Ashdown: My life at Pompey

Jamie Ashdown saves a penalty in Pompey's Carling Cup shoot-out success over Crystal Palace in 2010   Picture: Mick Young
Jamie Ashdown saves a penalty in Pompey's Carling Cup shoot-out success over Crystal Palace in 2010 Picture: Mick Young
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss weighs up best attacking formula

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Record breaker, FA Cup winner and Premier League survivor.

It’s certainly been a rollercoaster for the man who had been Pompey’s longest-serving player.

Now, after eight years, Jamie Ashdown’s time at Fratton Park is at an end.

After joining the club from Reading in 2004, the keeper is on his way from the outfit he has served so well.

Ashdown has been fortunate enough to be at Pompey through a golden period in the club’s history.

That has seen him play a part in the many highs that arrived along the way.

The 31-year-old reflected on his journey as he prepares for the next chapter of his career, following Michael Appleton’s decision not to offer him a new contract.

And Ashdown knows it will be a time he will look back on fondly.

‘It’s been a big chunk of my career,’ said Ashdown.

‘There has been a log of good times, definitely more good than bad. Being involved with winning the FA Cup stands out.

‘Then there was the first season I came here and played a big part in staying up.

‘The season before last, I played every single game and broke the record for minutes without conceding a goal.

‘That was one of the toughest seasons but I played a lot of games – and that was something I hadn’t been able to do before.

‘That was probably my best form of my time here. You couldn’t beat being in the Premier League, though, and I played a lot of games under Alain Perrin.

‘There were some good away games in that run. We went to Everton and won and drew at Liverpool. Games we weren’t expected to do well in.

‘The first year was a real big step up for me. There was the likes of Steve Stone and Patrik Berger at the club.

‘Then came younger talent a few years later.

‘There were players like Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Niko Kranjcar who have all gone on to great things.

‘I will never forget the times I’ve had here.’

Ashdown’s time at Pompey saw him make 123 appearances.

He also had to vie for the number-one shirt with a host of top-drawer keepers along the way.

As part of the goalkeepers’ union, he also built close relationships with his coaches, especially, most recently, John Keeley.

That bond blossomed in the 2010-11 season as Ashdown produced an ever-present campaign and broke Pompey’s post-war league minutes without conceding a goal along the way.

Ashdown said: ‘There has been a lot of good goalkeepers and a lot of competition for myself.

‘There was Shaka Hislop, David James, Asmir Begovic and Stephen Henderson. They are the ones who stand out.

‘Then there were my coaches Alan Knight – who brought me to the club – David Coles, who is one of the best coaches around, and John Keeley – who is probably the one I got on with best.

‘Everything clicked with me and John and I enjoyed working with him. I hope he remains at the club, bringing the young keepers through.’

Ashdown faces a big change in his life as he starts the search for a new club for next season.

He has little doubt there is going to be a similar huge upheaval at Pompey, with Appleton facing a monumental rebuilding job.

Ashdown just hopes the club can emerge from the shadow hanging over the club and move into a brighter era.

He said: ‘There are going to be big changes.

‘There was a time under Alain Perrin when he brought in a lot of players.

‘Then Harry came back in and got rid of them all.

‘But that is nothing compared to the overhaul that will come now.

‘It’s going to be 17 or 18 players.

‘Everyone who has been involved with the club is mortified at what has happened.

‘Hopefully, the club can move up again and get back in the Championship. Who knows where it could go from there?

‘I hope the club can move forward because I’ve had a lot of good times here.’