Pompey mourn passing of former right-back

Former Pompey defender Tommy McGhee
Former Pompey defender Tommy McGhee
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

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POMPEY are mourning the death of Tommy McGhee, at the age of 89.

A right-back during First Division days, he had been the Blues’ oldest-living player.

However, he passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning following a heart attack the previous weekend.

McGhee left the Royal Navy to become a Pompey professional in May 1954 and went on to make 148 appearances, without scoring.

He was initially signed as an amateur by manager Eddie Lever – on a platform at Portsmouth Harbour train station.

Based at HMS Daedalus, he was heading home to Manchester for a few days over Christmas, having been given leave of absence.

However, Lever turned up in a taxi in a late dash to obtain the defender’s signature on amateur forms.

It proved timely, as McGhee was then approached by Leyton Orient boss Alec Stock on his return train journey days later.

While on Pompey’s books, he earned three England amateur caps, making his debut in a 1-0 defeat at Holland in March 1954, in front of 58,000 in Rotterdam.

Subsequent appearances came against Scotland at Wembley and Wales at Rexville in Newport, the home of the dissolved Lovell’s Athletic.

After coming out of service, McGhee signed professional forms at Fratton Park in May 1954 at the age of 25.

He was handed a Division One debut in November 1954 against Everton, resulting in a 5-0 Fratton Park success.

A crowd of 32,403 saw a Blues triumph, with Gordon Dale netting twice, along with goals from Jackie Henderson, Johnny Gordon and an own goal.

McGhee was a regular at right-back over the next five seasons in Division One, playing alongside the likes of Jimmy Dickinson, Norman Uprichard, Len Phillips, Peter Harris, Alex Wilson and Ron Saunders.

Ultimately, he fell out of favour following the arrival of Freddie Cox as Lever’s replacement in June 1958.

Following a bust up, McGhee’s final Pompey outing was a 4-4 draw at Spurs in February 1959.

He spent a season at Reading, before dropping into non-league with Poole Town, where he made 285 appearances, and then briefly with Fareham.

Living in Vernon Avenue, a stone’s throw from Fratton Park, McGhee was a season-ticket holder until his death.

Tommy McGhee – May 10, 1929 - May 19, 2018