Ex-West Ham, Reading and Newcastle keeper Shaka Hislop: I left Portsmouth hating the club. I hated what they had done to me. It affected me for a long time

Shaka Hislop has revealed the circumstances behind the heartbreaking Fratton Park departure which left him ‘hating’ Pompey.

Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 11:00 am
Shaka Hislop made 100 Pompey appearances before released in June 2005. Picture: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

The veteran goalkeeper was ever-present in Harry Redknapp’s 2002-03 First Division title-winning side – and remained a pivotal figure as the Blues established themselves in the Premier League.

However, he left the south coast with a bitter taste in his mouth after Pompey withdrew an offer to become the club’s goalkeeping coach.

In the 2020 book Played Up Pompey Three, Hislop details how he was lined-up to replace Alan Knight in the coaching role under Alain Perrin.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

Then, 10 days before the season’s end, it was scrapped by the French manager, sparking the ex-Newcastle man’s agonising summer exit.

‘With the end of the season approaching, a director, who wasn’t chief executive Peter Storrie, approached me and I was informed that it was anticipated Alan Knight would step down as goalkeeping coach that summer.

‘The board had decided to offer me the chance to become his replacement. Aged 36 and out of contract at the season’s end, this represented the perfect transition.

Kostas Chalkias controversially replaced Shaka Hislop as Pompey goalkeeper in January 2005. Picture: John Walton

‘If I was on the bench rather than playing, so be it, this was an opportunity to take my first step into coaching. I already possessed my Uefa Goalkeeping B Licence and Uefa B Coaching Licence, while I was preparing to start my Uefa Goalkeeping A Licence.

‘I immediately called my agent: ‘No need to look for a club for me this summer, I’m happy here and they’ve offered me a job. I’m going nowhere’. At that point, in terms of pay, I would have taken anything.

‘Then, the day before the final home game of the season, Alain Perrin came up to me at the end of training and said: ‘You need to look for a job. You need to find yourself a new club’. It knocked the wind out of me, it was heart-wrenching, I never saw it coming.

‘A month earlier, I had told my agent not to worry, I was happy at Pompey and had been offered another job to stay. Then, with a wife and four kids to support, I was told there would no longer be a paycheck for me in a month and it was tough, I’m not going to lie to you.

Shaka Hislop in Premier League action against Liverpool in October 2003, a match Pompey won 1-0. Picture: Phil Cole/Getty Images

‘It soured my memory of Pompey, I kid you not. After everything we achieved over those opening two-and-a-half years, I left Fratton Park hating the club. I now look back with different memories and different feelings, but at the time I hated Pompey, I hated what they had done to me.

‘As a player, you get dropped and kind of take that, it’s part of the landscape for any professional footballer. Sometimes you don’t fit with a coach and you can swallow that, even when you know the replacement is no better than you are.

Read More

Read More
For the latest Pompey news direct to your inbox sign up for our free newsletter

‘You just have to accept some of those injustices in the game. Not in this instance, though. I had been told by a Pompey director that I would be employed as a player-coach, he said this to me in person, this was not speculation.

‘No terms were ever discussed, I was simply informed this offer would be coming, I didn’t need anything more than that, I trusted them

‘Then, the day before the final home match against Bolton, the manager told me I would be leaving. That was not right, not right at all. To say it made me angry was an understatement.

‘I was so happy there and had been led to expect I’d be staying for the long-term, I had no intention of raising my kids anywhere else. My youngest daughter, Nia, was born in Gosport, although there were some complications during the birth and she had to be transferred to Southampton.

‘One minute I was thinking I’d be at Fratton Park for the long-term, then Perrin or the board – as far as I am concerned both – delivered this bombshell during the final 10 days of the 2004-05 campaign.’

After departing Fratton Park in the summer of 2005, Hislop rejoined old club West Ham two weeks before the 2005-06 Premier League season kicked-off.

The keeper went on to make 16 top-flight appearances, while started the 2006 FA Cup final against Liverpool.

Hislop would finish his career with MLS side FC Dallas, retiring in September 2007.

He added: ‘I enjoyed my Pompey days, but the way it ended was hard for me to take, affecting me for a long time and damaging feelings towards the club for a sizeable period.

‘Before that I loved Pompey, I loved everything about it.

‘At the time, football was starting to move away from those small, intimate, old-fashioned, tight grounds, instead it was about the construction of big stadiums – but I liked playing at places like Fratton Park.’

Shaka Hislop made 100 appearances for Pompey from July 2002 until June 2005.

Played Up Pompey Three is available from Waterstone’s, Pompey’s club shop and Amazon.

Played Up Pompey (paperback) and Pompey: The Island City With A Football Club For A Heart are also on sale from the above.

Alternatively, contact [email protected] for copies autographed by those featured in the books, including the signatures of Michael Doyle, Benjani, Alan Knight, Guy Whittingham, Martin Kuhl, Sammy Igoe, Dave Munks, Sean Raggett and Lee Brown.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can support our local team of expert Pompey writers by subscribing here for all the latest news from Fratton Park for 14p a day.