Academy benefits from bumper Hall of Fame donations

Eoin Hand, left, receives his accolade from former Fratton Park team-mate Steve Foster
Eoin Hand, left, receives his accolade from former Fratton Park team-mate Steve Foster

It was a night when Pompey supporters came together to toast the achievements of heroes of yesteryear.

And in the process the Hall of Fame raised a record-breaking £3,500 for the Blues’ Academy.

It was another full house for the Marriott hotel event, now marking its fifth year.

Mick Quinn, Ron Saunders, John Weddle, Kit Symons, Jimmy Scoular and Eoin Hand were the six former players inducted during Saturday evening’s occasion.

Organised by the Pompey ex-professionals, the Hall of Fame honours greats from the club’s proud past and generates money for worthy causes.

It was a bumper fundraising night this time around, with an auction and raffle helping collect money to go towards running the club’s highly-successful Academy set-up.

There were also donations towards the Pompey Ladies side to help them travel to Aston Villa for their forthcoming League Cup semi-final.

It means around £11,500 has now been raised for local charities such as Faith & Football, the Harbour Cancer Support Centre and Pompey in the Community since the event’s inception, led by Jake Payne.

And the chairman of the Hall of Fame committee is delighted the occasion continues to go from strength to strength.

Payne said: ‘We see the Hall of Fame as a proper Pompey bash, it is not a corporate function.

‘That is what makes it a success – we price it right and the fans can be there.

‘The people who attend are 100-per-cent Pompey people. They get it – and when Eoin Hand did his song about what has happened to the club, everybody in the room knew what he was singing about, it meant something.

‘Players enjoy it as well, it’s a chance for old mates to get together. There were 13 former players present. Dave Munks hadn’t seen Eoin for 30 years.

The widows of Peter Harris (Sylvia), Len Phillips (Joan) and Jimmy Scoular (Joyce) were also there, and it was another memorable night.

‘I actually think it is a victim of its own success. There’s just no more space and I cannot make the room bigger to accommodate everyone who wants to come.

‘In total, we probably raised £3,500, which is the most we have ever done in one night. The previous record was £2,700 in the second year.

‘And the likes of Rob Haines and Peter Jeffs deserve a mention for everything they do behind the scenes.

‘It’s a big team effort. These guys are volunteers who get a buzz out of being there on the night.’

Academy manager Andy Awford was present on the night, along with members of the youth set-up, including Alan McLoughlin, John Slater and Ian Buckman.

And he thanked the fans whose generosity has bolstered Academy funds.

He added: ‘It’s a tremendous gesture from the committee. I think they have recognised our need for funding and we are really thankful.

‘We will make sure the money is ring fenced to ensure it is only spent within the Academy and not in any other particular area at the club.

‘We are trying to get the Academy self-sufficient.

‘If you are going to run a Category 3 Academy you need to be.’