Weld blows final whistle on long and popular Pompey career

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He started off his Fratton life as Jimmy Dickinson’s assistant.

Now Paul Weld has stepped down after 38 years of staunch Pompey service.

The Blues secretary retired from his position on Monday, bringing the curtain down on the career of a hugely-popular club figure.

Ever since 1973, Weld has been a fixture at the home of the club he has spent his life supporting.

During that time, he has served alongside 19 permanent managers, experienced nine changes of ownership – overseen by 10 different owners and encompassing two periods of administration.

Pompey fans speak warmly of their encounters with the unassuming 63-year-old, who thought nothing of going out of his way to help others.

Weld will remain a Fratton regular, sitting in the South stand, having been made a life season ticket holder.

There was never any chance of him deserting the famous old ground forever.

His fond memories of working for the club in the city of his birth will never fade.

And, in particular, serving as assistant secretary to the legendary Dickinson upon his arrival all those years ago.

Weld said: ‘In 1973 I was working at the FA and got talking to (former chairman) John Deacon, who was with Eoin Hand for a disciplinary hearing.

‘I was assigned to them and, being a Pompey fan, laughingly said if any jobs came up to let me know. I didn’t expect to hear any more but six months later, I received a letter saying the assistant secretary, Les Spink, was retiring and would I be interested in an interview?

‘So I went to John Deacon’s offices in Cumberland Place, Southampton, and got the job.

‘The same day John Mortimore was appointed manager.

‘I was working under Jimmy Dickinson, who was secretary at the time, and he really was my idol.

‘He was a fantastic player and great legend. To work for him was absolutely wonderful.

‘He was everything you expected, a true gentleman and charming man.

‘Jimmy epitomised Portsmouth – sadly I didn’t know him long enough before his death in 1982.

‘He was so laid back, hardly drank and, although smoked a pipe, was in great health.

‘It was such a shock when he had that first heart attack and then died a while later.

‘I’ve worked with some great people and some not so great but it has never been dull at this football club.

‘You can’t really beat working for a club you support.’

Fittingly, Weld was born at St Mary’s Hospital in earshot of the Fratton roar.

At the age of 25, Pompey came calling.

Weld’s personal highlight was witnessing the 2008 FA Cup final triumph.

And, of course, there have been the special people along the way.

He added: ‘Managers like Bally (Alan Ball), Jimmy Smith, Harry (Redknapp) were great people to work for and all different.

‘Tony Barton was a particular favourite of mine.

‘He took me under his wing when I arrived – he was chief scout at the time. What a fantastic guy.

‘Then there have been the players. Paul Walsh was always a great favourite of mine, Norman Piper, too.

‘Robert Prosinecki was a different class. I also used to love watching Neil Webb and Steve Aizlewood.

‘That 2008 FA Cup side as well, people like Lassana Diarra, Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin.

‘Then there have been my match-day staff, the likes of Len Couzens, the late Ken Bell, Eddy Wilson, Chris Gibbs and Lyn Buckner.

‘These people go unnoticed yet do a fantastic job.

‘And, of course, my wife Janine for putting up with the job.

‘It has been a rollercoaster and great honour to work for the club – and I’ll continue to support them from the stands.’