Knight: A wonderful weekend for ex-Pompey players
As a footballer, when the day arrives to finish playing you begin to feel you are forgotten.
You no longer receive those cheers or get that buzz, the adulation is no more – and you miss it.
It is an addictive thing – and that is why last weekend was so wonderful for Pompey’s former footballers.
We had the Hall of Fame on the Friday night and Saturday was the Pompey Former Players Day, totalling more than 50 ex-professionals.
Such occasions bring back memories and to receive applause on the pitch at half-time against Carlisle made them feel worthwhile.
There was even the familiar ‘Toddy’ chant for Svetoslav Todorov – a player who suffered such a cruel quirk of luck when injured on the eve of the 2003-04 Premier League season.
Toddy was also one of four players inducted into the Hall of Fame the previous night, the others being Dave Kemp, Noel Blake and Billy ‘Farmer’s Boy’ Haines.
I thought the evening went very well and congratulations to Jake Payne, Tom Jeffes, Hazel Hatch and all the girls who worked so hard.
It was professionally done, with lessons learned from previous years, while the video input of Dan Smith was excellent.
As for the inductees, as ever they were humbled to receive such an acknowledgement from the club they served so superbly.
Kempy was in the first-team when I was a schoolboy and used to give me a lift to Croydon train station on occasions.
I later was goalkeeping coach when he arrived under caretaker boss Bob McNab before staying on to work with Tony Pulis for what has been a long association.
Obviously, I played many times with Noel and the central-defensive partnership he shared with Billy Gilbert was a special one.
It seems like the whole of Portsmouth were there for the Wimbledon backpass game, but it’s a shame he’s remembered for that. He was actually a very good, old-fashioned, proper centre-half who was good at heading and kicking it.
As for Toddy, he’s a lovely lad and like another player from abroad in that team, Arjan De Zeeuw, it meant a hell of a lot to be inducted.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the London Pompey Supporters’ Club on a tremendous evening on Saturday.
At their annual meal, Kev McCormack was recognised with an award for his long-service, while Ben Davies was named as their player of the season.