THE TEXT arrived on Saturday morning, raising a smile to the face of Jed Wallace.
It read: ‘Don’t worry son, you will be below my name’.
The sender was Ricky Holmes – former team-mate, ex-housemate and still partner-in-crime of Wallace.
Holmes was the fans’ choice for The News/Sports Mail’s Player of the Season in 2013-14, only to be moved on to Northampton Town by former boss Andy Awford in January.
Now the baton has been passed on to Wallace in recognition of the 21-year-old’s magnificent campaign, which has generated 17 goals in 50 appearances.
And the midfielder, who is set for a Fratton Park exit this summer, is delighted – even if he is following in Holmes’ footsteps in silverware terms.
Wallace said: ‘It was no surprise Holmesie texted me saying “Don’t worry son, you will be below my name”. He also told me “Don’t forget to pick my trophy up”!
‘I texted back with “It must be a lot easier playing in front of 2,000 people than turning out at Fratton Park”.
‘We speak every day. Holmesie is one of those people who will be my best mate probably for the rest of my life. We get on so well and can be absolutely ruthless with each other.
‘Being given that honour by the fans meant everything to me, I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
It is a special club, I came here as a 16-year-old boy and will be a life-long Pompey fan, that’s for sureJed Wallace
‘I spoke to Conor Chaplin on the phone on Friday night and he was a bit nervous about making his full debut, so I told him to run himself into the ground and give it his all. The people here will love you for it if you do.
‘Sometimes I make the wrong pass or try to run with it, but I know I always give it my absolute everything and people come to appreciate that.
‘The reception the fans gave me at the weekend was class.
‘I remember against Sheffield United, when the club had just been taken over, the reception was five per cent of what it was against York, you get the goosebumps.
‘For me there have been hard times – being booed off against Mansfield at home when I struggled, I cannot forget that, that’s football.
‘But I don’t ever take their (the fans’) support for granted.’
Wallace was presented with five awards on Saturday, adding to the London Pompey Supporters’ Club honour collected a fortnight earlier.
It was recognition from fans of a football club which he has taken to his heart.
Wallace added: ‘When I drive to home games I see people walking to the ground two miles away down Eastern Road and I think: “They are coming to watch me play”. I was like that when I was aged 15 with Basingstoke or Reading.
‘It is a special club, I came here as a 16-year-old boy and will be a life-long Pompey fan, that’s for sure.
‘I think the fans understand if I wasn’t playing I would probably be on the terraces watching.
‘I wear my heart on my sleeve, I am an emotional player, I throw my arms in the air and am running everywhere when I shouldn’t be running everywhere because I am so desperate to do well.
‘Luckily for me, this season nine times out of 10 it has worked.’