They came, they saw, they left '“ and they have done absolutely nothing since

With Johnny Ertl, the intent was there, the enthusiasm was present '“ it's just he couldn't find a desk to lean on.

Sunday, 3rd February 2013, 10:23 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 8:52 pm

Still, the Pompey skipper did finally put pen to paper on his latest monthly deal at the Wellington Sports Ground on Monday.

The hunt for a table in the echoing rooms of empty Portakabins, devoid of their contents after a training ground move to Fratton Park, may have been a tough one.

Nonetheless, Ertl did eventually succeed and so Guy Whittingham had retained another player.

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Meanwhile, the player who joined Pompey on that same August day as Ertl, Darel Russell, was leaving with bin bag thrown into his black VW Golf.

Perhaps an eagerness to exit was behind his driving oversight as he steered his vehicle into the drainage moat situated in the middle of the car park.

The grinding as he emerged through the other side was enough for him to stop and evaluate before he was off U-turning in the Concorde Club and out of Pompey’s life forever.

Contrasting moments for the defensive-midfield pair, yet departures like Russell have become commonplace at Fratton Park this season.

He stuck around for 18 matches, certainly more than the majority of those who have come and gone.

In total, 47 players have been named in Pompey squads this season, of whom 26 have left.

Russell’s exit, though, has received more flak than most, especially considering his ‘success’ comments to The News.

Harsh considering he wanted the stability of a long-term deal and gave plenty off the pitch by helping youngsters on the training ground.

In terms of performances, he was average, certainly not woefully inadequate.

But there is a reason why Pompey have been an attractive proposition for 38 new players this season.

The club have offered the chance to resurrect many an ailing career, while others were given the opportunity to get precious experience.

Tellingly, those who have since departed Fratton Park this season have hardly enjoyed unparalleled success elsewhere.

Certainly, many will have already slipped from the consciousness of fans, such were their impacts.

Mikkel Andersen (19 games) and Jordan Obita (eight games) have not played since returning to parent club Reading, with the latter now loaned out to Oldham.

Kevin Long (six games) has played only twice for Burnley since going back in September.

Kieran Djilali (one game) returned to former club AFC Wimbledon after his Pompey contract was cancelled two weeks in.

However, the last of his five Dons matches, all as a substitute, came on December 15 and he has failed to make the past two squads.

Akos Buzsaky (eight games) left Pompey under something of a cloud after refusing to be on the bench against Doncaster.

He joined Barnsley on loan with a view to a permanent deal, yet made five appearances before leaving when his contract expired in December.

Then there was Carl Dickinson (six games) who returned for a second Pompey loan spell yet, once again, didn’t impress.

After going back to Watford, he has played two first-team minutes and failed to make a squad since December 1.

Conor Clifford (three games) returned to Chelsea at the end of his loan spell, before later making a switch to Crawley.

The 19-year-old would feature for just six minutes for the Reds during his entire stay, although he did start a Sussex Senior Cup match against Whitehawk.

He is currently on trial at Sheffield United, trying to earn himself a third loan move of the campaign.

Alex Cisak (one game) was recalled by Oldham days after arriving at Pompey, when Dean Bouzanis received a red card and three-match ban.

Bouzanis regained his place straight after serving his suspension and Cisak hasn’t played since.

Jack Compton (13 games) joined Colchester not long after complaining on Twitter over his lack of Pompey games, then denying his comments were to do with football.

Still, after just two substitute appearances, he picked up a rib injury and missed the past two matches before being unused substitute yesterday.

Luke Rodgers (13 games, three goals) made a return to former club Shrewsbury but has found goals hard to come by, with two in 13 appearances.

Finally, Izale McLeod (27 games, 11 goals) joined MK Dons at the turn of the year after electing to leave Pompey.

He has presently made two appearances and has yet to score.

So have Pompey fans been given reason to curse any of their departures?

Of course, there is the odd exception.

Josh Thompson (two games) is a regular in the Colchester side, skippering them in the past three matches including yesterday at Fratton.

Highly-regarded, manager Joe Dunne has tipped him to play in the Premier League one day.

Then there’s Jake Jervis (three games), who was recalled by Birmingham.

Lee Clark sold him to Turkish side Elazigspor two weeks ago, where he scored on his debut against Fenerbahce.

Inevitably, all eyes will now be on Russell as he chases medals and titles.

Good luck to him.

But let’s not gloss over why he – like many others – were at Pompey in the first place.