Back to Society News

Former Solent reporter recalls Frank Burrows' apology

John Walker with his letter from Frank Burrows

Getting a letter of apology from Pompey manager Frank Burrows was one of the memories of former BBC Radio Solent sports reporter John Walker (pictured above), who made a flying visit to Fratton Park recently while over from his home in Virginia in the United States.

And he also had a number of 1950s Pompey programmes he wanted to add to the society’s archive.

Walker, who joined the station in 1974 and worked for it for around ten years, was a regular at Fratton Park in that period and he particularly remembers Burrows’ reaction after he crossed swords with him one game.

“It was actually in 1979. I was covering games here and at one stage I must have said something that Frank Burrows didn't really like and the next thing I knew, I received a letter of apology from him.

“I think Portsmouth had lost the game that I was reporting on and Frank was in not too good spirits and must have let I must have let something slip that he objected to. However, I can't even remember what the incident was!”

John also recalls some of his colleagues at the time: “Ian Darke for one. I used to sit close to him at the in the press box at Fratton Park and Mike Neasom of the Portsmouth Evening News.

 “And I worked quite a bit with John Hughes of BBC South Television. In fact, we did a full commentary on a FA Cup game between Bournemouth and Manchester United at Dean Court as it was then and Bournemouth won.

“Harry Redknapp was a Bournemouth manager and I think it was his first managerial. Harry was a character and very approachable and very generous with his interviews.

“I used to wait outside the Bournemouth dressing room for somebody to appear, usually it was Harry. ‘Come on in’, he said. ‘Who do you want to interview?’ And during that time I used to watch young Jamie kicking the ball up against the dressing room, waiting for his dad to come out,” he said.

John was considering what to do with his programmes and he decided the society was the best place for them.

“I used to be a programme collector and these came by me. Well, actually, I saw two of the games, Portsmouth and Tottenham, and Portsmouth and Burnley, but the others came from friends of mine, along with many other programmes.

“[I remember watching] Portsmouth players in particular: Phil Gunter, Jimmy Dickinson, the goalkeeper Uprichard and many that were actually internationals or on the fringe of playing for their countries. I'm glad [the programmes] are going to a good home.

“I’m keeping the letter from Frank though!”


John Rogers completes the 92!