Column: RIP Frank Burrows - the first man I saw boss Portsmouth

A couple of years ago, after Bobby Doyle passed away, I wrote in this column that the first starting XI you see playing for your team stays in your mind for life. And Bobby was in that team for me.

Well, the same applies to managers and Frank Burrows was in the manager’s seat at Fratton when I first became a fan 40 years ago.

So it was with great sadness a few days that I learned he’d died – just a couple of weeks, of course, after Joe Laidlaw, a player who’d helped Frank’s team of 79-80 to a division four promotion spot that’s still celebrated today.

That was Frank’s most successful year at Pompey and it was a couple of years before I was going.

Former Pompey boss Frank Burrows on a return visit to Fratton Park in 2018.

But I remember Frank’s team of 1981-82 so well – even if they achieved only a lower mid-table spot that got him the sack before the campaign was out.

I also vividly remember his return to the job in January 1990.

We’d been ground down by a forgettable year or so under the management of John Gregory, and Frank’s first game back – away to Stoke – brought a constant chorus of Frankie Burrows’ blue and white army, wonderful to be part of.

Sadly his Pompey powers were not as they had been a decade earlier and he too was dispensed with in March 1991.

I was in my early days as a contributor to the matchday programme in Frank’s second spell and was tasked one day with interviewing him in the Fratton Park changing room after training.

I remember two things – he was quite scary... yet he was also very charming and polite.

I can imagine many of the players who played for him remember both those sides to his character too.

I’m so pleased Frank was able to return to Fratton a couple of years ago, when he got the great reception he deserved. RIP Frankie.