Pompey’s No.1 David James returned to what some believe is his rightful place between England’s sticks last night.
Whether Steve McClaren decides to drop Paul Robinson for his latest blunder and reinstate James as our countries No.1 remains to be seen, but whatever happens it was good to see a Pompey player in an England shirt for the first time since Mark Hateley some 23 years ago.
James’ appearance together with his overhauling of David Seaman’s premiership record of 141 clean sheets achieved against Villa last season ensures his place alongside Hateley (and others) in Pompey Folklore.
Another Pompey great between the sticks has to be Shaka Hislop who has recently had to call time on his playing career. Shaka moved down a division from West Ham in 2002 to help our push for promotion and in his first full season we won the Division One title.
Then there’s Alan Knight our longest serving player and a ‘one club man’, playing over 800 games in all 4 divisions of the football league. Knight made his first appearance in 1978 aged just 17 and finally hung up his boots in 2000 (although I do recall him having to be named on the bench a season or two ago). He gave his all for the club he’d die for, and his loyalty and 25 plus years service has since been rewarded with an MBE.
The ‘Other Goalkeeping Greats’ list must also surely include Ernie Butler and John Gilfillan. Although I don’t remember either of them personally they were both Pompey through and through.
Butler, although overlooked by the fans, in part due to the profile of a certain player called Jimmy Dickinson was a key member of the early 50s team that won the championship twice. He died in 2002 having lived in Pompey all his life.
Going back even further to the thirties the tall figure of John Gilfillan didn’t make his Pompey debut until he was 30 but he amassed an impressive 107 clean sheets in 330 games – a ratio that even David James would be proud of. Gilfillan also had the honour of being Pompey’s No.1 in two cup finals.
So we all may be Jamo fans now and we may also be a member of the legion who believe Knight should be more highly regarded than Dickinson. Perhaps, like me you have fond memories of the late Aaron Flahavan, maybe John Milkins or Sander Westerveld did it for you and lets not forget David Best, Phil Figgins, Jamie Ashdown, Mart Poom, Dean Kiely, Harald Wapenaar or our legendary Greek keeper whose name I still can not spell.
There are countless others of course but the question I’d like answered is who is Pompey’s Number One, No.1?
Written by Chix.
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