Portsmouth's Matt Casey: I'm from Botley - but I never grew up supporting Southampton
Matt Casey grew up in an area with a SO postcode – but he never supported Pompey’s rivals the other end of the M27.
Despite hailing from Botley, the centre-back revealed it was neither Southampton nor future employers Blues he followed as a youngster.
His family’s Merseyside roots meant Liverpool’s results were the first he'd look out for on a Saturday afternoon.
Casey was scouted by Pompey when he was playing for Eastleigh as a junior.
The defender successfully graduated through the Blues’ academy and was rewarded with his first professional deal at Fratton Park in June.
Casey made three appearances on the road to Kenny Jackett’s side’s Checkatrade Trophy glory last season and is aiming to continue his promising progress this campaign.
And Pompey have helped the 19-year-old fulfil his dream of become a pro.
He said: ‘I was about 11 or 12 when I first got picked up by Portsmouth while I was playing for Eastleigh.
‘I’m from Botley but I never really supported Portsmouth or Southampton – I stayed neutral!
‘When I was growing up, I mainly supported Liverpool. My granddad grew up there so my dad follows them and then I followed in their footsteps.
‘But I never really followed Southampton or Portsmouth, although now I’m obviously following Pompey!
‘When I was growing up, all my mates would say “What are you doing going to Portsmouth for?”
‘They were all Southampton supporters but, at the same time, they always understood because I was playing at a good standard.
‘They joked around with me but knew I must have been pretty good.
‘Playing for Portsmouth has been a dream. To get to the level that I am now has always been a childhood dream of mine.
‘It’s so hard to become a professional footballer. Every boy dreams of it and to get where I am now it, I never thought I could do it.’
That could mean moving away from the south coast for the first team – something he’d be open to.
‘If I do go to a full-time side then I think it’d help me even more,’ Casey added.
‘Moving away would help me build my independence as well as my progress on the pitch.’