Scenic Memories At Portchester Castle

One of the most unusual and scenic settings for a Saturday afternoon football match was the home of Portchester Football Club.  

Going up to the entrance of the castle, turning right and walking up the winding stone steps with the rope handrail to the small changing rooms was something I’ll never forget.

Then going out on to the pitch with the moat at the northern end, you needed to have the large fishing nets available to retrieve the football should the ball go in the water.

I have many happy memories of playing there and then later as a match reporter.

Thinking of the team back then, Dave Croad instantly comes to mind as he was a prolific goalscorer over the years, Dave Fancey in defence was a reliable performer, whilst on the wing Alan Geary was another player who could turn matches for you.

In later years Ernie Walker took over the reins and he brought in a few Navy players, although this was not unusual as the club always in the past managed to attract Naval personnel.

Ernie also served on the Portsmouth & District League committee and together he and Peter Denford were vice chairman and Chairman of the Leagues.

The slow demise of the club began at the end of the 1982-83 season when they were relegated from the Premier division having amassed only one point throughout the whole season.

I note from my research that Dean Boswell played in goal for them, whilst also appearing for Triesteen at one time. Dean was another reliable keeper that the Portsmouth league had plenty of playing each weekend.

Jim Casey and Gary Scammell played at that time plus Richie Templeton and Matt Bunnyworth formerly of Hillside.

Another team at this time were Purbrook, who had sides in Junior V and Junior II. They were another club that had been around for a long while.

The Junior V team was made up with youngsters from Solent United Lads League side. Rod Nicholls was in midfield, Dean Williams and Peter Russell were also promising talents, the latter opting to switch to rugby where he had a wonderful career with Havant and Hampshire.

Up front were Mitch Avis and Paul Moody who had joined after a season with Challengers scoring lots of goals in the meantime.

It was obvious with his size and goalscoring nous he was destined for higher things, Bognor had a scout at one game I was watching but it was to Fareham and Waterlooville where he really took off.

Southampton signed him for £50k in 1991 and after that he enjoyed spells at Oxford, Fulham, Millwall before finishing back at Oxford in 2002.

Purbrook first team had loyal servant Roger Powell in defence, Pete Major, Gary McKay and Derek Dyer up front. Steve Baynham was for many years club secretary and linesman.

THE SCOUT

One thought on “Scenic Memories At Portchester Castle

  1. Remember playing for Portchester in the 90s, it included the last season at the castle before we moved to Wicor Mill Rec. I heard recently the sad news Ernie passed away, I used to pick up Ernie Walker and take him to the games with me and loved all his stories, he said he played at Man City. We had a tidy side, playing in the Premier and reached Billy Hill Cup final 95-96

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