David Norris surveyed his Pompey surroundings and admitted: I thought this move would never happen.
Yesterday represented the first day at work for the midfielder as the Blues’ players returned for full pre-season training.
It was a moment the former Ipswich man feared would not arrive.
Since January, Steve Cotterill had doggedly pursued the 30-year-old, who was out of contract this summer, making an initial bid for him in the January transfer window.
Yet it wasn’t until new owners Convers Sports Initiatives seized control of the Blues on June 1 that any deal could be pushed through.
Despite interest from several other clubs, Norris had long made up his mind that Fratton Park would be his next move.
It was an often agonising wait which tested his patience and Pompey’s resolve to its limits.
Eventually, to his relief, Norris penned a three-year Blues deal.
And, speaking after his first day at the club, he reflected on almost never making it.
Norris said: ‘It has been a while. I think it was reasonably close to happening in January when a bid came in and was considered by Ipswich.
‘I had to wait a few more months to finally get it done, though.
‘We came towards the end of the season and I just wanted it to be done as soon as possible.
‘But there was still the takeover to be finalised.
‘To be honest, there was once or twice when I wasn’t too sure whether it would ever happen at all.
‘I thought it was going to happen this week, then it was next week. It dragged on a little bit and I wasn’t too sure.
‘But the manager kept me in the loop. He kept in contact all the time, which was a nice touch.
‘He was saying “it’s fine, it just needs a bit more time” and I was happy to wait. I just had to be a bit patient.
‘I’ve got a family and turned 30 in February so I was happy to wait to get my future settled.
‘There were a couple of other clubs interested but I was happy to see this through.
‘Thankfully it happened.’
Norris joined fellow new-boy Jason Pearce at the Wellington Sports Ground yesterday.
They were among eight players present for the first full training session.
Others are set to arrive on Friday, while the Blues expect to seal several deals this week. And Norris was far from disheartened by the sparse turn out.
He added: ‘Yesterday was good, they were easing us in slightly.
‘The numbers were down but the manager is working hard on that.
‘The rest of the lads have been great and very welcoming, as have the rest of the staff.
‘I don’t really know anyone too well, only from playing against them, but they seem fine.
‘There aren’t many players but it is of a good standard.’