'My niece Chloe Kelly's an England hero - it's just a shame she couldn't support Portsmouth like the rest of my family!'

The uncle of Chloe Kelly never managed to convert her to the ways of his beloved Pompey.

Monday, 1st August 2022, 6:30 pm
Updated Monday, 1st August 2022, 11:28 pm

Sadly, that side of the family tree is too staunchly steeped in QPR to be lured into being guided by heaven’s light.

Nonetheless, Dave Pooley has long accepted his niece’s footballing persuasion – and is now toasting her elevation into an England sporting icon.

The 76-year-old captain of Pompey’s Walking Football side cheered on Kelly from his home in Ham, near Richmond, on Sunday evening.

The sports-mad family originally hail from Acton, west London, and boast two former professional cricketers, while Pooley himself was once a team-mate of Blues Hall of Famer Dave Kemp and managed by Dave Bassett.

Now they have an England Women Euro 2022 winner in their midst, following the Manchester City winger Kelly's decisive extra-time finish amid emotional Wembley scenes.

And with the family last getting together in June for her brother Jamie’s wedding, Pooley cannot wait for the next gathering.

He told The News: ‘There were about 48 of us who wanted to go to Wembley to cheer on Chloe, but there were only 14 tickets. We’re a big family!

Chloe Kelly celebrates after netting the extra-time winner which saw England beat Germany and claim the Euro 2022 trophy. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

‘To be honest with you, I never thought she would make the squad originally because she had just come back from a cruciate ligament injury.

‘Before the Euros, she’d had two games for Manchester City, coming on as sub in both, so hadn’t played a full game.

‘The injury happened against Birmingham last season when a girl ran straight into her. Initially Chloe didn’t know what the problem was, then, when diagnosed, she was lucky to be put into the care of Andy Williams.

‘He’s the world’s leading expert on ligament injuries and operated on Virgil Van Dyke, so she had the best attention.

England hero Chloe Kelly with her aunt Kath Pooley - and wife of Pompey fan and Walking Football skipper Dave

‘It was a long, long journey back and Chloe did get down. Realistically, she probably didn’t think she’d make it for the Euros – but she has grabbed it with both hands.

‘We’re a big family, all supportive of one another, and very sports minded.

‘I’ve been watching Chloe since she was 15 and seen her represent England under-17s, she has always been so talented.

‘This is fantastic for the family.’

Chloe Kelly celebrates with young fans at the England Women's team celebration in Trafalgar Square. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Pooley’s wife Kath is one of seven siblings, consisting of Kelly’s mum, Jane. Ironically, the England hero is also one of seven, including triplet brothers.

Meanwhile, the other side of the family are avid Pompey fans, including his three sons, of which Jason was formerly an opening batsman with Middlesex, making eight centuries in a nine-year first-class career.

Although Pooley, who last month represented England over-75s at Walking Football, has no actual ties to the south coast.

He added: ‘My dad was a guard on the football special trains from London to Pompey. It would transfer fans from Chelsea, West Ham, Fulham, etc for matches.

‘The train would arrive at Fratton Station and wait for the game to finish before bringing the fans back – and one day he asked if I wanted to go with him.

‘He never usually went to see Pompey, he was a Brentford supporter, but took me to Fratton Park that day. I was aged 11 and have been hooked ever since.

Dave Pooley is skipper of Pompey's Walking Football side - and uncle of England hero Chloe Kelly

‘That atmosphere was electric and I became a Pompey fan. I’ve since followed them everywhere, my boys have been mascots and I’ve also sponsored players.

‘Now my three sons, all their wives and grandchildren are all Pompey fans. All because of me.

‘There was never any chance of getting Chloe to support us, though. All her family are QPR!’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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