Johnny Ertl bid a Blues farewell and promised: I’ll be back to join the fans cheering on Pompey.
The 32-year-old yesterday departed Fratton Park by mutual consent with almost 12 months left on his contract.
I don’t know yet in what capacity I might stay in football, I’ll keep my options open and see what is out there, but it is too early to sayJohnny Ertl
The former club captain and The News/Sports Mail player of the season winner appeared 88 times and scored twice.
But Paul Cook decided the versatile player was surplus to requirements and an exit was negotiated.
Ertl, though, intends to continue to live in Emsworth with wife Selma.
And he is keen to start attending Fratton Park as a supporter.
He said: ‘The new manager has his own ideas, his own plans.
‘We had a good honest chat and it was time to leave, I think.
‘I wanted to give it a real go at the start of pre-season but it is his decision.
‘It’s an opinion-based game and I really like the new manager, he’s a real character.
‘As a footballer you always have to move on and there are other opportunities out there.
‘I don’t know yet in what capacity I might stay in football.
‘I’ll keep my options open and see what is out there but it is too early to say.
‘Pompey will always remain close to my heart and I will be down there anyway watching games.
‘I will always be a supporter of this club and hope they get promotion this year and for it to be a successful season.
‘We want to stay in Emsworth, we are settled, have friends here and I would also like to remain close to the club.
‘I have offered my help to the younger players if they need advice, I’m going to finish my Uefa B coaching badges this year and will look for other opportunities in further education.
‘We are really settled here, it is a wonderful place, we love it so much. We have met so many great people.
‘I can’t wait to now go down to Fratton Park to watch matches and will definitely be there for games at the start of the season.’
Since the announcement of Ertl’s exit, Pompey fans have sent their best wishes via social media.
And he has been touched by supporters’ comments.
He added: ‘It’s incredible to read the messages on Twitter.
‘Looking at those genuine comments, I have been really touched. It is humbling.
‘Having been at this club for such a long time and being the longest-serving senior player it makes me emotional leaving.
‘I remember walking through the door three years ago with all those players on monthly contracts and the club on the brink of extinction.
‘I was named captain and led the team out at probably the most difficult time in the club’s history.
‘It has been an incredible journey and I am really, really grateful I was part of the rebirth at this club.’