Divided loyalties for Pompey hero Alan Rogers

Alan Rogers lives a brisk five-minute walk from Home Park, a journey undertaken more frequently since retiring from the guest-house trade.

Thursday, 14th April 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:42 pm
Alan Rogers

Yet Plymouth are elsewhere on Saturday, instead booked in to appear at another ground so familiar to the 61-year-old.

As a left-winger with party-trick step over, Rogers possesses the distinction of two promotions in four seasons with Pompey.

Signed in May 1979 from the Pilgrims by Frank Burrows, he amassed 190 appearances and scored 17 times for the Blues.

Kyle Bennett is a 'menace' according to Alan Rogers. Picture: Joe Pepler

However, loyalties will be torn when Rogers’ former clubs this weekend go head-to-head as they attempt to escape League Two.

And having seen both in action this season – Pompey as recently as the previous home match against Carlisle – he is anticipating a fascinating encounter.

Rogers said: ‘I am not saying Plymouth are panicking but they have certainly taken a turn for the worse.

‘They have lost momentum and it’s very difficult to stop the rot.

‘But in saying that, if I had to hand-pick a game to play I’d say Portsmouth away. It might just stir the Plymouth troops – and they are a better team away from home.

‘The manager can go a bit cautious, safety first, and Plymouth have been like that over the last month or two. Recently he has given the fans what they wanted with two up front and on Saturday played a diamond with Jake Jervis and Jamille Matt in attack.

‘The tactics were a mystery to me because there was no width, with two full-backs who don’t really get forward. They lost, too.

‘Yet earlier in the season the 4-2-3-1 got them to the top of the league.

‘I saw Pompey against Carlisle and they should have beaten them by more with that second-half performance.

‘I like Michael Smith’s work-rate and endeavour but the boy Kyle Bennett is the key.

‘If I was manager I would ban him from crossing the halfway line!

‘He is a menace, you don’t know what he is going to do and the player who has something different in that team.

‘At Home Park earlier in the season I thought Plymouth were slightly in awe of Portsmouth, sitting back and letting them play rather than getting among it.

‘Portsmouth were comfortable. They should have beaten them by a mile, 2-1 was a travesty in truth. For me, Paul Cook’s side are very impressive.’

Until last year Rogers ran the Swinton Hotel with wife, Lorraine, in Plymouth.

Retirement has allowed him to return to watching football – but he won’t be drawn on who will receive his support this weekend.

He added: ‘Looking at the teams, you would say Portsmouth are favourites but be wary because Plymouth aren’t bad.

‘They haven’t got there for no reason, they have amassed a lot of points and things can change.

‘I certainly wouldn’t say who I want to win! I have a foot in both camps, I wouldn’t like to go against the other team.

‘A draw would suit me – as long as both get to the league above.’