Record-breaking goalkeeper Alan Knight is universally known at Fratton Park as The Legend after a Pompey playing career that spanned four decades.
No other goalkeeper has approached his number of appearances for one club, and he is easily the second-longest serving Pompey player of all time behind Jimmy Dickinson. Since making his debut, from an apprentice through the youth team, at Rotherham in April 1978 when he was still 16, Knight has another claim to fame which hopefully will never be challenged. He is the only player to have appeared in all four divisions of the Football League for Pompey.
In a 22-year playing career he was the role model of consistency, winning England youth and under-21 international caps, competing against John Lukic. But he never made the quantum leap to full international status.
Nonetheless, he served Pompey magnificently, man and boy, and played in numerous memorable games, pulling off world-class saves to ring gasps of admiration from the Fratton faithful. The 6ft 1in Balham-born keeper, who will be long remembered for his reflex saves, acrobatics and bravery in packed goalmouths, overtook in the 1990s former Chelsea star Peter Bonetti’s record of the most goalkeeping appearances (600) for one club.
In all competitions, Knightsie went on to play an incredible 801 times for Pompey before finally hanging up his gloves to become the club’s goalkeeping coach. His 800th appearance, as a substitute in a cup tie at Blackburn, saw fans in all corners of Ewood Park rising in unison to applaud his appearance on the pitch. A few weeks later, he played his last match for Pompey, at Norwich in January 2000. A year later, Knightsie’s amazing loyalty to Pompey received Royal acclaim when he was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.
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