Obituary: Keith Blackburn

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Liam Lawrence helping out in the ticket office at Fratton Park

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Tributes have been paid to Keith Blackburn who died on Tuesday, aged 73.

Blackburn will be remembered for being part of Pompey’s division three title-winning side in the 1961-62 season.

But the inside-forward will be equally recognised for his passion and commitment to a string of the club’s causes after his playing days came to a close.

Blackburn was born in Manchester and was on Bolton’s books before joining the Blues in July 1959.

He made his debut in a 3-2 win over Luton and followed that with his first goal in a 3-3 draw at Huddersfield – netting past England keeper Ray Wood.

Blackburn made 10 appearances in the 1960-61 season and went on to play 20 times the next season, scoring five goals, as Pompey won the division three title.

His final game for Pompey came in the 1963-64 season in a 1-1 draw against a Leeds side containing the likes of Jack Charlton, Billy Bremner and Norman Hunter.

He made 37 appearances, scoring eight goals.

Blackburn went on to be a success in South Africa and, unusually, featured for the international team.

He also played against a Real Madrid side containing Ferenc Puskás and Alfredo Di Stéfano and was named the South African league’s top player.

Blackburn returned to the Portsmouth area after his playing days came to a close.

It was there his Pompey passion continued to be seen with a key Ex-Portsmouth Football Club Professionals’ Reunion Club role.

Blackburn was a big fundraiser in the original SOS Pompey group, who battled to save the club in the 1970s.

He also helped raise money for the Harbour Cancer Support Centre in Gosport.

Pompey Hall of Fame chairman Jake Payne said: ‘He was a die-hard Pompey fan who loved the club and the area.’

Blackburn is survived by wife Pearl, daughter Michelle, sons Darren and Sean and grandchildren.