Date: 18th September 2007 at 12:33pm
Written by:

I asked for this I know but I said send in your challenges and I would do my best to come up with the answers. Well here was the first.

Here’s one for him? should he choose to accept – The history of Pompey’s record signings i.e. who was the first and who was then the next player to sign who was more expensive and so on.

Will not mention the sender but thanks very much. So it is on with the lycra cat suit and off on the beach buggy.

Firstly it seems as though this has never been undertaken before. So it was out with books and the brain and dig and I trust all I uncovered is correct.

Portsmouth FC as we all know was formed as a professional club on 5 April 1898 the first such club on Portsea Island. There had been an amateur club called Portsmouth AFC in the town since 1884.

After formation the new club had little money and was a selling club and trawling through the early years I can find no sign of a fee being paid for a player. By the season 1927/28 Pompey had reached the dizzy heights of the First Division and it was inevitable that money would have to be spent. In early 1928 a fee of £4,500 was paid to Falkirk for Centre Half John McIlwaine with the promise of a friendly at Fratton Park thrown in. McIlwaine made his debut at home to Sunderland on 18th February 1928 in a 5-3 defeat – not a good start for a new defender!! John played in all the remaining games that season as Pompey just avoided relegation. In all McIlwaine played 62 games scoring 5 goals before being sold to Southampton at a profit in June 1930.

Another eight years passed and Pompey really broke the bank by paying Irish club Belfast Celtic £6,000 for Inside Right Jimmy McAlinden on 15 December 1938. Jimmy went on to become one of the heroes of the 1939 Cup Final and played again for Pompey after the war before moving to Stoke City in 1947. McAlinden managed 9 goals in 59 games in Royal Blue. An attempt was made to bring him back in 1950 but the move ran into problems with Directors Vernon Stokes and Harry Wain being suspended for life over alleged irregularities. The ban was only lifted after a 25,000-signature petition from fans to the FA.

The next entry on our trip through record fees is the little known Albert Juliussen, a Centre Forward signed from Dundee for £10,500 in March 1948. Albert played only 7 times scoring 4 goals before being sold to Everton six months later.

The Championship was therefore won twice without any sizeable fee being paid for any player!! It was in June 1951 – memories (that is when I was born) that Pompey splashed another record on Left Winger Gordon Dale. Chesterfield received £20,000 for the popular player loved by many fans during the 50’s. I saw Dale play for the ex Championship XI in the late 60’s and he still had a wonderful touch. After 120 games and 18 goals Gordon moved on to Exeter in 1957 with the club beginning the slide from the pinnacle of English soccer.

In fact the fee paid for Dale was to stand for nearly sixteen years before another popular Left Winger would up the figure to a huge £25,000. Plymouth were the recipients of that fee in January 1967 for the diminutive Nicky Jennings. Nicky was a rarity, a goal scoring winger and my favourite memory of him was his hat-trick in a 3-1 win at Norwich in September 1967. In fact Nippy Nick was a key part of the impressive start to that season which saw us go ten games before the first defeat.

The 1967/68 season was the season that should have been, top at Christmas the club needed a goalscorer to secure promotion. Two names were mentioned – John O`Rourke went to Ipswich Town and Pompey paid a new record of £40,000 to Everton for their FA Cup winning hero of 1966 Mike Trebilcock in Jan 1968. Unfortunately Trebs did not score the goals expected and the blues finished fifth. Ipswich however had made the right decision and O’Rourke’s goals won them promotion with QPR.

Trebilcock stayed four years before moving to Torquay United having scored 37 goals in 111 games. Jennings stayed until 1973 scoring an impressive 50 goals in 218 appearances, when he joined Aldershot.

And on to the Deacon era. So far we have featured only six players in a history of 70 years now in 1973 the record was about to be broken four times.

Firstly Ron Davies, a Welsh International Striker arrived from Southampton for £45,000 in April. Then in May Full Back Phil Roberts joined from Bristol Rovers for £55,000 and days later Peter Marinello, the former golden boy of football, came from Arsenal for a massive £100,000. Fans could not believe it and when the three appeared in Albert McCann’s testimonial later that month 22,000 rushed through the gates to see their new side. West Ham were beaten 4-2 on an entertaining night and expectations were high that the next season would bring glory at last – it was Pompey’s 75th Anniversary season too.

But it all went wrong and results would not come and in December Deacon made a further attempt by paying Orient £154,000 for impressive Centre Back Paul Went and a smaller fee to Leicester City for fellow defender Malcolm Manley. With a new defence results and performances began to improve but at Notts County after only 10 games Manley suffered a severe knee injury and never played again. Pompey were out the cup the next week at neighbouring Forest and finished 15th after spending all that money.

Ron Davies left for Manchester United in 1974 in a swap for George Graham. Davies played 69 games netting 21 times. Marinello moved back to Scotland signing for Motherwell in 1975 making 106 appearance scoring 10 times and Went moved to Wales to join Cardiff in 1976 after 6 goals in 109 games.

Phil Roberts stayed the longest after converting to a utility player and winning four caps for his native Wales. He also went west to Hereford United in 1978 after 178 games scoring just the once in a Boxing Day 1975 win at Charlton.

Well that the end of Part one of this challenge. Part two soon when I have finished the research.

Written by eastneydave.

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24 Replies to “Challenge Dave – Episode 1 Part 1”

  • dave might not want to mention names – but i will, it was Chix asking the question… dave is a legend isnt he, really enjoyed this read and look forward to reading part 2!

  • ive never known a fella with so much knowledge of the game – i know my stuff but this is only recent history, dave’s a legend!

  • Dave fantastic mate, your knowledge is amazing, we should have a regular feature of Ask Dave to see if we can beat you.
    Look forward to reading the next part.

  • All i can remember about the Deacons is me Dad being Furious that (he felt) John Deacon had splashed all the money from the football into the basketball team. Is this correct Dave??

  • Excellent stuff…What about a ‘WHERE ARE THEY NOW’ segment. I can tell you that the Mike Trebilcock mentioned in this article is currently coaching young lads in DARWIN, Northern Territory, Australia. I still keep the photo of me taken with him at a Sportsman’s dinner in Sydney around 1991. The Cornishman with a nose for goals was said about him when he equalised against Arsenal in an FA Cup game back in 1970 in front of some 40,000 fans at Fratton (inc me). We lost the replay 3-2 with 10 men and guess what, Arsenal when on to win the cup !!

  • Dave – I’ve not read the article yet (but have viewed the comments) … I’m off for a couple of days but when back I plan to sit down with a pint and take it all in – The amount of work you must have put in demands respect .. I will keep it warm and respond in full in a couple of days ..but i just know it’s gonna beexcellent

  • pompeygray, the where are they now is a great idea and something we should impliment – how do you fancy getting the ball rolling by maybe knocking something together and forwarding it to me as an article?

  • Owens thanks for comments. Ask Dave or Challenge whatever you want yes keep em coming just give me time. Of course you will beat me.

  • 4me thanks. John Deacon did indeed pour large amounts of money into Portsmouth Basketball Club in the 80’s with some success. He signed big name players like Colin Irish and they won some silverware but attendances at Mountbatten centre were never great and interest waned. The biggest criticism that I think could be aimed at Deacon was the decision to sell key players during the 87/88 Division One season when we could have cemented a place there had we spent modestly.

  • Gray I had read somewhere about Trebs being in Northern Territory – driving trucks I think. Where are they now is a good idea but how do you find em? I discussed the Arsenal game elsewhere on this site. The crowd was a sell out of 40 odd thousand but the weather was atrocious and the crowd 39,000 ish. End of January 1971 was the date as it was Fourth Round and we beat Cardiff I think in the third. Want to be reminded of the day the last couple of minutes of the MOTD coverage are on YouTube. If you can’t find it I have the link somewhere.

  • Dave, one football question that has always intrigued me, why was the 1973 FA Cup Final played with an orange ball ?
    Were they expecting snow in May ?
    RIP Ian Porterfield

  • Rug through the (unintentional) typos did you say I will buy you a pint? or were you just referring to the 25th anniversary today of the 🙂 ?

  • Owens – you are right the 1973 final was the only one to use an orange ball, it is an old standard quiz question but why is another question. No idea and nothing I can see on the FA site. Weather was wet but snow in early May, unlikely. Maybe in was an experiment for colour tv which was in its early days??? Sorry

  • But if you ask a Leeds fan the question “What was used on the field of play at the 1973 Cup Final and never again” they will reply “Pure luck” bad losers eh!

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