Pompey Cult Heroes Eleven10.09.17
Some players capture the hearts and minds of the fans like no others; a bigger bunch of cults you’d never want to meet
The Fratton faithful always warm to a player who puts his body on the line for the club and the recklessly brave Uprichard was one such player. The Irish international keeper was always diving head first at the onrushing attacker and often came out second best. He had such a great rapport with the crowd they used to show their appreciation by showering him with sweet and chocolate during his pre-match warm-ups. The super-sociable Uprichard was also accessible to the fans on a night out.
The likeable Brummie may have only stayed for one season but he wasted no time in establishing himself as a firm terrace favourite. Much of his appeal centred on his regular swashbuckling runs from right-full back. The determination to give his all for the full 90s minutes was also clear for all to see and added to his popularity. Sealing the deal for the fans, however, was Davies’ fondness for booting his opposite number in the air whenever he felt like it.
He was never the most talented footballer at the club but what Linvoy lacked in natural skill he more than made up for in determination and will. Before signing for Pompey he was knocking around the lower league but through sheer application he became a properly decent Premier League standard defender. What’s more you could always rely on him to score a goal or two… on boxing day.
When he first joined Pompey from Brum in 1984 the Jamaican-born Blake was subjected to racist abuse but the moronic chants subsided when it was evident to one and all what a magnificent asset he was to the side. As a defender Blakey was never one to take any prisoners and his partnership alongside hard-nut Billy Gilbert was one of Pompey’s finest and certainly its most ferocious.
The Icelander may have suffered more relegations than most but he still managed to win over the home fans of whatever club he was playing for. This is most definitely the case at Pompey where Hermann became not only a cult hero, but also a superhero, The Herminator. A rampaging winger-hating enforcer on the pitch and a certifiable crazy-eyed loon off of it, come on, what’s not to like?
The London-born Hilaire last played for the club for what is coming up to 30 years ago, but that still doesn’t stop the fans hankering for somebody with his talent for wing play to return. The much-loved midfielder had the crowd-pleasing knack for going past his man and was ridiculously adept at winning penalties. And let’s face it, there aren’t that many footballers name-checked in a song like Hilaire is in The Beloved’s 1989 single, Hello.
Yosser was a great player for Pompey and his relentlessly whole-hearted performances for the Blues, in whatever position he was selected (the club’s greatest utility player?), made him a constant favourite of the fans. He was also as hard as nails and would never take a backward step for anybody, which always goes down well with the Fratton Park faithful. He sported a great moustache too.
Some cult heroes are recognised for lung-busting endeavour or their willingness to run through walls for the club, Robert Prosinecki was not one of those players. The Fratton Park faithful worshipped the chain-smoking Croatian scruffbag because of his extraordinary talent when the ball was at his feet. He only stayed a season but his range of passing, dribbling skills and dead ball skills are the stuff that memories are made of.
Scouser Durnin always had a special connection with the fans during his stay at Pompey, probably due to the fact that, despite being a professional athlete, he threw just as much lager down his neck as they did. While Johnny Lager’s refuelling exploits have been exaggerated over the passing of time (they may not), his deeds on the pitch are under-appreciated, as he often stepped up to the plate with match-winning performances when they were needed most.
With his peroxide pop star looks, impish charisma and goalscorer’s knack for generating excitement, the bemulleted striker gets the Pompey Elevens vote as the club’s ultimate cult hero. From his dream debut against Sheffield United to his two Santa-assisted goals against Oxford, Biley always had a genuine rapport with the Fratton fans, who, in turn, idolised him. Some of who are still angry that he was sold to Brighton when he was.
The sombre 70s witnessed strikes, power cuts and the three-day week, on the pitch at Fratton Park it was even worse. With 32 goals in 64 appearance, David Kemp lifted the gloom. The fans were in desperate need of a hero and took to the curly-mopped marksman immediately, his Lily The Pink-inspired chant was sung on repeat for the duration of his all to brief stay. Why we ever sold him to Carlise United is one of life's more curious imponderables.