Guy Whittingham believes Yeovil Town played a significant role in him making it into the professional football ranks.
The caretaker Blues boss famously bought himself out of the army in 1989 after Pompey offered him a playing contract – earning him the nickname Corporal Punishment as a feared striker after a prolific spell at Fratton Park.
But a short stay at the Glovers in the 1988-89 season played a key role as he struck 18 goals to become their leading goalscorer.
And he believes that run then attracted interest from clubs to take him into the professional game.
At the time, Yeovil were playing in the equivalent of the Blue Square Bet Premier, with Whittingham on non-contract terms.
But while he was then offered a deal at Yeovil to leave the army, the lure of Pompey was greater.
He explained: ‘I don’t know if my career really started there but it was part of it.
‘It was in the Conference but I went from Waterlooville to there.
‘My professional career started at Pompey.
‘But it perked a few people up when I scored a few goals in the Conference.
‘I joined Yeovil in the November and stayed for that season.
‘It was on the old sloping pitch and I scored a few goals because people didn’t know how to play on it. I got used to it.
‘Because I was in the army, I wasn’t allowed to sign a contract anywhere else so I was basically a non-contract player for them.
‘They did try to get me out to sign a contract with them but when a professional club came in, it was an easier decision.’
While he was based at Bordon near Petersfield, Whittingham then played alongside another soldier, Mickey Spencer at Yeovil.
He said: ‘I was based at Bordon and myself and another guy, Mickey Spencer, used to travel down together.
‘Then I bought myself out of the army for £400 but then got it back after I joined Pompey.
‘I’d played a couple of reserve team games for Pompey and did quite well.
‘But I was playing at different standards and I felt confident because every standard I played, I still scored goals.’