Bird: Why I left Pompey

Ryan Bird. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Bird. Picture: Joe Pepler
Tareiq Holmes-Dennis limps off injured against Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler

Injured Holmes-Dennis pays tribute to Pompey

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For Ryan Bird there could be no other outcome to his Pompey career.

Having failed to make Andy Awford’s previous three squads he knew precisely where his future would lie.

A late-comer to the Football League, Bird has no time to spare, the clock is always ticking.

Hence last Friday he approached the Blues over the possibility of ripping up his Fratton Park contract.

Within hours he had received the nod – while an enquiry to Cambridge was just as fruitful.

On Monday the 26-year-old returned to the Abbey Stadium, the club he had made such an impressive impact on loan during the second half of last season.

After 25 matches and three goals he had departed Pompey, with no compensation for the torn-up contract.

And the likeable Bird insists it is the right decision for his football career.

He said: ‘After training on Friday I had a good chat with Andy Awford and said I wanted to leave.

‘It wasn’t working out for me so I thought it was best to get another team rather than sit around.

‘In the system he plays he employs only one striker and Ryan Taylor is the main man for that, while Pat (Agyemang) has come back from injury now.

‘It was clear I had fallen out of favour as wasn’t in the squad for the previous three matches.

‘I realised it was not going to happen for me at Pompey.

‘I didn’t want to sit there and train and not be in the squad, I just want to play every week. Everyone should, surely.

‘So it was agreed, we shook hands and he gave me his word I would be able to go. I then called Cambridge and asked if there was anything going – and thankfully they said yes!

‘They were my first choice. I did pretty well with them last year and really enjoyed my time there.

‘When it was announced I had left Pompey on Sky on Monday, I had been having my medical at Cambridge and came back to so many missed calls and messages.

‘My phone was going mental and the battery had gone in about 30 minutes – I had about 10 teams after me!

‘There were four in League Two, my agent spoke to a couple in League One and there was interest from the Conference as well, but Cambridge was my first choice.

‘I would have loved to have stayed at Pompey and played regularly at such a great club, but it wasn’t the case and made sense to leave.’

Bird has signed for the League Two club until the end of the season.

It was Pompey who granted his wish of playing professionally and he has nothing but praise for the fans, players and staff since arriving from Burnham in the summer of 2013.

He added: ‘I could not have played at a better club to start my professional career.

‘The fans were so welcoming and the players and staff really looked after me.

‘There is no-one I didn’t get on with and it’s hard to leave them.

‘And I’ll always have Exeter. Scoring two goals at the Fratton end to win a game – I could not have dreamed that.’