Alan Knight: A Pompey Club Legend

In the late 1940s, Portsmouth FC basked in the glory of back-to-back League titles under the astute management of Bob Jackson. However, by the time 1978 rolled around, the golden era seemed a distant memory, as the club found itself languishing in Division 4. Yet, from the depths of the fourth tier of English Football, Pompey embarked on a remarkable journey back up the leagues, aligning with the story of club icon Alan Knight and Admiral's first two stints as the team's kit manufacturer. 

The word ‘legend’ is often overused in football, however, when a player makes over 600 league appearances for one club the term seems more than appropriate. For Portsmouth, that ‘legend’ is goalkeeper Alan Knight. His story began as a young goalkeeper spending his school holidays training as an apprentice before signing a short-term deal and making his senior club debut in 1978, the same year Admiral unveiled a new Portsmouth kit.


Alan Knight wearing the 1978-80 Portsmouth FC Home kit by Admiral


With the arrival of Knight, the fortunes of Pompey started to turn around swiftly, and by 1980, the team clinched promotion back to Division 3, adorned in Admiral kits. The home shirts in that promotion season were traditional ‘Pompey’ blue, complemented by Admiral logos on the ‘v’ of the collar and a sleeve tape running along the arm and shoulder - a design feature that would become iconic for the Admiral brand. 

For the next seven years, Knight stood tall in goal as Portsmouth battled through the league pyramid. In 1983, they secured the Division 3 title, edging closer to a return to the top division. Finally, in 1987, 38 years on from their last top-flight title win, Pompey celebrated promotion back to Division 1.


Alan Knight at Portsmouth wearing Admiral in 1987


Their return to the big time coincided with Admiral's second stint as shirt manufacturer. As usual, the Admiral kit designers weren’t content with just using blue for the main body colour, introducing red and white pinstripes, which was the first time this pattern had been seen on a Pompey home kit. For Knight and his fellow goalkeepers, the designers produced a green shirt which featured pinstripes and a yellow alternative with a two-tone jacquard stripe.

Although their stay in the top flight was short-lived, this journey up from the depths of the fourth tier served as a poignant reminder to Pompey fans and football fans alike that fortunes in football can change rapidly, and bouncing back from adversity is always within reach.


Alan Knight in Admiral for Portsmouth 1999


Knight's tenure at the club extended beyond this period, featuring in Admiral once again from 1997-99 before his departure from the club in 2000. His 683 league appearances set a record for the most appearances by a goalkeeper for a single club and placed him second in the all-time club appearances, just behind Jimmy Dickson. Knight's legacy at Portsmouth FC lives on, a testament to his unwavering dedication and loyalty to the club he served with distinction for over two decades.


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