Fashanu for one. About 10 of us had fights with Fashanu after the game and for one of them I didn’t even realise I had a fractured cheekbone!

‘We also had big arguments and big confrontations with Blackburn for some reason.

‘I remember going into the other dressing rooms after games and having a go at people.

‘But never, ever have I thrown a punch or deliberately kicked a team-mate, ever. Nobody will believe that with the Pompey team we had!

‘The biggest arguments we had were with Bally, but he would forget about it the next day, he never held grudges.

‘Bally was probably the bloke everybody argued with, but we all loved him, he was brilliant.

‘He motivated you, put you back into your place, then built you up again, but it was never, ever physical.’

Burgess and Doyle were substituted at half-time of Saturday’s encounter with Stevenage.

The pair were disciplined having been involved in a fight which left Burgess with a cut head.

Dillon, though, is encouraged the pair were spotted leaving Fratton Park together on Saturday night and believes everyone should now move on.

He added: ‘If somebody punched me without me realising it was going to happen then I wouldn’t be walking out the stadium with them, that would be it.

‘But it must be getting sorted out in the dressing room to do that and I think that is encouraging.

‘They must have been sitting in there together after half-time thinking “what the hell have we done?”

‘You move on, it’s in the past now, they are only four points off the promotion spots.

‘I’m please they left together, they probably both regret what happened.

‘So tell people the full story, apologise and move on.’