Player of the season’s pride at making Pompey smile

Enda Stevens with the player-of-the-season trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler
Enda Stevens with the player-of-the-season trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler
Plymouth Argyle's Remi Matthews. Picture: PA Images

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Pompey’s player of the season surveyed title delight and told supporters: I’m proud we’ve made you smile.

Enda Stevens spoke of his honour at being named the Blues’ top player on the best day of his footballing career.

Fans invade Fratton Park at the final whistle. Picture: Joe Pepler

Fans invade Fratton Park at the final whistle. Picture: Joe Pepler

The people of Portsmouth were exultant as their team claimed the League Two against Cheltenham in dramatic style.

And Stevens cut an emotional figure as he reflected on what his team had achieved, as a city rejoiced.

He said: ‘You get blown away by it. You can’t put into words how it feels. It’s madness.

‘This is the best moment of my career. The drama was unbelievable.

‘This club is begging for success - and we’ve given it to them.

‘It’s been our aim since we’ve been here to give the fans that joy.

‘We came here because we wanted to embrace that pressure.

‘We wanted to put the smile on the fans’ faces after those years of pain.’

Stevens spoke of the sense of destiny which had taken hold in the Blues camp ahead of the Cheltenham clash.

The left-back knew, though, his side had to deliver their win before results went in Pompey’s direction.

That unfolded as Paul Cook’s men went in front and laboured before five goals in 22 second-half minutes blew the Robins away.

Stevens said: ‘We’d been saying it all week.

‘We knew if we looked after our result, it could happen.

‘It was a case of win the game and see where it takes us.

‘We were hoping others would slip up and thankfully they did. Now we’re champions.

‘We’ve dealt with pressure all year. When it came to the crunch we were used to it.

‘People wrote us off, but I’ve always thought we were the best team in the league.

‘The league doesn’t lie. After 46 games we’re top of the league - we’re the best team.’

Stevens capped another fantastic season by collecting The News/Sports Mail Player-of-the-season award.

That means the 26-year-old follows in the footsteps of the likes of David James, Glen Johnson, Peter Crouch, Darren Anderton, Alan Knight and Mark Hateley to win the prestigious honour.

There has been talk about the Irishman’s future as his contract comes to a close.

There will be no shortage of suitors for his signature, but the signs are Stevens would prefer to remain at Fratton Park, if terms could be agreed.

The former Aston Villa man was proud to be named the top Blues player of the campaign.

He said: ‘It’s unbelievable.

‘I can’t thank the fans enough and I can’t thank The News enough for their support.

‘I didn’t get slated in the paper, too much, I suppose! These accolades mean something now we have achieved what we set out to do.

‘I can look back on this season and know I’ve worked my heart out for this club.

‘It’s emotional. It’s hard to explain.

‘It’s my first bit of success at 
this club and it feels unbelievably good.’