Steve Claridge, Lee Bradbury and Peter Crouch - why is it only Portsmouth strikers seem to return for second playing stints?

They say it’s a sign of old age (or is it madness?) when you can remember what you were doing 39 years ago but can’t remember what you were up to last week.

Friday, 2nd October 2020, 3:10 pm
Steve Claridge enjoyed a successful second Pompey spell

In which case… I’m either old or mad. Because if you were to ask me what I was doing on the final weekend of September 1981, I could tell you in great detail how I was taking my place on the Fratton End for the first time in my life, to see Pompey beat Bristol City.

But last weekend? That’s a stretch.

So when Ant Coombes tweeted to say how much he enjoyed my nostalgic columns, I had to ask which one he meant. I struggle to remember what I’ve written from one week to the next.

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He reminded me that the week previous I was talking about which Pompey players’ returns for a second Fratton Park you could call a success and which you couldn’t.

If you shuffle the likes of Benjani and Paul Walsh into the room for those whose much-trumpeted returns did not, as it turned out, warrant the trumpeter being hired, you have to put players including Peter Crouch and Guy Whittingham into the room for those whose comeback was a killer.

Ant mentions a couple of others – Steve Claridge and Lee Bradbury. Stevie C, of course, returned having been rejected as a teenager – and aren’t we glad he did? He became a proper Pompey legend.

Bradders, too, did well second time around. Having scored 17 goals in 46 starts first time, he later managed 29 in 93 starts.

It strikes me as odd how almost all our returnees are forwards. The only exception that springs to mind in Michael Brown. Are there others? Email [email protected] or tweet @stevebone1