Bennett: Why I had to leave Pompey

Kyle Bennett pinpointed a desire for regular first-team football as the motivation for tearing up his Pompey deal.

Thursday, 1st February 2018, 4:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st February 2018, 5:12 pm
Former Pompey wideman Kyle Bennett Picture: Joe Pepler

The winger quit Fratton Park on transfer deadline day having reached a mutual agreement to end the three-year contract he signed in May.

He has since joined Bristol Rovers, training with his new club this morning.

Bennett had slipped out of favour under Kenny Jackett, reduced to serving as an unused substitute in six out of the Blues’ past seven matches.

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It was that first-team absence which prompted an acceptance from the 27-year-old he had no Pompey future.

And after 117 appearances and 13 goals, the League Two title-winner departs for a new challenge.

He told The News: ‘Sometimes have to compromise a little bit just to get yourself game time.

‘It had been going on for a couple of weeks. I didn’t want to leave at first and was going to stay and try to fight it out, but things ended up coming to a head towards the end of the window.

‘For me, it’s disappointing to leave such a massive club. I’ve made many, many friends and had some great times in two-and-a-half years.

‘Yet for four games I had not even touched the pitch, and before that November and December.

‘My prerogative was always to play on the left side, that is where I feel the most comfortable. Matty Kennedy has done really well, he’s stiff competition, and when the manager changed it he then put other people there instead of me.

‘It looked as though I was falling down the pecking order. The writing was on the wall for me, really.

‘I could have stayed and seen it out, but it’s just not me to be honest with you and it probably wasn’t going to get better for me in the weeks to come. Sitting there for another six months doing nothing is only going to hinder me.

‘It was time to move on. Kenny has his own ideas and will most likely be manager for a long time to come – it probably wasn’t going to change for me during that time.’

In previous transfer windows, Bennett had been the subject of negotiations with Ipswich and, in August, there was strong interest from Wigan.

Yet he remained – until Wednesday.

He added: ‘I signed a new contract in May and was looking forward to settling down and buying a house.

‘As it turned out, we didn’t end up doing it because quite early on I was out of the team and at the end of the last window (August) there were a few ummings and ahhings about whether I was going to stay.

‘From that window I knew it wouldn’t be right for me to buy a house.

‘On Wednesday, my wife said that it’s crazy because every transfer window things have been so close to happening – and then ended up not going through.

‘It has literally been every window. That is part of football, I always try to focus my mind that I’ll be wherever I am, that’s the way to look at it because you can’t look too far ahead.

‘You cannot think you are off and get your head turned, you are still at that club.’