Ertl: Island mentality can unite us

Johnny Ertl is happy to be back training in the city
Johnny Ertl is happy to be back training in the city

Johnny Ertl believes Pompey’s return to the city will unite the club.

The Blues captain insisted his side’s move to a training base on Portsmouth island can bring supporters and players closer together.

Pompey are now working from their new base at Eastney following their departure from Eastleigh after 11 years.

Ertl feels it’s important for players representing the club to spend more time locally.

That has been far from the case in recent years, with many players often travelling into the city only for games.

The midfielder reckons his team-mates being involved with the local area helps them to understand Pompey’s identity better.

Ertl is sure that has been a reason behind his recent improved form.

He said: ‘Coming from the SO to PO postcode is a step forward. It’s all about getting a better feeling for the club.

‘If you have huge financial resources you have a better chance of promotion.

‘But it’s not granted. In English football if you have a good team spirit it can carry you a long way.

‘So it’s better for me to see us based in Portsmouth right now.

‘It’s better to be here in Portsmouth because you get a feeling for the community.

‘You can spend more time around Fratton Park and have a chat with everyone involved with the club.

‘I think that’s better for the long-term future.

‘It’s nice to have a really good community in Portsmouth.

‘I think my performance levels have improved as I have got a feel for the place.

‘You work closely with the management to keep the team running. It’s difficult but rewarding.

‘I think I have a feeling for the community and I’m proud to be here.

‘There is a lot of hope even when things aren’t going well.

‘There is so much hope and pride and it makes me proud to play for this club.’

With Pompey’s players remaining on month-to-month contracts with the club in administration, it’s been hard for many players to put down roots in the area.

Ertl remains in a club house in Eastleigh with many of his team-mates.

That has stopped him from moving into the area – which would be his personal preference.

He said: ‘It’s up to each person but I would like to move to Portsmouth.

‘It’s temporary for everyone right now.

‘But there is Gunwharf and the seaside. Then there’s the old town.

‘You get a better feeling for the city.

‘Wherever I’ve lived in the past I’ve lived in the city.

‘Then I get to know the people and how they think about their football club.

‘It’s been the same in London, Vienna and Sheffield.

‘It’s also important for your commitment for the club.

‘You end up meeting people and have nice chats. Then you enjoy your time at the club more.

‘At the moment it’s hard to do it with players coming and going.

‘The player has to feel comfortable in the community they live. But there is so much friendliness in Portsmouth.’