New leader keen to follow legends

Ben Chorley Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Chorley Picture: Joe Pepler

Ben Chorley may have been handed the Pompey captaincy with little fanfare but he understands exactly what it means to wear the armband.

The powerful central defender, who recently joined from Stevenage, has already shown his ability to lead others with a gutsy display in the 1-0 win at Wycombe on Tuesday night.

But he is now keen to follow some of the previous incumbents who have led the club with such great distinction in the past.

Some of the names are steeped in the club’s history, others have lifted trophies – but most have become the club’s figurehead on the pitch.

Sol Campbell, Arjan De Zeeuw, Paul Merson and Andy Awford to Martin Kuhl, Kenny Swain, Jimmy Dickinson, Jimmy Guthrie and Reg Flewin are just a few.

But Chorley sees the captaincy as a vital role in the make-up of a team and dislikes the modern trend that sees the role passed around among different players.

He explained: ‘I still see being a captain as a big deal, for sure.

‘The kudos of being a captain might have gone a little bit in this day and age – not for me it hasn’t.

‘I think it started with the England thing when the armband used to get passed around from person to person.

‘But if you have someone who is captain for two or three years, they can go down in history at that club. They can be legends.

‘I always looked up to the captains I have played under in my career.

‘And I am fully aware that there have been some great captains at this football club in the past.

‘So if the manager asks me to be captain again, I will give everything I can for this club on and off the pitch.’

Joining a new club and instantly being installed as captain might be seen as an obstacle in trying to integrate with new team-mates but Chorley insisted he has had no such problems.

‘It’s not something I expected but I can see how it might look,’ said Chorley.

‘You try to get a happy medium but it’s happened to me once before and you try to get the balance right.

‘I think the boys know that I will always be there for them and be on their side.

‘I will back them to the hilt but if you show that you do things the right way, people want to follow you.’

And the 31-year-old former Arsenal trainee revealed there was no grand gesture or discussion with Richie Barker over his appointment as skipper.

Chorley said: ‘Kev the kitman just gave me the armband in the changing room and nothing was said.

‘Then the manager just said: “You are the captain. Come into the referee’s room with me”.

‘I prefer that, rather than sitting down and having a long speech about things.

‘I’ve been in the game quite a while and the manager knows that.

‘I do what I would do anyway. Whether you have got the armband on or not, I would always talk and try to lead.

‘But it was a proud day for me.’

Chorley added: ‘It was a great way to start my Portsmouth career with a win at Wycombe. But now we want to follow that against Torquay.

‘It would be an honour if I am asked to lead the team out at Fratton Park.’