Macca delights at chance to say his Blues goodbyes
Alan McLoughlin has welcomed Pompey's decision to award him a benefit game against Bournemouth this summer and admitted: It will give me a chance to say goodbye.
Macca, as he is commonly known, was controversially axed from the Blues’ coaching staff in December 2014 – a decision that upset the Fratton hero.
But the former Republic of Ireland midfielder has praised the club for honouring a pre-existing agreement to recognise his seven-year playing career at the Fratton Park club, also cut short in the ’90s.
McLoughlin, though, does not want the day to be all about him.
He himself sees the game against the Premier League Cherries on Saturday, July 23, as a key part in Paul Cook’s pre-season preparations.
He said: ‘It is a big battle when you come from Southampton down the road to play for Portsmouth.
‘There have been very few who have made that journey, let alone stayed a significant amount of time and made it into the Hall of Fame.
‘Seventeen years ago in December 1999, though, I left the football club disappointed.
‘I left because I was the only saleable player – basically, if I didn’t go to Wigan I would have never played again for the club.
‘The benefit game Alan Ball put in my contract would have then been played against a non-league club – every obstacle was put in front of me to make sure I went.
‘But that is football.
‘I took it on the chin – as I had to in December 2014, the second time.
‘Again, I was bitterly disappointed but I kept my dignity and made a formal statement.
‘This Bournemouth game will give me a chance to formally say goodbye to the supporters – I didn’t get that chance in December 2014.
‘I would like to say thank you to Paul Cook, who has been supportive from when I spoke to him when he first took over and to the club for righting some wrongs and making this happen.
‘I also have to say a huge thanks to Eddie Howe and to Bournemouth, who are not going to split the fees with the football club – it is going to go into the benefit fund, which is a kind gesture.’
McLoughlin, though, will not be tempted to lace up the boots for one last time.
He added: ‘There will be none of that nonsense – I don’t want old players wheeled onto the pitch!
‘That was the one thing that I didn’t want the game to be.
‘The one thing I do need to stress is that this is a normal pre-season game and for the benefit of Paul Cook, his staff and the team.
‘There will be nothing different or special from me.
‘I would like to maybe come onto the pitch and say thank you to the fans before the game.
‘But apart from that – that will be it in terms of my contribution.’
Tickets are priced at £10 for adults, £5 for seniors (62+) and young persons (18-22), and £2 for juniors (17 and under) – with a family ticket priced at £20.
McLoughlin added: ‘We have priced the tickets in such a way that it will encourage people and families to come to the game.
‘Myself and the committee made sure it is an affordable game and one people should want to come and see and support Portsmouth.’