Pompey favourite at Fratton Park to sign autobiography

Former Pompey player Eoin Hand, right
Former Pompey player Eoin Hand, right
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Pompey Hall of Famer Eoin Hand has launched an autobiography detailing his remarkable career.

And the Blues favourite is appearing at Fratton Park on Saturday to autograph copies for supporters.

Hand made 307 appearances and scored 14 goals during two spells with Pompey.

The central defender was recruited by George Smith from Drumcondra in October 1968 and also went on to represent the Republic of Ireland 20 times.

He later managed his country for five years, along with a period as boss at Huddersfield.

Now Hand has published his autobiography ‘First Hand’ and fans have the opportunity to buy a signed copy ahead of the visit of Plymouth Argyle.

The 71-year-old will be in the Victory Lounge from 1pm to 2.45pm to sign copies of the book, which will be on sale for a reduced price of £15.

Hand, whose Pompey career finished in May 1979, will also be a guest of the club at the game and is to be presented to the crowd at half-time.

In terms of his Pompey days, in the book the Irishman reflects on his Fratton Park managers – Smith, John Mortimore, Ian St John and Jimmy Dickinson – and the booze and fags culture at the club in the 1970s.

There was also the time he feared for his life, as an Irishman, when he lined up for Pompey.

During his playing days, Hand befriended stars such as George Best and Mike Summerbee and also took a personal stand against the apartheid regime in South Africa while playing there during the English summer.

There was also the occasion he threw a punch at West German legend Franz Beckenbauer – and was beaten for simply having the temerity as a boy in 1950s Ireland to play the ‘foreign game’ of football.

While in August 1997, he was read the last rites by a priest having been hospitalised with acute pancreatitis. Yet, in terms of club football, it is Pompey which provided Hand’s happiest playing days and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

He remains a regular attendee at such events.

And he will once again be at Fratton Park on Saturday to meet with Pompey supporters.

‘First Hand’ is priced at £17.99 and available from Amazon.

However, the book will be discounted to £15 while on sale Saturday.