Time finally up for Benson after fight to remain at Pompey

Paul Benson was denied a third month on loan at Pompey by Robins boss Paolo Di Canio
Paul Benson was denied a third month on loan at Pompey by Robins boss Paolo Di Canio

Paul Benson resisted the call of a permanent move to Bradford to remain at Fratton Park.

Unfortunately he was unable to pass up the rather more persuasive wishes of Robins boss Paolo Di Canio.

Now the 33-year-old’s Pompey stay is over following his return to Swindon – and he couldn’t be more disappointed.

Benson had today anticipated extending his Blues spell for a third and final month as he revelled in the prospect of regular first-team football this season.

Instead he’s found himself back at the County Ground as Di Canio attempts to find a move for the out-of-favour striker away from the club permanently.

Bradford, Cheltenham and Crawley have all been in the hunt for the player who netted twice in seven appearances for Pompey.

Yet his desire to remain at Fratton Park and a disagreement over the Blues’ contribution to his wages during the loan arrangement saw him hauled back.

Now Benson is mulling over a footballing future without Pompey.

He said: ‘I have said all along that I wanted to stay for as long as I could at Portsmouth. I was happy there, enjoying it – even though the club is going through a bit of a tough time.

‘The two clubs couldn’t agree on the finances and how much Swindon wanted Portsmouth to pay per week for me.

‘Swindon told the club they wanted me back when my loan expires.

‘It’s disappointing that I couldn’t carry on. I knew it was only for another month as with the rules you can only do three months back-to-back but it would have been nice to have longer to try to turn it around.

‘Bradford wanted to take me permanently earlier this month. They agreed a fee with Swindon, who had accepted it, but I said to Guy (Whittingham) I wanted to stay here.

‘I was flattered by Bradford and had played under their manager before.

‘It’s a big club but I wanted to stay at Portsmouth so turned it down. I don’t know whether that upset Swindon or not.

‘The prospect of moving up there was part of the equation but it wasn’t the whole reason why. As a football player, moving around the country is part and parcel of what we do so if I felt it was right I would have done it.

‘But I just enjoyed playing for Portsmouth, I wanted to stay and that was my reasoning behind it. It was just disappointing it hasn’t worked out how I expected it to.

‘I think Cheltenham have an offer on the table at the moment – a loan with a view to a permanent in the summer – and Swindon are quite keen for me to do that.

‘I’ll see how the land lies at Swindon and how it goes from there.’

Benson became the seventh player in a week to depart Pompey.

And he paid tribute to the Blues supporters who made him feel welcome.

He added: ‘I don’t know whether they get bored of people saying what good supporters they are – but it’s true.

‘I’ve never played in front of fans before when, you are losing games, they are still behind you and supporting the club.

‘Those behind the scenes were welcoming, friendly people who made me feel like part of the family.

‘I brought my girlfriend and kids down to a game and they were looked after really well and I appreciated it.

‘It’s a great club.’