Matt Ritchie's promotion promise to Pompey

Matt Ritchie put the club he loves to the sword and then promised them: You'll get promoted.

Monday, 1st February 2016, 5:00 am
Matt Ritchie and Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ritchie inspired Bournemouth’s second-half comeback as they picked up a 2-1 FA Cup victory over Pompey at Fratton Park.

Paul Cook’s side put in a brave performance against the Premier League outfit in front of a sell-out crowd.

They were good value for their first-half lead after an outstanding possession-football goal from Gary Roberts.

But Ritchie’s introduction, alongside Marc Pugh, turned the fourth-round clash in the Cherries’ favour.

That paved the way for two goals in the final 19 minutes to see Eddie Howe’s side progress.

Gosport lad Ritchie admitted Pompey could count themselves unlucky to lose. But the 26-year-old is sure the team he supports will be smiling at the end of the season

Ritchie said: ‘It’s always strange coming back but it was lovely and great to see the ground full and rocking as always.

‘I had a long time here and I loved every minute of it.

‘The memories are more for me as a kid being sat in the South Stand and then as a player for a short time.

‘We are delighted with the win but the future is bright for Portsmouth.

‘Portsmouth were very good and unlucky not to get something out of the game.

‘I hope we, and I say we as a fan of Pompey, can start climbing back up the leagues.

‘Everyone knows how we want to play and Portsmouth are the same as well since the new manager has come in.

‘He’s put a marker down – they are a footballing side and they are going to try to play football to get out of it.

‘As everyone knows, it’s a fantastic football club.

‘I’d say a sleeping giant but the fans certainly weren’t sleeping in the stands on Saturday!

‘It’s a fantastic club with amazing fans.

‘Anyone who’s part of the area or knows anyone at the club has a soft spot for it.

‘The staff and the players here at the moment can hopefully stay because it seems a good mix.

‘They have some great young players, players who have played at the level and been successful. I can see it being a fantastic second half of the season for the club and they can get promoted.’

Ritchie was afforded a warm reception when leaving the bench with 28 minutes to go, something which touched the winger.

He said: ‘It was pleasing to have an impact on the game.

‘I’m thankful to all the fans and I really do wish everyone well.

‘I didn’t have a huge impact in the first team here but I think people appreciate when I did play I gave my all.

‘I maybe can’t get to many games now and when I do I should be resting!

‘But I will be watching on, supporting them and really hoping the club can climb the leagues again.’