Pompey Hall of Fame accolade so surreal for Hillier
GEMMA HILLIER described the news she will be inducted into the Pompey Hall of Fame as surreal.
The striker has become the first Pompey Ladies player to be recognised and is one of five new entries, along with Alan Rogers, Mark Hateley, Mick Kennedy and a posthumous award for Alex Wilson.
Hillier, from Lee-on-the-Solent, is a lifelong Blues fan and has just retired from playing for Pompey Ladies.
She served the club for 17 years after making her debut at 13.
Pompey Ladies chairman Mick Williams revealed the Hall of Fame news to her first.
She said: ‘Mick sent me a list of names from the Hall of Fame and they are international players who have played for years and years, and for clubs like AC Milan.
‘Then there’s little, old me. Someone who goes to work every day and plays football in the evenings. It’s a different world, it’s surreal.
‘This is a big statement by the club, they do back us.
‘Hopefully in the future it will lead to bigger things for Pompey Ladies.
‘I’m proud of myself and my family are incredibly proud as well.’
It was an emotional occasion for Hillier on Sunday.
She watched Pompey Ladies beat Lewes 3-2 after the announcement was made about her retirement to focus on her England beach soccer career.
‘Stopping playing for Pompey Ladies was the biggest decision I’ve had to make in my life,’ she added.
‘I’ve supported Pompey since I was six years old and I could never imagine playing for another team.’
The Hall of Fame dinner when the quintet will be inducted is scheduled for Friday, March 9.
– DAVID BRAWN