A genuine honour.
That’s David James’ reaction to being inducted into the Pompey Hall of Fame.
The former Blues goalkeeper admitted going through ‘every emotion’ in an eventful four-year stay at Fratton Park which had it all – from FA Cup glory to administration and relegation.
But the man voted Pompey’s player of the season in his first two campaigns in 2007 and 2008, could not have been more proud to be recognised by his ‘favourite club’ at Friday night’s packed-out Victory Suite ceremony.
‘Jamo’, as he was affectionately known, joined fellow fans’ favourites George Ley, Kevin Dillon and Billy Wilson in the esteemed class of 2015.
There were also posthumous inductions for double championship-winning forward Ike Clarke – received by daughter Christine Burrows, and Olympic gold medalist Arthur Egerton Knight, whose grandson Keith Knight accepted his award.
James said: ‘It (being inducted) is a genuine honour.
‘I was at the club for only four years but in my career that was a long time.
‘This was my second-longest serving club as a professional.
‘I have been asked at other clubs (to join their hall of fame) but shied away from it.
Of all of the clubs I have been at, this is my favourite – genuinely.David James
‘But of all of the clubs I have been at, this is my favourite – genuinely.
‘I have been through every emotion you could go through at a club, from winning the FA Cup to relegation and administration.
‘To have all of that happen in four years and to have the vote of confidence by the fans, essentially, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, I am honoured and proud.’
James appeared in two FA Cup finals at Wembley for the Blues – the first the 1-0 triumph over Cardiff in 2008, which brought the famous trophy back to Fratton Park after a 69-year gap.
In 2010, he captained Pompey in their semi-final victory over Spurs and in the ensuing 1-0 loss to Chelsea became the oldest keeper at 39 to appear in a final.
That proved to be James’ last appearance for the Blues, who were relegated from the Premier League while under adminstration. But he has remained a keen follower of the club since his July 2010 departure.
The 44-year-old said: ‘I have been back (to Fratton Park) in the last few weeks to a couple of games and to the 16-17,000 fans here.
‘I have also been to see Pompey away – I didn’t tell anyone but when they were up at Stevenage last season (a 2-1 FA Cup defeat) I went there and watched them.
‘It’s funny when people talk about the quality of fans and who has got the best support.
‘They usually refer to the Premier League sides as they have got the numbers. But given that the 20,000 people at Fratton Park is 10-per-cent of Portsmouth’s population, it just shows you how massive the support is percentage-wise.
‘And now that the fans and supporters’ trust own the club, it is going in the right direction.
‘Granted, they are not in the division they want to be in, but at least they are still in the division and looking up.’
As far as Pompey highlights go, it was diffcult for former England international James to look past the Blues’ FA Cup win, even if he missed out on some of the celebrations.
He said: ‘Winning the FA Cup was amazing.
‘Funnily enough, when the final whistle had gone and all of the lads were running around and celebrating, I just stood back and watched them celebrate.
‘But I then had to do a drugs test after the game and I actually missed the changing-room celebrations, so I missed a lot of the good bits!’