Pompey Non League Eleven12.08.16
This lot were plucked from the amateur ranks and plunged into the deep end of the pro game
One of Pompey's greatest goalies was signed from non-league Bath City for the pricely sum of £100 in 1938. Ernie served on HMS Dragonfly during the war, but returned to claim back-to-back league championships. After hanging up his gloves he ran the George and Dragon pub in North End.
The West Country wingnut was liberated from the obscurity of first team footy at Weymouth FC and stayed for six seasons. A robust, unspectacular full-back, he could get up a yard of pace when he pinned his ears back.
Perrett had barely stopped playing with Action Man figures when he made his debut for Wessex League side Lymington Town at the tender age of 14. A reliable stopper he never cemented a first team place at Pompey and was shipped out to Luton Town.
Awford’s legacy as a Pompey legend shouldn’t be tarnished by an unsuccessful stint as manager. The classy defender joined from hometown club Worcester City and went on to make over 300 first team appearances.
Soley joined the ranks of pro footballers at the not-so-tender age of 27 when Alan Ball signed the Leek Town legend for 50 grand in 1998. Not through lack of trying he was unable to establish himself in the team and was moved out on loan to Macclesfield Town and Carlisle United, where he stayed.
Over a period of 12 months Chris ‘Brickie’ Burns went from playing part-time football for Cheltenham Town to the verge of an FA Cup final with Pompey. A bricklayer by trade, it’s heavily rumoured he took a big cut in wages in join the Blues.
Signed from Gosport Borough the talented Turk Town teenager played 31 times for Pompey, scoring three goals. Released prematurely, he went on to embark on a journeyman career that took him to, among others, the German Second Division with Darmstadt and a spell at Hong Kong giants, Instant-Dict.
By the time Mellows signed for the Blues from non-league Winchester City in 1973 he had already made 15 international appearances on the wing for England – albeit the England amateur team. He stayed on for five seasons and 211 appearances.
In an era of mediocre attacking midfielders Jed Wallace’s precocious talent shone brightly like a rare beacon of hope. Signed from non-league Lewes his eye for a goal was evident early on, and his performances earned him a move to the Championship with Wolves and then onto Millwall.
Bird gained the attention of the Pompey scouts after a prolific goal-scoring stint for non-league Burnham, and a couple of flukey goals in a pre-season friendly secured a one-year deal. Sadly it turned out Bird wasn’t the word and he was released with 25 appearances and three goals to his name.
Signed from Fareham Town the Gosport-born Hiron was a Peter Crouch prototype. A great servant to the club and a Hall of Fame inductee, his all skinny legs and bony elbows approach saw him net 117 times in 364 appearances.