Linvoy Primus - Defying the odds

Linvoy Primus salutes the Fratton faithful
Linvoy Primus salutes the Fratton faithful
Brandon Haunstrup. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Linvoy Primus’s impeccable behaviour on and off the pitch means he has stole a place in all Pompey fans’ hearts.

Linvoy Primus’s impeccable behaviour on and off the pitch means he has stole a place in all Pompey fans hearts.

When he announced his retirement in December 2009, there was widespread sadness not just in Portsmouth, but with anyone who has ever met him.

Primus began his Pompey career in 2000, signing on a free from Reading, but it was the arrival of Harry Redknapp in March 2002 which ignited the Londoner’s Fratton Park career. In his first full season, coincidentally when Portsmouth won the First Division title, Primus was a revelation winning the Portsmouth Player of the season, as well as the PFA Division One Player of the Year.

Pompey’s top-flight side started without Primus, with Redknapp opting for a 3-5-2 formation. With Pompey on a horrendous run of form, Redknapp brought back Primus, whose assurity and determination ensured Pompey’s excellent remained in the Premiership.

The following season saw Primus start all but two of Pompey’s league games, with a particular highlight coming on Boxing Day and his first Premiership goal against Crystal Palace. When Redknapp left Pompey, with Alan Perrin taking charge, it looked as though Linvoy’s days were numbered, especially when he rarely featured. However, when Harry Redknapp re-emerged at Fratton Park in 2006, Primus was back in the side and featured in ‘the Great Escape’. Redknapp has always been a fan of Primus, and his initial idea that Primus was not good enough for Division One, let alone the Premiership was emphatically proven wrong.

2006-07 brought Pompey’s highest league position to date, an impressive 9th place. Redknapp declared Linvoy his ‘unofficial’ Player of the Season, but Primus’s finest moment came on Boxing Day 2006, where he scored two headers at Upton Park in a 2-0 win against West Ham United. This was all the more remarkable as he only managed five goals in his career at Fratton Park.

Primus was not involved in the FA Cup success that followed the year after because of a career threatening knee operation. Thankfully Linvoy recovered, and then after a short loan spell at Charlton, returned to Fratton Park for the penultimate game of 2008-09. He received a standing ovation and was cheered everytime he touched the ball by his beloved admirers.

Sadly, on December 8, due to a recurring knee injury, Primus retired from football. However, if any Pompey fans thought they had seen the last of Linvoy Primus, they were very much mistaken. If you utter the man’s name on the streets of Portsmouth, every Pompey fan will have a different story to tell about how they will remember the ‘legend’. Primus now has an ambassadorial role at the club, giving something back to the community, further testament to the character of the 36 year old.

Pompey fans have started a petition to see Primus receive a knighthood, but even if he doesn’t, he has captured the hearts of Pompey fans for ever.

All the best, (Sir) Linvoy

Linvoy Primus: 198 apps, 5 goals.