Wilson’s Wisdom: Real privilege to have played a part in Pompey coverage

Peter Crouch celebrates after scoring his second goal at Guimaraes in October 2008    Picture: Steve Reid
Peter Crouch celebrates after scoring his second goal at Guimaraes in October 2008 Picture: Steve Reid
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In case you didn’t already know, this is set to be your final dose of Wilson’s Wisdom, unless I can ever be bothered to write a blog in the future.

After eight-and-a-half memorable years doing this job, I’m heading off for pastures new.

Although I’ve been a Pompey fan since the mid 1980s, I joined the newspaper in August 2007 and by the time you read this, my desk will have been cleared.

It was the toughest decision I’ve ever faced in leaving a job – most of the time, someone else decides for me...

But it’s been more than just a regular job and I’ll take with me some amazing memories.

I’m leaving behind colleagues who I consider to be good friends and walking away from a paper I grew up reading.

I first did work experience at The News when I was still at school in 1991 and remember being chuffed about seeing my by-line above a tenpin bowling story.

Mike Neasom was the Pompey writer at the time and I did my best to listen in on a telephone conversation he was having with Blues boss Jim Smith as some weird scribbles were being jotted down on his notepad.

I didn’t quite have the guts to ask Mike about the juicy off-the-record details – he looked like a man who didn’t want to be bothered by a keen 16-year-old.

Since 2007, I’ve seen the club enjoying the highest highs and enduring its lowest lows – dark days when many people at the club genuinely believed the doors were about to be closed once and for all.

At times, it felt like intruding into someone else’s grief at a family funeral, asking questions I didn’t really want to ask. On other days, it felt like you were a plus one at a wedding and were taking up the groom’s time during his celebrations when he would 
much rather be talking to someone else.

But then there were those times when you felt part of it all and had an important role to play in relaying information to readers.

Whether it was a manager’s appointment or departure, a new player’s arrival or the post-match coverage, there is a definite buzz in being there in the thick of it.

I’ve definitely asked some stupid questions in my time and I’ve probably formed a few silly opinions down the years.

I’ve fielded some sharp criticism from readers and I’ve also occasionally received emails from those who have kindly taken the trouble to write some nice words.

I’ve shared some good laughs with staff at Fratton and I’ve had a few blazing rows, too.

The one that still stands out was Steve Cotterill going ballistic after I dared to ask whether Liam Lawrence was to blame after a red card in a 4-3 defeat at West Ham in 2011. (Apart from that, we actually got on quite well).

But I was in the press box at Wembley when Pompey won the FA Cup, I spoke to Tony Adams in the immediate aftermath of the AC Milan match and talked to Peter Crouch about his goals in Guimaraes.

I’ve been told on a number of occasions how people would give their right arm to do a job I wanted to do since the age of 14.

So thanks for reading. I know full well I’ve been lucky to do this job and I will definitely miss it.

But now it’s someone else’s turn.