Kellard: Fight with St John finished me at Pompey

Bobby Kellard.
Bobby Kellard.
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This Christmas sees Played Up Pompey Too hit the shelves.

Written by The News’ chief sports writer Neil Allen, the book contains fresh interviews with 23 of the Fratton faithful’s favourite players.

Continuing this week’s series of extracts is Bobby Kellard, who made 176 appearances and scored 18 goals for the club.

I didn’t take offence if somebody had a go back, I think that is healthy. I can quite easily have a row with somebody and forget it. Be dead honest and move on – but a lot of people aren’t like that

Another I had words with was Ian St John, who replaced John Mortimore as manager in September 1974 and didn’t do one good thing at the club.

The Scot was a nasty bloke, didn’t have a clue. What was bad about him? Everything.

As for his assistant Billy Hunter, he was very quiet and didn’t say a word, I don’t think I ever spoke to him.

That pair were only present at training for the five-a-side, they always wanted to join in.

One day St John got the ball, I tackled him and he jumped out of the way and shouted. I said ‘If you can’t take it mate, you had better not play. When I train this is where I get my time in for tackling, I am not going to avoid tackling you’.

Pompey’s boss wanted me out no matter how I was playing, it was politics and then your confidence suffers.

Mick Mellows was ahead of me and, for one particular game, was an injury doubt.

In front of the players, St John told me that if Mick failed his fitness test I would play. If he was okay then I wouldn’t be named as a substitute, but would still be on a crowd and a win bonus.

Anyhow, Mick was fit, I was 13th man and the following week I asked George Graham ‘George, did you get your money this week? I’ve haven’t received any bonus’. He had.

So I went to see St John in his office and the first thing he said was ‘You are a cheat’. I shouted back ‘What is it best to be – a cheat or a liar? You lied in front of all your players, that goes down well.’

People can say whatever they like about me but I am not a cheat, I never have been.

That was the beginning of the end for me at Pompey, especially when I knocked him down!

Upon entering the room, he got up from his seat and, by the end of it, I had shoved him on his shoulder to knock him back into his chair. It was more a push than anything.

His little mate Hunter was there as well and didn’t do anything.

Not that I even got a fine for that. I should have bashed him up, if it had been on the field I would have kicked him around and he would have screamed.

n Played Up Pompey Too is priced at £17.99 and available from Waterstones in Portsmouth, Fareham and Petersfield and local newsagents.

It can also be ordered from Amazon.