DESTROYERS INTRODUCE NEW SPECIAL TEAMS AND OFFENSIVE ASSISTANT!

The Destroyers are pleased to announce our final addition to the coaching staff, previous Club Captain, Connor Crofts.

Connor is returning to the team as a Special Teams and Offensive Assistant after spending 4 years playing for the U.

We wanted to know a bit about Coach Crofts’ playing experience and what he was looking forward to most about being part of the coaching staff. Here’s what he had to say:

”I started playing football when I was 16, first with the Nottingham Caesars and Leicester Falcons junior teams before coming to uni where I’ve spent the last 4 years with The Destroyers. I loved every minute spent playing with the U and I am really excited to have the opportunity to give back as a coach now that I’ve graduated.

I’m looking forward to working with Coach Cliff and the other coaches and hope I can use what I’ve learnt over the last 7 years to help our returning players and the rookies we’ll be bringing in, to improve as much as possible!”

The Destroyers are glad to have Coach Crofts on board for the 2019/20 season!

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DESTROYERS INTRODUCE NEW OFFENSIVE ASSISTANT COACH!

The Destroyers are please to announce that Toby Doyle will be joining our coaching staff as an offensive assistant. Toby has spent the last 6 years playing a few different positions with the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts and will be bringing his knowledge and experience to the Destroyers come September.

We asked Coach Toby to give us a brief background on his football history and what he’s most looking forward to with the Destroyers. Here’s what he had to say:

“This is my 6th year playing football, 5th year with the dreads. I started playing tight end and have now found my home at left tackle after 3 years!

I’m really excited to join a successful football program and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to learn from coaches who have played and coached the game at a high level. I’m excited to work closely with Coach Cliff and Coach Dave and learn how to coach a winning successful team!”

Welcome to the U Coach! See you in September!

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DESTROYERS INTRODUCE NEW OFFENSIVE LINE COACH!

The next addition to the coaching staff is offensive line coach Brandon McCoy. Coach Brandon joins us with a wealth of football knowledge he learned back home stateside.

Here’s what he had to say about his football career to date:

“I started playing youth football in South Miami and played both Center and defensive end. I then went to high school and played for Miami Southridge where we went undefeated and won state the Florida championship in 93. We were a power house rushing team that broke nearly every rushing record with multiple Div1 rushers. One who made it to the hall of fame.

My football stint pretty much ended there while playing for a brief time with a league in the Army. I also coach Oline for the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts, where we may not have the same record as previous seasons but the line are putting up bigger number on offence with less sacks. I stress to my players that they must have a team mentality and urge them to be leaders on and off the field.”

The team are excited to have Coach Brandon on board and looked forward to him joining us come September!

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DESTROYERS INTRODUCE NEW LINEBACKERS COACH!

The latest addition to the defensive coaching staff is linebackers coach, Kevin “Monty” Montgomery.

Coach Monty joins us after a brief hiatus from football having previously played alongside Head Coach Cliff Boddington and DB Coach Paul Davies.

Here’s what Coach Monty had to say about his playing career and joining The Destroyers:

“I first started playing football for the Portsmouth Warriors youth team back in 1986 along with Coach Davies! During my playing career I played for a variety of teams from Bournemouth Renegades, South Coast Raiders, Portsmouth Tridents with me finishing at Southern Sundevils where I payed along with Head Coach & Coach Davies in our championship winning year!! It is a great privilege to be able to get back into football and hopefully this opportunity will allow me to give some of my experience back to the game. I am looking forward to working with some great coaches and even greater players over the coming season - allowing the team to get back into the Premiership where we belong!”

Welcome Coach Monty, The Destroyers are happy to have you on board!

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DESTROYERS TRAVEL TO FLAG NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COURTESY OF THE NFL SUBWAY PROGRAM!

Since January around 15 of The Destroyers have been going into local primary schools to deliver flag football sessions to 9-11 year olds as part of the NFL and Subway’s school program.

After our regional flag tournament, the winner, Gatcombe Park Primary School, will now travel with their coaches to the Flag Football National Championships that are being hosted at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

As we’ll playing in the stadium the team will also be joined by Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tight End, Cameron Brate! Good luck to our regional representatives, bring back that silverware!

DESTROYERS INTRODUCE NEW WIDE RECEIVER COACH!

The Portsmouth Destroyers are pleased to announce Jake Smith as our new Wideouts Coach.

Here’s a few words from Coach Jake on his new role:

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to coach at The Destroyers! It’s an honour to work for a highly respected program, even if they happened to beat me black and blue on the occasions I played against them for a WSIHE program I’ll miss greatly. I can’t wait for the year ahead and thank Coach Cliff for the opportunity.”

Coach Jake joins the offence after 5 years with the Chichester Spitfires, and is currently playing WR for the Dreadnoughts, where he leads the team in receiving yards and touchdowns.

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DESTROYERS INTRODUCE NEW OFFENSIVE AND SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR!

The Portsmouth Destroyers are pleased to announce the appointment of Coach Dave Gibbs as Offensive Coordinator & Special Teams Coordinator.
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Coach Dave joins us after seven seasons with the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts, with the last two seasons spent as Offensive Coordinator. During this time, the team set club records for scoring in a game and in a season, as well as achieving promotion to Division 1.
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We asked Coach Dave about his appointment:
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"I'm very grateful to Coach Cliff for the opportunity to join the Destroyers. It's a team that I've wanted to be a part of in some way for the best part of a decade now back to my interactions with Russ Hewitt when I was playing junior football.
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I can't wait to get started at the U!"

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TO BE A DESTROYER: COACH MCCLURE

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The Portsmouth Destroyers Football Hall of Fame has 8 members enshrined. The latest member to have been inducted is our subject today.

Coach Adam McClure represents and embodies what it means to be a Portsmouth Destroyer. With 5 seasons as a player, 4 coaching (to date) & 5 playing senior football, coach McClure is nothing short of experienced when it comes to football.

In order to be eligible for the honour, a player must have retired or been inactive for at least 1 year.  Anybody may nominate a player by first discussing it with the previous Hall of Famers (HOFers). This is then decided upon by the senior HOFers in regards to the player’s contribution and achievements whilst representing the Portsmouth Destroyers during his time with the team.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THE READERS?

Hi I’m Adam, but most people call me McClure. At undergrad I studied Property, Marketing, Design & Development. Then went on to study my Masters in Property Development at the University of Portsmouth.

COULD YOU LET US KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO BE ONE OF THE FEW INDIVIDUALS IN PORTSMOUTH DESTROYERS HISTORY TO BE INDUCTED IN THE CLUB’S HALL OF FAME?

Where can I start? First of all it’s an Honour! When I was inducted it was a complete surprise to me. 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY BEST DESCRIBES YOU?

I personally think I am laid back & chilled, unless its game time then I’m pretty pumped up!

Like all previous interviews, we were keen to find out more about coach McClure and his football background.

SO TELL US, HOW DID YOU COME TO PLAYING FOOTBALL FOR THE DESTROYERS?

Well, it is largely thanks to my mate Rich from college. We spoke about trying it out before going to Pompey but after getting to Portsmouth and discovery the purple nectar that is Snakebite, I happened to miss Freshers fair and the recruitment day. But luckily, he had put both our names down for the combine, and it went on from there.

IN WHAT WAY DID YOUR TIME IN PORTSMOUTH INFLUENCE YOU?

In every way, life experience’s, relationships, everything. Without Pompey I wouldn’t be who or where I am today.

In what ways did your time at Portsmouth influence you?

IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY BEST DESCRIBES PORTSMOUTH DESTROYERS AS A TEAM?

Mental toughness! No matter what the situation, the player will keep playing and fighting! 

OH YEAH? SO FROM THAT, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORY AS A PLAYER?

It has to be winning the National Championship in 2011. The season was hard fought and it still remains to be one of the best memories the old boys during my time have.

WHICH TEAM DID YOU ENJOY PLAYING AGAINST THE MOST DURING YOUR SEASONS

Haha, it’s a toss up between Southampton University “Stags” or Southampton Solent “Redhawks” because of the local rivalries, but probably slightly more competitive with Redhawks due to many of their players being my team mates during Adult season football for the Thrashers.

Credits: Tom Burn

Credits: Tom Burn

IS THERE ANYWHERE IN PORTSMOUTH CAMPUS THAT HOLDS ANY SPECIAL MEMORIES OF YOUR UNIVERSITY DAYS?

Not technically on campus, but it has to probably be 24 Eldon Street AKA “House of U”, our last house in Pompey as students! It was pretty much a continuous party house with a revolving door as everyone was in and out all the time!

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR SENIOR FOOTBALL

Well, I used to play O-line and alternated to D-line. With experience in both sides of the ball, I can play both sides now.

Credits: Jason Brown Photography

No doubt Coach McClure can hold it down with the best of them on the field We delved into many more questions keeping the tone light and the conversation flowing.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR?

Depends on the situation and my mood, but I don’t like beige, its just meh!

A MAN WITH YOUR FOOTBALL BACKGROUND HAS TO SUPPORT AN NFL TEAM. WHICH TEAM ARE YOU A FAN OF AND WHY?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers of ofcourse! When I was younger and first getting into American football, our Family Holidays to the Gulf Cost of Florida meant we flew into Tampa. I thought it would be one of my best chances to go see a game in person!


HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE TRANSITIONED FROM PLAYER TO COACH?

It’s an odd one, my first year coaching was difficult as I was still in the player mentality. I wanted to get in for reps and show the players what to do. What was also hard was having to coach guys I used to play alongside. It is an odd feeling as you're no longer their peer and have to tell them what to do. 

My coaching position is the O-Line, I like to influence them by teaching them sound fundamentals and techniques.

IN YOUR OWN OPINION WHICH SIDE OF THE BALL WINS GAMES? OFFENCE OR DEFENCE?

Offence wins Games, Defence wins Championships. It is a cliché, but it’s true.

AS A COACH, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO PLAY THE SPORT FOR THE FIRST TIME?

Just give it a go! Try the different positions and work as hard as you can, but still enjoy it!

AS AN EX STUDENT WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE STUDENTS FOR LIFE AFTER UNIVERSITY?

Like football really, work hard at it and you’ll be rewarded, but remember to enjoy the moment as well, no point working hard for no play!

FINALLY OUR MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION. WHICH TWO TEAMS DO YOU PREDICT TO MEET AT THE SUPERBOWL?

Currently I can’t see past it being a Chiefs Rams match up…. Rams to take home the Lombardi 

This interview with coach McClure has been more than insightful. A true representation of what it takes to be a Portsmouth Destroyer. He went through the trenches with teammates, has seen players come and go as a coach, and is recognised for his dedication and commitment to the Portsmouth Destroyers.

Coach Adam McClure, a true Destroyer!

BEYOND THE SPORT: ASSISTANT COACH QWESI

Photo credits: Jess Edgecombe

Photo credits: Jess Edgecombe

Every so often, a player/players graduate and decide to offer their experiences back into the team by way of coaching. By no means is coaching an easy job. As Assistant Coaches, their role is to provide help in promoting an appreciation of physical fitness, skill, teamwork, and sportsmanship. The assistant coaches assist in providing leadership and supervision for team and individual activities and work closely with the other staff. With experiences as former players, these individuals usually are able to relate to the current players and also act as a bridge in creating a bond between the main coaches and the newly recruited rookies.

We caught up with current Assistant coach to the wide-receivers and ex alumna of the university of Portsmouth, Leslie Qwesi. With plenty to ask Coach Qwesi, we got right into it with our questions. Leslie had plenty to say in regard to how it feels to have swapped the usual pads and helmet, to being one of the coaching staff.

 
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WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

Hi am Leslie, I studied Mechanical Engineering at the university of Portsmouth and graduated with a masters in summer 2018. 

WHAT BEST DESCRIBES YOU?

I am a relaxed guy that spreads positive vibes only!! I try my best to make everyone around me laugh no matter their mood! You could call me a bit of a class clown, I guess. 

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PLAYING FOR THE DESTROYERS?

Well, it’s a sport I had always found interesting. I wasn’t sure if I was the playing type, but when I came to College (hope you saw what I did there), I wanted to try something new and I found football. I initially joined just for the fitness aspect of it but hey ho I liked it much more once I started carrying the ball. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR?

Difficult question as I don’t have favourites, but I do like the colours; black, grey & blue. 

WHICH NFL TEAM DO YOU SUPPORT & WHY?

I don’t support a team, I am a fan of the sport and probably would say I follow players more than I follow a team. But I tend to follow whatever team was on Hard Knocks throughout the season. 

IS THERE ANYWHERE IN PORTSMOUTH’S CAMPUS THAT HOLDS A SPECIAL MEMORY OF YOUR UNIVERSITY DAYS?

Well I have always said that if your uni buildings are not Anglesea, Richmond, Portland or any of those immediate buildings that are in that big “square” you aren’t studying a real degree, so I guess that is the part of the campus I am most attached to. 

IN YOUR OPINION WHAT WOULD YOU SAY BEST DESCRIBES PORTSMOUTH DESTROYERS AS A TEAM?

The Portsmouth Destroyers are a family. They’re fierce, friendly, ambitious, zealous and have a drive to succeed. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DESTROYERS MEMORY?

Well that depends if you’re talking on or off the field. On the field, I would say our time in Division 2 was my favourite time not because that team probably was too good to be in that division, but because I learnt so much about football & myself.  I made brothers on that field and hopefully I get to play with them one more time before they all get rusty! 

Off the field I would say it was Salou 2015. I cannot disclose any more than that because let’s just say what happens in Salou stays in Salou. 

WHICH TEAMS DID YOU ENJOY PLAYING AGAINST THE MOST DURING YOUR SEASONS WITHT THE DESTROYERS?

Southampton and Brunel. Southampton mainly because they are our neighbouring rivals and the fixtures were always hyped. Brunel because well, they not only ruined what was meant to be a perfect season, but also because they were a bunch of ……! We then went to their grounds and delivered a win we had been looking for.

IN WHAT WAY DID YOUR TIME AT PORTSMOUTH INFLUENCE YOU?

My time at Portsmouth shaped me to become the young black man I am today. It brought out the ugly and beauty in me and has definitely made me appreciate the less crowded population I was used to in London. 

NOW THAT YOU ARE AN ASSISTANT COACH TO THE WIDE-OUTS, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE TRANSITIONED FROM PLAYER TO COACH AFTER YOUR STUDIES?

It has honestly been a weird one. For the past 4 years, I have been so accustomed to kitting up on game day and not being able to now at first was a bit hard. The way I speak to players has changed as well, not that it was bad before, but the tone and my choice of words are more thought through. 

I help pretty much anywhere I can but mostly help with the Wide Receivers as I myself was a Wide Receiver for the team and I had the privilege to play in every division in the BUCS league. So, my knowledge comes from a place of experience and studying. I would say I pass my knowledge on to the players as best as I can.

IN YOUR OWN OPINION, WHICH SIDE OF THE BALL WINS GAMES. OFFENCE OR DEFENCE?

Well from my playing experience, it has always been Defence that’s kept us in most games. 

WHAT IS YOUR SUPER BOWL PREDICTION THIS YEAR?

To be honest, I don’t mind so long as it is not the Patriots. I have an inkling it will be Saints Vs Rams/Chiefs. But I honestly can’t pick between those two teams based on their current form.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE LOOKING TO PLAY THE SPORT FOR THE FIRST TIME?

Buy into the programme!! Football teaches you who you are as a man or woman. It literally teaches you no matter how hard you get hit and fall in life, you got to pick yourself up and keep on going and to me that’s what life is all about. On that journey you will make brothers and sisters for life.  

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO STUDENTS AND ALUMNI FOR SUCCESS IN LIFE AFTER UNIVERSITY?

Just like football, the only two things you can control are your attitude and effort. Those two things go hand in hand and if one of them is S*!T you make your chances of being successful considerably harder so just make sure those two things are always at 100% and you will succeed sooner than you think.

 

It is without a doubt important to sustain a relationship with the team once you graduate. The impact alumni make into supporting the team post their studies does not go unnoticed. Be it may that distance and careers move individuals away from Portsmouth, it is the memories and camaraderie formed during years with the Destroyers that form a bond with past, present and future players of this glorious team.

Coach Qwesi is not the first or last former player to continue supporting the team in multiple avenues. However, it is his passion for the game that has driven him to becoming a coach. Like the rest of the Destroyers family, Coach Qwesi eagerly awaits the team’s first victory in the heavily contested BUCS South premiership tier of football. We hope that with all his past experiences, he can pass down wise words of wisdom that will drive the boys to their first win.

#U

 

Meet The Team: President

November 6th, 2018.

 
Photo credits: Jess Edgecombe

Photo credits: Jess Edgecombe

After the unfortunate close defeat in the season opener against the Birmingham Lions, the team’s focus now lies in correcting their errors and putting their sights towards the upcoming game against Swansea this Saturday 10th at Havant RFC (Click here for event).

We interviewed the current president of the team Mike Kiddell about how he first got into American Football and what his expectations are for the team this year.


WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

I am a mature student that decided to enroll into university after working to further better myself. I am currently in my second year studying Innovation Engineering.

WHAT BEST DESCRIBES YOU?

I am short, aggressive and I get stuff done. 

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PLAYING AMERICAN FOOTBALL?

I played rugby for a long time before getting injured. During this time, I started to watch more American football with friends which got me interested in trying it out. I went to a taster session for the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts three years ago, and I haven’t looked back.

WHICH BUCS PREMIER TEAM DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO PLAYING AGAINST?

Definitely UWE Bullets. We heard that UWE made some additions to their roster with US-import scholars.

WHICH NFL TEAM DO YOU SUPPORT & WHY?

I am a fan of the Baltimore Ravens. I watched the Blind Side a few years back and very much enjoyed learning about the history of one of their O-line men (Michael Oher) who was drafted by them.

IN YOUR OWN OPINION, WHICH SIDE OF THE BALL WINS GAMES. OFFENCE OR DEFENCE?

Defence every day!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO PLAY THE SPORT?

Within this sport, there is a position for every size. Show that you are willing to learn and work hard and you won’t ever regret it!

WHAT IS YOUR SUPER BOWL PREDICTION THIS YEAR?

I believe that the Chicago Bear and Kansas City will be meeting at the Super Bowl this year.

The Final score in the game this past Sunday was 16-13. Whilst the final result was not what the team had hoped for, they put in an incredible performance. Mike Kiddell and the team are set to continue establishing Portsmouth Destroyers as a force within the BUCS Premiership South conference.

We will be following Mike and the rest of the team throughout the 2018/19 season and will be routing for them all the way!

#U

Welcome to the First down!

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Introducing the new blog featuring everything football related, this blog will feature interviews on players, coaches and alumni from the University of Portsmouth. Set up to produce an informative news outlet, the First Down! will be available for all who have an interest in the future and past of the Portsmouth Destroyers. So lets get started!!