'˜Embarrassed' McLoughlin touched by Pompey gesture

Alan McLoughlin admitted he was initially left '˜embarrassed' by Pompey's benefit match gesture.

Thursday, 21st July 2016, 4:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st July 2016, 5:58 pm
Former Pompey player and coach Alan McLoughlin Picture: Joe Pepler

The former midfielder has been granted a Fratton Park fixture following almost 12 years service with the club as a player and then coach.

Bournemouth will on Saturday form the opposition, waiving their rights to a cut of gate receipts to ensure all profits head to the 49-year-old.

Original hopes of a benefit ended in December 1999 when sold by Alan Ball to Wigan.

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Yet following the Blues coming under committee ownership in April 2013, McLoughlin was approached about the match finally being organised.

He was dismissed as first-team coach in December 2014, yet Pompey have honoured the agreement.

And McLoughlin is grateful to the club for allowing the Fratton Park event to go ahead.

He said: ‘Mark Catlin one day pulled me aside and told me it had been decided to right a wrong and the board wanted to give me a benefit.

‘It took me by surprise, I was flattered, embarrassed to be honest, at a point when I was in the middle of my cancer treatment and having my kidney removed.

‘I kept it quiet, only Andy Awford knew, I didn’t even tell Paul Hardyman, I was a bit embarrassed by it. It’s just the way I am, I didn’t want to make it a big fuss.

‘I didn’t want it as a sympathy card thrown at me so didn’t want to say anything. Only very, very few people knew I had agreed.

‘Once I left the coaching staff I was in a bit of a limbo and then it was mentioned it was going to go ahead as contractually arranged.

‘All credit to the club, quite easily they could have fought and said “Well you have left now” but they have been really good.

‘My committee have been wonderful, particularly Ian Marshall, Malcolm Drew and Jake Payne who have really driven things along, and also thanks to Bournemouth and Paul Cook for their fantastic help.’

McLoughlin will watch the match from the Fratton end in what is sure to be an emotional occasion for himself.

He added: ‘It is closure in a way after nearly 12 years association with the club.

‘The last time I was made to leave I got out of the door as quickly as I could because I was upset, there was no point me going around shaking people’s hand.

‘I cannot go around and thank every fan that comes tomorrow but I do thank them. I cannot go around to every steward but I do thank them.

‘Whatever I did here as a player and a coach wasn’t just for me, it was for the club as well.’