Former Portsmouth striker: I must be the only player hated by both fans in a south coast derby

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Dave Kitson admitted he must be the only player to be hated by both sets of supporters in a south coast derby.

The 38-year-old, who retired from football back 2015, played in both of Pompey's Championship clashes with arch-rivals Southampton during the 2011-12 campaign.

Dave Kitson in action for Pompey against Southampton Picture: Allan Hutchings

Dave Kitson in action for Pompey against Southampton Picture: Allan Hutchings

Kitson described the fixture as 'the craziest derby' he participated in across a near 15-year career.

But not only did the former Reading striker have Saints fans to contend with – he also had Blues supporters on his back, too.

Scoring 12 goals in 72 appearances after arriving from Stoke in 2010, Kitson found the going tough at Pompey and found himself the target for criticism from some fans.  

Meanwhile, nobody needs reminding of the chaos off the field which threatened to drag the Blues towards liquidation  

Although, the front man came to an agreement to cancel the final year of his contract with then-adminstrator Trevor Birch in August 2012 to help save the club.

It was a compromise which meant Kitson would be paid what he was owed over four years.

Reflecting on those two south-coast derbies he featured in during the 2011-12 season, Kitson said in his latest SunSport The Players' Player column: 'As a player, I witnessed one of the fiercest rivalries in football.

'Portsmouth and Southampton may be 30 miles apart but historically the hatred is as intense as it gets.

'In the season that I played against Southampton for Portsmouth, the first game at Fratton Park ended 1-1.

'I’d had a taster of the bitter rivalry between the clubs a year or so earlier when I played for Stoke.

'I was on the bench with former Southampton striker James Beattie as we faced Pompey at Fratton Park in a Premier League game.

'With around 20 minutes to go Beats ran down the touchline to warm up.

'I have never seen fans erupt with such aggression towards a footballer warming up. He turned around at the corner flag and had a huge grin on his face. I’d have crumbled but Beats fed off that.

'On the day of the return match against Southampton at St Mary’s we had the biggest police escort I’ve ever seen.

'The home fans were waiting for us, lining the streets in their thousands. It was the only time a team bus I was on ever came under attack.

'Every time the ball went out for a throw-in I expected a fight to break out — the animosity from men, women and even kids was absolutely unreal.

'With a couple of minutes to go, we were 2-1 down but David Norris hit a remarkable volley to rescue a point.

'I have never seen a wilder celebration. It makes the hairs on my neck stand up just thinking about it.

'I’m glad I experienced one of the most ferocious derbies in football.

'But I’m even happier I survived because I must be the only player in derby history to take to the field being hated by both sets of fans!'

Following Kitson’s Fratton Park exit, he moved to Sheffield United – where he scored 11 goals in 33 matches.

He retired from professional football in July 2014, following a brief stint at Oxford United.