Date:Thursday June 28 2007
There I was this afternoon taking a short break from my 'day job' when I stumbled across an article on a blast from Pompey's past Luke Nightingale.
Now with Bognor Regis, Nightingale - who is recovering from his latest injury set back - was telling the Bognor Regis Observer that he was looking forward to the new season and was hoping to help them to a top 8 finish in the Blue Square South Division.
I still remember the day I saw Nightingale make his Pompey bow. He had been scoring goals galore for the reserves - along with Robbie Simpson - but it was 18-year old Nightingale that got the nod for a place on the bench for a match against West Brom.
He got his chance as John Aloisi picked up an injury. He came on for him and took it by scoring two goals in a dream debut as we won 2-1.
Travelling up to that match at Fratton with some of my fellow south west supporters club members, we had been speaking about Nightingale and Simpson - saying how we hoped to see them given a chance. Nightingale was the talk on the way home too!
Sadly things did not work out for Nightingale and around a few year period where pretty much every striker we touched was jinxed - we had the likes of Rory Allen, Lee Mills and Mark Burchill - he suffered terribly with injuries and form, going on to score only a few more goals in the rest of his Pompey career.
Spell after spell out on loan eventually saw him leave for Swindon; journeys took him to other league sides but things just did not break for him and injuries took their toll more and more. Stevie Claridge even had him with him at Weymouth for a time.
7 cartilage operations since the age of 17 show just how injuries affected his career.
Still only 26 - and now a plumber - he is scoring goals for Bognor Regis even with injury problems, but a knee problem is looking like it will eventually see him undergo yet more surgery. Steroid injections have kept him going but only three more have been advised by doctors for the rest of his career.
Good luck to Nightingale - if only things could have been different for him here.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Date:Thursday June 28 2007
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