Naismith: Why I quit Pompey
KAL NAISMITH reflected on the greatest years of his football career.
But the Scot is adamant the time was right to walk away from Fratton Park to seek fresh challenges.
After 94 appearances and 21 goals, Naismith has departed Pompey as a free agent after a new deal could not be agreed.
The 26-year-old was an instrumental figure in last year’s League Two title-winning side, finishing as the Blues’ 15-goal top scorer.
He continued to feature under new boss Kenny Jackett, particularly during the second half of the League One campaign.
Yet Naismith is eager to test himself elsewhere and leaves upon the expiry of the three-year contract he signed in May 2015.
He told The News: ‘All good things come to an end at some point.
‘Pompey was an amazing time, an incredible three years, and I’ll always look back on it with the greatest of memories.
‘This club has by far and away given me the best moments of my career.
‘Obviously, making my debut for Rangers, the club I supported, was amazing.
‘But winning the title with Pompey was such an achievement, it felt so special.
‘But it was time to move on, time for a change. Both parties couldn’t come to an agreement on a new deal and I just felt it was right to go.
‘I’ve absolutely loved it, there have been massive highs and great experiences – I will always look back on Pompey with fond memories.
‘But it was time for another chapter in my life.
‘You never know, my time might not be done at Portsmouth, I don’t know.
‘I’ve built up a very good relationship with the fans. We’ve had different opinions at times, that is football, but I felt overall I had a great relationship with them.
‘And I’d like to thank them for supporting me very, very well over the three years.’
Naismith’s life away from football is also about to change, with girlfriend, Lauren, this summer set to give birth to their first child.
The attacking midfielder came close to joining Wigan in January.
Now he is examining options for his next move.
He added: ‘I won’t necessarily move back up north.
‘I have made sacrifices in my life and never really lived near my home, I would never go and play my football just to be near home.
‘I do what I do because I live to do it, I want to get to the highest level, I want to play in the highest leagues, I want to try to be the best I possibly can be.
‘I’m going to Spain this week and I don’t know if you know them, but there’s a club called Barcelona!
‘Seriously, though, there is interest from clubs and I’m just weighing up my options. I want to sit down and see, there is a lot to consider.
‘I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks with my family, my girlfriend is expecting a baby, and then I’ll make my decision from there.’