The Cross Word: Kitmen clean up the 92 on Pompey duty

Barry Harris delivers his trademark pumped-fist salute this season. Picture: Joe Pepler
Barry Harris delivers his trademark pumped-fist salute this season. Picture: Joe Pepler
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They’ve worked for Pompey for a combined 65 years.

Now long-serving pair Kev McCormack and Barry Harris have hit a memorable landmark on Pompey duty.

After the recent win at Cambridge, the duo have laid out kit together at each of the 92 clubs in English league football.

To mark the occasion you have helped list questions for our Blues stalwarts to answer.

This week, it’s Barry’s turn...

Congrats on the landmark, Baz. Whose shirts are the favourites you’ve collected over the years?

Frank Lampard’s is my best. He signed it to ‘Mr Pompey’. That’s nice.

The one I still keep in touch with is Alan Smith, who played for Leeds, Newcastle and Manchester United.

He was at the school at Lilleshall when I was doing a medics’ course with Neil Sillett in 1994.

I got to know him then – and he’s given me a shirt from every club he’s played for.

Paolo di Canio’s is another favourite. My grandson has most of them now, though!

What was your first ground working with the club?

My first was in the 1966-67 season when I went to Blackburn with Gordon (Neave).

We finished at 20 to five and we 
had to be showered, changed and packed to be on the coach at 5.19pm 
to get the train from Preston to Euston.

I’d been going as boy mascot before that but that was my first working.

Where did your trademark pumped-fist salute come from?

I honestly don’t know! I wasn’t quite aware of it, really.

I know me and Sylvain Distin wound up the Manchester United fans at Old Trafford doing it when we won there in 2008.

We did it to the Stretford End – and he’d been Manchester City captain the year before!

What’s your favourite Pompey away 

I like the all-white ones. They look smart – but they are a nightmare to get clean.

You don’t like it as a kit man! It ends up in the bath in bleach!

What are the best and worst grounds?

I wouldn’t like to say worst but some are worse than others.

Accrington is a nightmare with the facilities but you have to respect they have come back into the league.

The Emirates and Old Trafford are the best but don’t forget Wolverhampton.

And best moment of the 92-club tour?

Well it’s not one of the 92 clubs but winning the FA Cup at Wembley.

That and beating Manchester United at Old Trafford in the quarter-final – that was when we won it really.

And best and worst manager?

Favourite? Harry (Redknapp). I like this one now, Awfs. I’ve known him a long time. I don’t want him to fail.

The least favourite? I suppose you have to look at the way Freddie Cox ruined us.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen?

There have been some funny moments.

On my 53rd birthday at West Brom, we were at the hotel near the ground when Neil Sillett and John Durnin stripped all my clothes off me, chucked water all over my bed and tied me to a chair in the corridor.

There were people walking by – and I hadn’t a stitch on!

So what have you got to say about your work mate?

Kev has been as good as gold. We shout at each other but I can honestly say we’ve never had an argument.

He wouldn’t deceive you and if he’s got something to say, he says it. You’ve got a friend in Kev, a good friend.