Pompey Captains Eleven02.07.19
It's often said you need eleven leaders on the pitch. Well, here they are
There may have been four World Cup winning goalkeeper-captains (Combi, Zoff, Casillas, Lloris, but giving the armband to the keeper is not the sort of thing that happens at Fratton Park on a regular basis. Needless to say that over the course of his 801 appearances in the Pompey goal a handful of them saw Alan Knight as skipper.
A European Cup winner with Aston Villa, full-back Kenny Swain joined the Blues on a free from Nottingham Forest with Neil Webb going the other way to the City Ground. Veteran Swain skippered Pompey to promotion glory in 1987 and was one of two ever-presents that season alongside Alan Knight.
When Sol went up to lift the FA Cup in 2008 we were there. The former Arsenal man was the second Pompey player to lift the trophy after the 1-0 win against Cardiff. The former England defender joined Pompey on a 'free' from Arsenal but his considerable salary cost the club and arm and a leg. Sol constantly showed his class as a Premier League defender during his time at Fratton Park, yet a love affair between the fans and the player never really blossomed.
The most successful Pompey captain ever, Reg Flewin skippered the Blues to back-to-back championship titles in 1948-49 and 1949-50, which isn’t a bad achievement for a local lad. Reg served as a Royal Marine during World War II. The hometown hero passed away just seven days after watching his beloved Pompey triumph in the 2008 FA Cup final.
Arthur Egerton Knight captained the Pompey side that secured the Southern League championship in 1919/20, a campaign that clinched the Blues’ promotion into the Football League. The full back played 31 times for England at amateur level and won a gold at the 1912 Olympics held in Stockholm. Knight also fought in two World Wars. He was inducted into the Pompey Hall of Fame in 2015.
Bob Blyth was the Blues first ever captain in a competitive game leading out the lads to a 1-0 victory at Chatham in the Southern League Division One on September 2, 1899. A couple of years later the Scotsman stepped up to take over the managerial reins and mastermind the team’s first Southern Championship. After retiring from his post as manager, he later served Portsmouth as director and chairman; a tremendous club man.
On Saturday April 29, 1939, after receiving the trophy from King George VI, Jimmy Guthrie became the first Pompey player to lift the FA Cup. Guthrie was a commanding figure in the centre of midfield and had joined two seasons previously from Dundee for the princely sum of £4,000. A car accident later in 1939 and the suspension of competitive football during the Second World War ended his playing career.
Dubliner Doyle captained the club to the Division Two title in 2016/17. Some men are born leaders and the ultra-tenacious screening midfielder is undoubtedly one of them. Mastered to ninja-level in the dark arts of shit-housery, Doyle would not concede a blade of grass on the pitch or, for that matter, in the dressing room at half-time (just ask Christian Burgess). It may not be pretty, but every team needs a Michael Doyle.
Pompey’s greatest player didn’t read from the same captain’s handbook as Michael Doyle but the mild-mannered Dickinson led by example nonetheless. Jimmy captained the Blues on numerous occasions during his 764-game Fratton Park career through thick and thin.
At the beginning of the 2002/03 season Harry Redknapp handed the captaincy armband to the hard-working centre mid Nigel Quashie. Five day before the opening game after a spate of wheeling and no little dealing he signed Paul Merson from Aston Villa and took it back again. It was an inspired move and with Merse’s very presence raising the standards of the players around him Premier League football was secured.
Throughout the club’s history Pompey have rarely awarded the captain’s armband to a front man, Pitman is one of the exceptions. Kenny Jackett’s leader of choice isn’t one of those leaders who’ll run through a brick wall for you, but he does make his demands on his fellow players heard on the pitch. He also makes the same demands to the Fratton Park ball-boys.
Arjan De Zeuuw, Johnny Ertl, Harry Harris, Joe Laidlaw, Liam Lawrence, Harry Ferrier