Katie James 'overwhelmed' by boss Jay Sadler's gesture in final appearance as she brings eight-year Portsmouth Women's stay to an end

Katie James ended her eight-year Pompey Women’s association on the perfect note.

By Lewis Mason
Friday, 4th June 2021, 2:51 pm
Updated Friday, 4th June 2021, 3:59 pm
Captain for the night Katie James signed off from Pompey Women by winning the PDFA Women's Cup trophy. Picture: Dave Haines
Captain for the night Katie James signed off from Pompey Women by winning the PDFA Women's Cup trophy. Picture: Dave Haines

James, 25, who featured 96 times for the first team and netted 24 goals across her eight-year stay, revealed she was 'overwhelmed' when manager Jay Sadler told her she'd be skippering the team for the final.

But for those wondering why the waterworks were not flowing as Pompey Women’s current longest serving player said farewell, well, those came earlier in the week after informing her team-mates of her exit at training on Wednesday - while boss Sadler was informed last weekend.

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James said: ‘You always want to go out on a win, we made it hard for ourselves, leaving the club with two trophies this season - considering we’ve barely had a season - I can’t really think of a better way to go out.

‘For Jay to give me the captain’s armband on my last appearance was something I was really proud of.

‘I haven’t had the opportunity to captain the club so to be able to do that meant a lot to me. I was quite overwhelmed when he made that decision.

‘I think I got most of the crying out of the way - I told most of the girls at training on Wednesday - and I told Jay (Sadler) at the weekend, so I think I got most of the crying out of the way. It didn’t hit me that much last night.

Departing Katie James, right, was presented with a signed Pompey shirt by manager Jay Sadler. Picture: Dave Haines

‘I think in my eight years at Portsmouth I’ve learnt a lot, especially under Jay, he’s put me in quite a lot of different positions - which at the time I hated - but looking back on it now I think I’ve learnt a lot. I’m leaving the club a better player and a better person.’

James arrived at the club as an 18-year-old from Reading in 2013. Initially featuring for the development squad, former manager Perry Northeast handed the Bedhampton-based attacker her senior debut in the same year.

James says making the breakthrough from development squad to becoming a first team regular remains one of her proudest achievements.

But the incredible eight Women's Hampshire Senior Cup wins - Pompey have won the competition 12 seasons running - also stand out for her.

Pompey Women celebrate their PDFA Women's Cup triumph. Picture: Dave Haines

And the most recent penalties victory over south coast rivals Southampton FC Women is a moment that will live long in the memory for James.

She said: ‘I think the Women’s Hampshire Senior Cup is always a highlight - I won that for the past eight years that I’ve been here.

‘The most recent one (beating Southampton FC Women on penalties), for me, was probably my biggest highlight - beating Southampton in a Hampshire Cup final is always a good way to go out.

‘I think breaking into the first team, I worked so hard for so long to get into the first team, I think it’s always good for those players in the development team now to see there is a pathway into the first team - if you work hard you will get there. Those would be my main highlights.’

James admitted the decision to take on a new challenge was a tough one for her - particularly as she feels Sadler will assemble a squad who will challenge for Women's National League Southern Premier Division next term.

But she jokingly left the door open to a swift Blues return, after they win promotion to the Championship next season.

James added: ‘It’s a new challenge. I’ll be joining a new club, it’s yet to be confirmed, so I can't say too much just yet.

‘I really think the girls will push for promotion next year so it was a really difficult decision to leave because I want to be a part of that.

‘There’s a good structure in place now, good staff, and they’re going in the right direction.

‘Hopefully, for them, they’ll get promoted next year.’