Popular Portsmouth stalwart Barry Harris announces pitch-side retirement - but 70-year association with Blues set to continue

Pompey stalwart Barry Harris has confirmed he is retiring from his bootman duties at Fratton Park.

By Mark McMahon
Friday, 5th August 2022, 10:31 am

However, it doesn’t mean his 70-year association with the Blues has come to end. Far from it.

Instead of fulfilling his assistant kitman duties and chasing after footballs, the 78-year-old will continue to serve the club he holds so close to his heart in a hospitality capacity

It’s another string to the bow that has seen the popular Fratton Park figure establish himself as part of the fabric at PO4 since 1952.

In that time he’s served as a club mascot, the Pompey sailor, physio and, of course, Kev McCormack’s trusted wingman, working under 34 different Blues bosses.

And while Harris is sad to say goodbye to his much-loved role – one that had to take a back seat during Covid – he’s looking forward to being ‘booted and suited’ for Fratton Park match days and chatting to fans.

Announcing the decision that was made by both himself and Pompey in a letter to the Pompey Fans’ Facebook group on Thursday night, Harris wrote: ‘Good evening Pompey fans. I hope you are all well and like me looking forward to our game on Saturday.

‘It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you wonderful fans that a decision was made by Portsmouth Football Club and myself that I will not be doing my pitch side duties at home and away any more.

Popular Pompey stalwart Barry Harris Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com/PinPep

‘I think it is fair to say that I am a little too old to be running after footballs and unloading the kit van after away games, sometimes in the middle of the night.

‘I want to make it very clear that Portsmouth Football Club over the years have been very kind to me and very much so over the last two years. This season I will have been 70 years with Pompey.

‘I have worked with 34 managers and five kit men. I have watched Pompey on about 200 grounds and in 20 different countries. I have some great memories and some wonderful friends.

‘I would like to say a big thank you to PFC and to you wonderful fans who I have had a great relationship with over the years. Thank you all so much. I will miss you all so much.

‘Enough of being upset we have to move on. The Club have asked me to come to home games booted and suited to help out with the hospitality so I will still be around if any of you want to stop me for a chat.

‘I am looking forward to my new role very much. Take care folk. PLAY UP POMPEY.’

Harris’ maiden taste of his new hospitality role will be on Saturday, when the Blues play host to Lincoln in their first Fratton Park fixture of the new season.