Thursday, March 3 – 1932
Passing of an old Pompey player
There are still many Portsmouth F.C. supporters who remember Tom Wilkie, one of the best left backs the club has ever had on its books, and they will read with regret of his death, after much suffering, at Perth, Western Australia, at the comparatively early age of 56.
Tom was a typical Scot – big, brawny, strong, and well set up – and, to wit, a very likeable man.
In those early days of Pompey he was a great favourite. He was never fast, but he was nevertheless a very fine footballer.
He was born in Edinburgh, and played for Dalry Albert and the Heart of Midlothian clubs before he was induced to cross the Border and join Liverpool, for whom he rendered yeoman service for four years.
When Frank Brettell set about getting the first Pompey team together, prior to the 1899-1900 season, when they started their career in the Southern League, Tom Wilkie was one of the first men he signed.
He made quite a raid on the Merseyside club, for of course there were no transfer arrangements in the those days, and it was question of getting in first when the season’s contract had expired, and spiriting away quickly whom you could most conveniently secure!
At his zenith
Wilkie captained the Pompey team during their first campaign, and played consistently, although probably his finest form was displayed in the 1900-1 season.
When relieved of the captaincy he seemed to develop wonderfully, and never played a bad game.
His anticipation was always good, his judgment was rarely at fault, and, while he kicked with great accuracy and strength, he also displayed fine powers of recovery.
He had an exceedingly neat trick for robbing an opponent of the ball, and used to get through a tremendous lot of work without putting in a third of the running that other players found necessary.
Wilkie remained with Pompey until the end of the 1903-4 season, when he played in 23 League matches and his football career was then practically ended as when he left he was around 30.
He made many friends during his stay in the South, and his departure was greatly regretted.
I had a number of letters from his after he left, the last one coming from Perth, where he held the important post of station officer of the Albany Fire Brigade.
His death occurred on January 8, and he was buried at Karrakatta, the funeral being a most imposing sight, and being attended by a large contingent of local and neighbouring firemen.
Wilkie lived 25 years in Australia, where he left a widow and six children. His mother and brother still reside in their native Edinburgh, and the news of Tom’s death came as big shock to them.
(Portsmouth Evening News, 03-03-1932)