Howard dismisses Southampton link

Brian Howard has long had his south-coast allegiances called into question.

Born in Winchester, raised in Eastleigh, football education at Southampton and currently living in the New Forest – the clues point to one suspect.

An uncomfortable situation then for the captain of Portsmouth Football Club.

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Except Howard insists his one true footballing love actually wears blue and has endured crippling financial misery of late.

What’s more, they play in Scotland.

The 29-year-old’s boyhood heroes and club he still passionately supports is none other than Glasgow Rangers.

A world away from Southampton – the club regularly perceived as being his favoured choice.

Nonetheless, that has not stopped him being on the receiving end of the traditional Pompey welcome reserved for those with links to the neighbours upon previous visits to Fratton Park.

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Not that Howard made a first-team appearance during his 10-year association with Southampton.

Now he is finally playing football on the south coast following spells at Swindon, Barnsley, Sheffield United and Reading.

The Rangers fan captaining Pompey.

He said: ‘I’ve been hammered for my Southampton past a few times at Fratton Park, no matter who I have played for.

‘The thing is, I never made a first-team appearance for Southampton when I was there. Besides, I’m a big Glasgow Rangers fan, so you couldn’t get any further away from being a Southampton supporter!

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‘That comes from my dad, who is from Glasgow and a Rangers fan.

‘He has 12 brothers and sisters and all of them have kids and live in the Eastleigh, Southampton and Winchester area. A massive Scottish family who are all Rangers.

‘I was fully kitted out in Rangers shirts until age 14. Super Ally McCoist was my hero as I played as a striker as a kid. He still is my hero.

‘It’s just a shame what has happened to the club recently.

‘A lot of my friends are Southampton fans because I went to school in Eastleigh.

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‘Obviously when they got wind of me being at Portsmouth I started getting hammered by them, getting called all sorts.

‘Still, I won’t have to worry about getting my ticket allocation because they will not want to come to Fratton Park – and I will remind them of that!’

Of course, playing football in Portsmouth is also nothing new to Howard.

The midfielder would regularly turn out for Paulsgrove-based King Richard’s Youth in summer tournaments.

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He also twice won the Royal Mail Cup, sadly no longer in existence.

Now he finds himself employed by Pompey and spearheading life in League One.

He added: ‘When I was younger I used to spend a lot of time in Portsmouth.

‘I played for King Richard’s Youth for a bit in the summer tournaments.

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‘A lot of lads I played with at Southampton were from Portsmouth, people like Robbie Pook and Brett Poate.

‘When I was at Swindon I used to travel with Sammy Igoe every day and he used to tell me about Portsmouth.

‘They were great stories, too!’