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4 June 2016

Blues legend delighted with benefit match

He scored 69 goals in 361 appearances for Pompey before departing for Wigan at the end of the last century.

So it is only fitting that Alan McLoughlin has being finally been awarded a benefit match.

The former Republic of Ireland international – who later returned to the Blues as academy and first team coach – will be honoured when Bournemouth visit Fratton Park on Saturday, July 23.

And he is grateful that the current Blues hierarchy have stepped in to ensure that the long-awaited fixture finally goes ahead.

“I did an interview about my career for Pompey Player a few years ago,” McLoughlin recalled. “I mentioned about how I left in December 1999 and missed out on my benefit game.

“It was just a passing comment really and I certainly wasn’t looking to engineer anything.

“But it was obviously watched by the board and they approached me saying it would be a nice gesture to right that wrong.

“I was taken aback by that and delighted with the offer, which I was very happy to accept.

“Obviously I then left the club for a second time, but Mark Catlin told me that they would still honour the game, although we couldn’t do anything last summer because of the pitch improvements.

“I’m very grateful and humbled by the fact that they still wanted to go ahead with this fixture.

“Paul Cook has been extremely supportive, while huge thanks must also go to Eddie Howe and the staff at Bournemouth for agreeing to the game and not taking their share of the gate receipts.”

McLoughlin is delighted that Pompey will be taking on Premier League opponents and insists that he will not be coming out of retirement for the occasion.

He said: “Bournemouth have moved on a long way in the past few years and are now a very strong top-flight side.

“I had the privilege of doing commentary work on some of their games last season and they were a credit to the Premier League.

“Paul, meanwhile, is looking to add some new additions to his squad and make an assault on promotion, which is what we all want.

“It might be my benefit game but, more importantly, it’s part of his preparations for the forthcoming season.

“There will be no guest appearances and I won’t be dusting off the boots, although I’d like to say thank you to the fans before kick-off.

“Then I’ll take my seat in the stands and look forward to watching the game as a Pompey fan.”

Tickets go on sale from 10am on Monday, June 13. Click here for more information.

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