James pays up to share in Trust’s delight

David James salutes the Pompey faithful. Picture: Joe Pepler

David James salutes the Pompey faithful. Picture: Joe Pepler

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David James explained how he was celebrating last week at becoming a prospective part-owner of Portsmouth Football Club.

The former Blues goalkeeper was back at Fratton Park for the friendly clash with Hermann Hreidarsson’s IBV as his new Icelandic club took on Pompey last night.

While he was unfortunately unable to get on the pitch because of illness and fatigue, James played his part off the field several months ago when he forked out £1,000 for his share in the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust.

And while he asked to avoid any publicity at the time, he was happy to confirm his part in the revolution after the Trust’s recent out-of-court settlement.

James said: ‘Last week’s news was a celebration for the club’s fans and for me as well.

‘People were constantly asking me if I’d signed up and I’m thinking “I’ve done it way before you, mate”.

‘I’ve paid my money. I did it straight away and phoned up with my credit card when it first started.

‘You can’t be telling people what to do and telling people to support the cause if you haven’t done it yourself, so I did.

‘I had a great time at this club and it did a lot for me. The fans were brilliant towards me, so it’s great the club are hopefully looking towards a bright future again.’

The former England goalkeeper, who is now a player-coach at IBV, was itching to get on to even play a few minutes but had to think about the Icelandic season, which starts in a fortnight.

James said: ‘You hear the chants and I really wanted to get out there.

‘But I was out in Abu Dhabi last week. I didn’t get back until 7am on Monday morning and had had only an hour’s sleep in 48 hours.

‘So I felt a bit fatigued and a bit ill, so it was a real shame.

‘The trouble is that me being me, I really wanted to go out for a few minutes near the end. But if I had done something silly and picked up an injury, our season starts in two weeks and it would have been really bad.

‘If you’re feeling tired, you tend to pick up those silly little injuries.

‘It was superb to be back here, though.

‘To get nearly 7,000 people here for a friendly was fantastic. The news last week was so important for the club and it was a big boost to everyone.

‘I anticipated it was going to be a celebration and it was great to be a part of it – especially with some of the chants aimed at the manager!

‘But I want to thank the Portsmouth fans for not only turning up to support the Trust but also for giving our players a taste of what football can be about.’

James, meanwhile, also hinted that working alongside Hreidarsson is still as challenging as it was during their time together at Fratton Park.

The former Pompey keeper said: ‘He has still got his mad streak!

‘We saw that with his somersault at the end of the game.

‘With Hermann being the manager, he is an old team-mate but it’s not just mates getting together. He likes the way I talk and I like the way he talks.

‘He asked me to spend a couple of weeks over there. We spent a lot of time together talking about football – his missus called us both football geeks, which was quite nice actually.’