Clarke was Pompey’s ‘missing piece’

Ike Clarke, right, won the first division title with Pompey in both 1949 and 1950
Ike Clarke, right, won the first division title with Pompey in both 1949 and 1950
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The ‘missing piece’ of the Pompey Championship-winning jigsaw is set to be honoured as his name is etched into the Hall of Fame.

Isaac ‘Ike’ Clarke, the courageous centre-forward from the title-winning sides from 1948-49 and 1949-50, will be added to the illustrious names to have excelled for the club at Friday’s induction evening.

Although Clarke died in 2002 at the age of 87, his daughter Christine Burrows will be there to accept the award on his behalf, which will be presented by Lyn Powell, who was a good friend of the striker.

Pompey Hall of Fame committee chairman Jake Payne said: ‘Ike was probably one of the unsung heroes of that side.

‘I never saw him play but talking to others who have, they think he was the missing piece in the jigsaw.

‘That team needed someone alongside Duggie Reid to form the strikeforce.

‘Ike was in his 30s when he signed and a few fans weren’t sure about him.

‘But that team had fast, skilful players and needed a centre-forward to hold the ball up and bring others into the game.

‘Ike was one of the main men in those two seasons.’

Clarke signed for West Brom in 1937 and was on their books for 10 years, although most of that time was lost through the Second World War.

By the end of his time at The Hawthorns he had played 108 games and scored 39 goals.

Clarke arrived at Fratton Park in November 1947 for £7,000 and Pompey fans initially weren’t impressed.

But his bravery and intelligence soon won them over as he formed a fine partnership with Reid.

It was Clarke’s vital winner in a 2-1 victory against Bolton in April 1949 that clinched the points that took Pompey to their first title and his 14 goals were a major factor in the success.

The following season, Clarke finished as top goalscorer with 17 goals as Pompey defended their title.

He scored a total of 58 goals in 129 appearances until he left the club in 1953 to become player-manager at Yeovil Town.

Payne said: ‘Ike’s daughter Christine is coming from Margate to accept the award.

‘And Lyn Powell, who has been president of Ex-Portsmouth Football Club Professionals, is presenting it.

‘Lyn was a very good friend of Ike’s. They lived in the same street when Ike was at Pompey and they stayed in touch up right until he died.’

– STEVE WILSON