So now the secret is out – my personal all-time Pompey XI has been revealed.
As mentioned in this column last week, picking my line-up for the pompeyelevens.com website was unbearably tough, and even now it’s public I’m half tempted to change it.
For those who have not seen it, here it is: Knight, Neill, Daniel, Blake, Gilbert, Kennedy, Dillon, Prosinecki, Hilaire, Biley, Hateley.
You can read the reasoning for my selections at the elevens website and it has already caused a fair bit of debate, with questions ranging from ‘where’s Diarra?’ to ‘where’s the pace?’
It didn’t occur to me while I was picking it that my starting line-up included only one player from the year 2000 onwards (apart from The Legend, who covers all eras), and none from the 02-03 promotion team nor the Premier League era or FA Cup-winning era.
That wasn’t deliberate – I just felt drawn to the Fratton figures I watched in the 1980s, and to a lesser extent the 90s.
I also went for pairs of players – Neill and Daniel as the full-backs, Blake and Gilbert the central defenders, Kennedy and Dillon in central midfield and Biley and Hateley up front.
I greedily added seven subs to my squad, five from that 02-03 team, plus Guy Whittingham and Paul Walsh. Even then I had a couple of sleepless nights that I’d found no room for Toddy. Poor Toddy.
Everyone will have their own favourites to put in their Pompey XI and the guys at pompeyelevens.com would welcome other suggestions. See how many people you can upset!