The oldest living players to wear Pompey shirt

Tommy McGhee
Tommy McGhee
Pompey fans sung well past the final whistle in the previous trip to Stevanage in March 2017. Picture: Joe Pepler

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THE POMPEY fraternity yesterday remembered one of their own.

Tommy McGhee, as a player and supporter, had the star and crescent embedded in his soul.

Hall-of-famer Ron Saunders clocked up a huge 258 Pompey appearances and scored an outstanding 156 goals between 1958 and 1965

Hall-of-famer Ron Saunders clocked up a huge 258 Pompey appearances and scored an outstanding 156 goals between 1958 and 1965

That ensured the memory of the man who made 143 appearances for the Blues across five years, and lived a stone’s throw from Fratton Park until his death, will endure.

McGhee’s death meant the loss of the club’s oldest player at the age of 89.

Taking on the mantle now is former goalkeeper Maurice Leather.

Leather, who lives in Portchester, is six months McGhee’s junior at 88.

The man who was born in Eastleigh made 19 first-team appearances for Pompey between 1950 and 1953.

Leather was short for a keeper at 5ft 8in but was highly regarded for his agility and renowned for a long kick.

After Leather, Peter Higham is now the second oldest living Pompey player at 87. Higham made just a single appearance for the club – but that came in the 1949-50 title-winning season.

The forward was just 19 and an amateur when he formed part of a makeshift side which picked up a 2-0 win over Birmingham.

Next in line is Richard Pearson, at the age of 86.

Pearson, who now lives in Guildford, made four appearances for the Blues in the 1953-54 season, scoring one goal.

Although primarily a forward, Pearson made his debut as a half-back in a 1-1 draw at Blackpool, before joining Guildford City in 1955.

Two more established Pompey names are next in line, with Cyril Rutter and Ron Saunders both aged 85.

Saunders, at 85 years and six months, is three months older than Rutter.

Rutter made 180 appearances for the club over 10 years between 1953 and 1963.

The defender played in the top three divisions during his time at the club and earned a title-winners’ medal in 1962 when his side won Division Three.

Hall-of-famer Saunders clocked up a huge 258 appearances and scored an outstanding 156 goals between 1958 and 1965.

Just a single month covers the next three oldest surviving players.

Hometown boy, Mike Barnard, is 84 years and 10 months and made 123 Pompey appearances over six years between 1953 and 1959.

Bill Albury, another local lad, made 26 appearances between 1956 and 1958.

Albury, at 84 years, nine months and 21 days, is 15 days older than Ivor Evans, who made a single appearance in 1956.

– JORDAN CROSS