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MATCH PROGRAMME: Fascinating Tony Hopper interview this weekend

23 February 2017

Tony Hopper interview in Portsmouth match programme

Issue 19 of our match day programme – The Blues – features a fascinating four-page interview with our Portsmouth match Guest of Honour Tony Hopper where he talks about his football career, from his schoolboy days with the club all the way through to his final game for Workington – a pre-season friendly against Carlisle United.

We are delighted to announce that 50p from the sale of EVERY match programme this weekend will go to the Tony Hopper Fightback Fund and to the club’s official charity partners.

Keep an eye out for the bucket collectors around Brunton Park on Saturday as they seek to raise cash for the Creating Hoppy Memories Fund and for the Tony Hopper Fightback Fund – please give generously if you can.

Below are just a few extracts from the Tony Hopper interview:

On his schoolboy days with the club: It was a very special group of lads. There was a lot of talent in there but I think what was even more important, and the reason why so many of us excelled, was that we all became very close friends. It mattered to us that we were there because we were all local and we all supported United anyway. It’s one thing to be living the dream but we were living the dream with our friends as we played for the club we grew up with.

On waiting to hear if he was going to be offered a professional contract: I was always confident in my own ability and I’d been reassured constantly that I was doing well, but the doubts started to creep in when other lads started to get signed up and I still hadn’t been spoken to. We went through May and June and I still hadn’t heard anything, so I signed up to go on a student exchange trip and to go on a ski trip. In my mind I was all set for sixth form and more school.

On the early days of the Knighton ownership: Looking back at it, and with what the club has been through, I would say it was one of the best periods in the club’s recent history – certainly since the days when we reached the top flight in the 70’s. The whole Carlisle United community - in the city, county and around the country - got behind the dream Michael Knighton was selling and we all bought into his words hugely. Quality players started to arrive every day and the standard of what you had to do to stay in the team was through the roof.

On his last ever appearance in the Workington v Carlisle friendly: It felt right. It brought a few smiles and some nice memories back, and I really appreciated that it was the two teams I’d spent the bulk of my career with. I remember coming off the pitch and wondering if I’d done the right thing, but I think I got it just about right.

For the full extremely fascinating interview, get issue 19 of The Blues this weekend. Remember, EVERY purchase made will be helping some wonderful causes.

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