Alan Knight (footballer)

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Alan Knight
Personal information
Full name Alan Edward Knight
Date of birth (1961-07-03) 3 July 1961 (age 57)
Place of birth Balham, London, England
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Portsmouth (club ambassador)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–2000 Portsmouth 683 (0)
2001 Havant & Waterlooville 3 (0)
2003–2004 Portsmouth 0 (0)
2006–2007 Dorchester Town 0 (0)
2009 Horndean 0 (0)
Total 686 (0)
National team
1983 England U21 2 (0)
Teams managed
2009 Horndean
2011–2012 Dorchester Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:33, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Alan Edward Knight MBE (born 3 July 1961)[1][2][3] is an English former footballer turned manager.[4] He holds the record for the most appearances for a single club by a goalkeeper, having played 683 league games (and 801 games overall) for Portsmouth between 1978 and 2000; this superseded Peter Bonetti's record of exactly 600 goalkeeping appearances for Chelsea. He helped Portsmouth to the 1992 FA Cup semi final which they lost on a penalty shootout to Liverpool.

In addition to his goalkeeping record, he is the second-longest serving Portsmouth player of all time behind Jimmy Dickinson. He was capped at under-21 international level, but was never selected for the full England squad.

Early life[edit]

Knight was born in Balham, London.

Playing career[edit]

Knight joined Portsmouth F.C. as an apprentice at the age of 14[5] and signed a professional contract with the club in 1977. He went on to make his debut for the club a year later, keeping a clean sheet in a 2–0 Football League Third Division win against Rotherham United with Portsmouth's relegation to the fourth tier of English football already confirmed.[6][7] Knight served as reserve goalkeeper to Peter Mellor for the next three seasons, making eight appearances during Pompey's 1979–80 promotion season, before establishing himself as the team's first choice goalkeeper during the 1981–82 season where he was named the fans' player of the season for the first time.[7] Knight was a member of the team that won the Third Division championship in 1982–83 and was given a debut for the England U21 team in a 1984 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier against Greece at Portsmouth's ground Fratton Park. He made one further appearance for the England U21s against Hungary,[8] before first choice goalkeeper Gary Bailey returned from injury.[9] England went on to win the final tournament, with Knight's Portsmouth teammate Mark Hateley named player of the tournament.[10]

Following two near misses, Portsmouth achieved promotion to the First Division in 1986–87, meaning Knight would represent the club in all four divisions of The Football League.[7] Portsmouth were relegated from the top flight after only one season, with Knight keeping a clean sheet in a 2–0 win over south coast rivals Southampton at The Dell one of the few highlights.

During the 1991–92 season, Knight was a part of the Portsmouth team that reached the FA Cup semi–final, losing to eventual winners Liverpool in a penalty shootout, with both teams unable to be separated after 240 minutes of football.[6] The next year, Portsmouth missed out on promotion to the Premier League on goals scored (80 goals to West Ham United's 81).[11]

Knight's testimonial match took place in 1995 with a South Coast Derby against Southampton played in front of 18,000 fans at Fratton Park. The Saints won the match 5–1, with Knight scoring the only goal for the home side from the penalty spot.[5][12]

After resisting competition from Estonian international goalkeeper Mart Poom and being named Portsmouth's player of the season for two consecutive seasons during the mid-1990s,[7] Knight eventually found himself being phased out of the first team by first Terry Fenwick, and later Alan Ball, with the young goalkeeper Aaron Flahavan becoming first choice. However, Flahavan's inconsistent form and health issues[13][14] saw Knight continue to appear for Portsmouth into his late 30s. He started for Portsmouth against eventual winners Chelsea in the 4–1 FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Fratton Park in March 1997, and appeared 25 times during the 1998–99 season keeping five clean sheets, most notably in a 1–0 FA Cup win away at Premier League club Nottingham Forest.[15]

Knight made his final appearance at Fratton Park as a late substitute for Flahavan in a Football League Cup tie against Torquay United on 24 August 1999. His 800th appearance came as a substitute at Blackburn Rovers and saw fans in all corners of Ewood Park rising to applaud his appearance on the pitch. On 3 January 2000, at the age of 38, Knight played his last match for Portsmouth at Norwich City's Carrow Road, becoming the only player to appear for the club in four different decades.[16]

In 2001, he was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List.[17] He also has an honorary Master of Science degree, which he was awarded by the University of Portsmouth in 1996.[7]

Knight played briefly for Havant & Waterlooville in 2001, making three appearances. In 2003–04, due to an injury crisis, Knight was called on to the substitutes' bench for Portsmouth and was listed as a squad member, but was never actually called into action.

Known by the Fratton Park faithful as The Legend, Knight spent almost all of his 25-year playing career at Portsmouth, sometimes demonstrating world-class saving and acrobatics. Knight's autobiography entitled 'Legend' was published in September 2003 by Legendary Publishing.

Coaching career[edit]

Knight worked as the goalkeeping coach at Portsmouth prior to his resignation in summer 2005.

Following this, Knight was named goalkeepers' coach for the American Major League Soccer team FC Dallas in 2006. The head coach at FC Dallas at the time was Knight's former Portsmouth teammate Colin Clarke.

Staying in the United States, he then ran football coaching clinics for B.E.S.T (British European Soccer Tuition) in the USA. The B.E.S.T patron of honour was Knight's former Portsmouth manager and World Cup winner, the late Alan Ball.

On 12 December 2006, it was announced that Knight was named as the goalkeeping coach at AFC Bournemouth.

Knight also served as goalkeeping coach at Conference South Side Dorchester Town, where he was also a registered player, for the 2006/07 season; he appeared on the bench as a substitute, but did not make an appearance on the pitch.

On 8 October 2007, Knight was appointed goalkeeping coach at Havant & Waterlooville by the team's newly appointed manager Shaun Gale, a former teammate of Knight at Portsmouth.

In May 2009 Knight was named joint manager of Horndean of the Wessex League Division One. From then until 10 December 2009, Knight was registered as a player, however did not make a first-team appearance in the Wessex League. During his time as joint-manager, Horndean recorded 10 wins, 1 draw and 7 losses.

Knight joined Aldershot Town as a goalkeeping coach in December 2009. In July 2011 he left Aldershot for a coaching job at Havant & Waterlooville,[18] but he left this position to return to Dorchester as first team manager on 29 November 2011. He left the club in April 2012 citing work commitments.[19]

On 25 January 2013, he was appointed Portsmouth's Goalkeeping Coach until the end of the season.[20]


  1. ^ AK Facebook, "Pinterest photo stating his birthday from his official Facebook". Retrieved on 14 September 2016.
  2. ^ Alan Knight, Hugman's footballers. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  3. ^ Alan Knight, Soccerbase. Retrieved on 3 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Knight in charge at the Avenue". Dorset Echo. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Alan Knight is England's longest-serving one-club man. There won't be many like him in future". The Guardian. 25 January 1999. 
  6. ^ a b "Knight's longest crusade". The Independent. 9 March 1997. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Alan Knight". The Portsmouth News. 18 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "England - U-21 International Results 1976-1985 - Details". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Alan Knight: Fond memories of Bobby Campbell's famous side". The Portsmouth News. 11 November 2015. 
  10. ^ "Whatever happened to England's heroes of 1984". The Daily Mail. 30 June 2009. 
  11. ^ "Warren Neill: The Big Interview". The Portsmouth News. 8 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "Saints and winners: Why old rivals Southampton and Portsmouth are such bitter enemies". The Daily Mail. 13 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "Flahavan in scare for Ball braves; Portsmouth 5 Swindon 2". The Free Library. Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "Games played by Alan Knight in 1998/1999". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  16. ^ "Pompey legend Alan Knight declared bankrupt". 18 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "Pompey's Legend handed MBE". BBC Sport. 30 December 2000. Retrieved 17 December 2007. 
  18. ^ "Knight replaces Priddy as Aldershot goalkeeping coach". BBC Sport. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2007. 
  19. ^ "Knight quits as Magpie's chief". 4 April 2012. Archived from the original on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  20. ^ Alan Knight returns to Portsmouth as coach; BBC Sport, 25 January 2013
  • Mike Neasom, Mick Cooper & Doug Robinson (1984). Pompey: The History of Portsmouth Football Club. Milestone Publications. ISBN 0-903852-50-0.