Time to drink-a-drink to Pompey greats

Dave Kemp
Dave Kemp

He was the saviour of the Pompey forward line.

And tomorrow night there will be glasses raised in his honour as Blues fans drink-a-drink-a-drink to Davey Kemp.

Kemp, of course, is one of the four heroes being inducted into the Pompey Hall of Fame at Fratton Park.

The fact the Fratton faithful still sing the song – to the tune of Lily the Pink – in his honour, highlights the impact the striker made in his 16-month stay at the club.

It was soon clear Ian St John had pulled off a coup in November 1976 when signing Kemp from Crystal Palace in exchange for George Graham.

‘Dave’s the boy for goals,’ St John told The News, with words which proved prophetic.

Kemp went on to bag 38 efforts in 74 appearances for a struggling side.

When Pompey beat Rotherham 5-1 at home in April 1977, Kemp’s hat-trick was the first for the club for over six years.

They were three of 17 goals in 32 games in his first season for a team in the lower reaches of Division Three.

Such an impressive return generated inevitable interest in his talent from other clubs.

Leicester and Derby were keen, with Kemp the top scorer in English football at one stage the following campaign – including a run of 10 goals in 10 games.

It wasn’t the First Division but Third Division Carlisle where he moved for £75,000, however – and Pompey were later relegated.

Kemp is one of three strikers being inducted in the hall of fame tomorrow night.

Joining them, however, is one of the most fearsome defenders to ever wear royal blue.

Noel Blake’s class was underlined by the fact he won back-to-back player of the season titles – the second arriving as Alan Ball’s side won promotion to Division One in 1987.

Ball paid out £150,000 to bring Blake to the club from Birmingham in the summer of 1984.

The Jamaican went on to form one of the best central-defensive partnerships in Pompey’s history along with Billy Gilbert – who will present him with his honour on Friday night.

Blake missed just one game in the triumphant campaign for Ball’s ‘Gremlins’.

Along the way, he helped his side to a hugely-impressive 19 clean sheets in 42 games, with just 11 goals conceded at Fratton Park in the league all season.

It was a huge blow to see Blake undergo surgery on his knee on the eve of the new season, something Pompey struggled to recover from.

Blake left Pompey for Leeds at the end of that season, but did so with his place as a Blues great assured.

n David Kemp

Pompey career: 1976-1978

Appearances: 74

Goals: 38

n Noel Blake

Pompey career: 1984-1988

Appearances: 168

Goals: 13

Achievements: Division Two runner-up 1986-87.

Player of the year 1985-86 and 1986-87.

– JORDAN CROSS