We need YOUR help to create the ultimate Portsmouth footballer
The quest to construct the ultimate Pompey player is underway.
And YOUR help is needed to piece together the supreme Fratton footballer - a Bionic Blues great constructed from the very best parts of those who’ve worn the star and crescent.
The debate has long raged when it comes to the argument over the finest talent or even best XI from the club’s pantheon of legends.
But what about taking the very best attributes needed to make the grade to create the consummate footballer from Fratton history?
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Imagine a Pompey player with Paul Merson’s football brain, Robert Prosinecki’s right foot and Mick Kennedy’s fighting heart.
Or what about a fearsome cybernetic organism pieced together from Yakubu’s searing pace, Noel Blake’s outstanding heading ability and Duggie Reid’s thunderous shot?
We’ve broken down the human body into six areas - head, brain, heart, legs, right foot and left foot - to represent key attributes in any player and will then debate each area.
To kick things off we focus on the head and a long line of outstanding exponents of the art of heading from an almost endless pool of talent.
Below we outline some of the big contenders before putting it over to you via social media/email/carrier pigeon to give us your thoughts as we construct our very own Pompeynator.
A powerful attacking player, Rafferty proved the ideal foil for forwards - most notably Alan Biley - in the early 80s where his physical presence presented a constant threat for Division Three defences. Pompey won promotion at the third time of asking as they took the title, with Rafferty weighing in with 17 goals.
At 6ft 7in Crouch has always been marked out as player to threaten in the air. That belied a gifted touch, but there’s no doubt after his arrival from QPR for a record £1.5m in 2001 those crosses which had been flying across goal were now being forcefully met. His heading ability improved throughout his career, as displayed in a second stint at Fratton in 2008 after signing for a record £11m. His Pompey record read 35 goals from 88 games.
A player who proved one of the very few good signings made by Freddie Cox. A threat at both ends of the pitch, his headed goal saved Pompey from relegation in 1960. A major aerial strength at both ends of the pitch, Harris served as as inside forward, midfielder and defender. He is the man who Blues stalwart Barry Harris regards as the strongest player at heading he’s ever seen for his club.
A hulking physical threat for Alan Ball’s Gremlins in the 80, Blake struck fear into opposing strikers in his partnership with another strong aerial presence in Billy Gilbert. The hall of famer would also cause chaos for defences from set-pieces, as seen in 13 goals - including the one which knocked Glenn Hoddle’s Spurs out of the Milk Cup in 1985.
Saunders scored 156 league goals in 258 Pompey appearances, a remarkable return given his time at Fratton in the late 50s and early 60s was not the brightest of periods for the club. Saunders’ physical play marked him out as one to watch in the air.
There are number of excellent contenders from the Premier League years when it comes to heading. The likes of Sylvin Distin, Arjan De Zeeuw and Linvoy Primus spring to mind but very little got past the man who lifted the FA Cup in 2008 in the air amid 95 Pompey appearances.
May have played only 36 times for Pompey in the 1957-58 and 1958-59 seasons after joining the club from Belfast Distillery, but the Northern Ireland international’s attacking threat in the air is the stuff of legend - as underlined as he went on to success at Wolves. More than capable of winning any aerial duel.
Pompey enjoyed the presence of one of the greatest Welsh strikers in their ranks towards the end of his career in the mid 70s. He may have lost some of the spring in his renowned aerial leaps, but Davies still managed 21 goals in 69 Pompey appearances in Division Two.
He was known as ‘Thunderboots’ but the double title winner scored many of his Pompey goals with his head as his side sat at the pinnacle of English football in 1949 and 1950. Reid was renowned for putting his head where others wouldn’t put their boots and finished his career as a centre-half.
The lanky forward undertook a meteoric rise from dockyard worker and Fareham striker to replacing Ron Saunders in 1964. Hiron’s height was a nightmare for Division Two defences where his flicks often led to goals. His first and 100th Pompey goals amid a return of 119 finishes from 373 games were diving headers.
Now let us know who gets your heading vote via Twitter (@pn_jordan_cross), email ([email protected]), our Pompey Facebook page or just accost me in the pub and let me know if you like…