Ex-skipper makes return on weekend of Pompey nostalgia

Dejan Stefanovic salutes the Fratton faithful during his visit to Pompey on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler
Dejan Stefanovic salutes the Fratton faithful during his visit to Pompey on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler
Bradley Lethbridge. Picture: Colin Farmery

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Dejan Stefanovic received a warm Fratton Park reception after returning to the sacred turf.

And the former skipper was in fine company on a weekend of nostalgia for Pompey supporters.

Stefanovic travelled from his home in Belgrade, Serbia, to attend the launch of Played Up Pompey Too.

The central defender made 125 appearances and scored three goals during his four years on the south coast.

It was excellent service which resulted in his inclusion in the new book written by The News’ chief sports writer, Neil Allen.

And Stefanovic was in attendance for Friday night’s Victory Lounge launch, along with a host of other familiar faces.

Steve Claridge, Paul Walsh, John Milkins, Colin Garwood and John McClelland were also present at the event, which attracted more than 300 supporters.

Former striker Garwood himself had travelled with his wife from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, for the occasion.

Yet none could match the distance negotiated by Stefanovic, who arranged a week-long stay in England around the book launch.

In addition, he also took in the Blues’ home clash with Fleetwood, accompanied by wife Maria and daughter Jenny.

And there was a familiar feeling to the subsequent 4-1 scoreline – with Stefanovic having been part of Alain Perrin’s side which beat Southampton by the same margin in April 2005.

That special occasion ranks among the 42-year-old’s great memories at a club he regards as his favourite during his football career.

Still, those present on Friday night had the opportunity to quiz Pompey favourites on a number of issues during the three-hour event.

Co-hosted by ITV and talkSPORT’s Sam Matterface, there were a collection of wonderful stories and amusing anecdotes throughout the night.

Meanwhile, the club’s Barry Harris even treated the audience to his story about once peaking into Kanu’s passport to check his age.

Another special guest was the League Two trophy, with supporters able to have their photo taken with it, for a donation of their choice.

That resulted in more than £40 raised for the Pompey Former Players Association, of which all the guests are automatically included as members.

Played Up Pompey Too come out this month and contains fresh interviews with 23 Fratton favourites.

It is priced £17.99 and is available from Waterstones, Lakeside and amazon.co.uk/Played-Pompey-Too-Neil-Allen/dp/191042112X