IT’S TIME to hang out the bunting, fire off the party poppers and dish out the cake, there’s plenty of cause for Andy Barcham to celebrate.
The worst footballing year of his life has officially drawn to a close.
A wretched 12 months of niggling injury, non-selection and, ultimately, relegation made it one to forget for the flying winger.
Never before in his football career had the 26-year-old sunk so low than during last season with Scunthorpe.
Then came his salvation in the form of a summer switch to Fratton Park.
Watching the wideman’s sparkling displays so far this season, it is difficult for Pompey fans to comprehend Barcham’s struggles of last season.
Here he is, thriving with the Blues and proving the 2012-13 season was nothing more than an awful blip.
He said: ‘I’m enjoying my football, I really am. And settling in was unbelievable.
‘It’s the easiest I have ever settled at a club. I think it is probably to do with the fact we have a good bunch of lads here.
‘There were so many new faces that it has been a lot easier to settle in and that has been fantastic for me.
‘Also being back down south is great because I can be closer to my family, who are from Essex.
‘I am much happier here and I’m hoping that is going to show in my performances.
‘Last season at Scunthorpe was very frustrating for me.
‘Every other season bar that one I have been happy with how I performed, my goal contribution and how I played.
‘I would say it was the worst season of my career. We got relegated as well so it was not an enjoyable one. I was in and out of the side, I was injured for a while, I wasn’t happy.
‘It’s much better being down south for myself and my family. It’s important – if you are happy off field, it shows on field.
‘The first season (at Scunthorpe) was fine. I wouldn’t say I wasn’t settled there but in that second season it was just the frustrating feeling of being in and out of the side, so it’s nice to get a run going here and that consistency that didn’t happen for me last season.
‘It was just a very frustrating time but it’s fantastic now to be out there playing football again.
‘For me, personally, it is one I want to forget and move on now. I am here and enjoying my football and doing well.
‘My family has moved with me locally and things like that play a role in your happiness and lifestyle. It was something I needed to look at in the summer and thankfully I am here now and everyone is happy.
‘It’s great it is all sorted so I can concentrate now on playing football.’
Barcham made 84 appearances and hit 11 goals in two seasons at Glanford Park.
Before that he emerged through the Spurs youth set-up and then spent three years at Gillingham, winning the League Two play-off final in his second campaign.
The 26-year-old has proven pedigree in Pompey’s current setting and is hoping to display that.
He added: ‘I have achieved a bit in my career so far but by no means as much as I want to.
‘I want to keep pushing forward and keep achieving as much as I possibly can – everybody is the same.
‘You have to be otherwise you are in the wrong profession.’