Pompey skipper: Promotion heroes showed character

Michael Doyle paid tribute to Pompey's strength of character after proving the doubters wrong.

Wednesday, 19th April 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:47 pm
Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues will play in League One next season after clinching promotion with three matches to spare.

An outstanding return of 22 points from a possible 27 – from their past nine fixtures – ensured Paul Cook’s side sprinted past the finishing line at Meadow Lane on Monday.

That impressive haul represented the ideal response to last month’s 1-0 defeat to Crewe.

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It was a result which sparked heavy criticism in the direction of the Blues, particularly during the players’ customary post-match applauding of the fans.

But Doyle’s believes the squad emphatically answered the questions posed to turn around their season.

Pompey’s skipper said: ‘We are a close group and every time questions have been asked we have always responded.

‘Everyone can enjoy themselves now, Saturday is going to be a great day and it feels a bit surreal. You don’t know what to do with yourself.

‘But you go back to that Crewe game and everything changed.

‘We were going to sink again or stand up tall. We had the character and it was a case of having to show it.

‘I’m not criticising anybody, but people asked questions and we had to show what we were about as a team, as individuals and as people.

‘It shows what you are about when you stand up and answer everybody that’s doubting you – and that’s what we did.

‘I’m not saying we are the best team in the world, but everybody questioned us and we answered them in the right way.

‘That is all you can do – let your football do the talking.’

For Doyle, it was more footballing glory in what is the twilight of his career.

The 35-year-old won promotion from League One with Leeds in 2009-10 during a loan spell. Now he can add success at Pompey to a CV consisting of 674 appearances.

Although, the midfielder admits the achievement arrived 12 months later than he wanted.

He added: ‘For me, promotion doesn’t really feel like anything to be honest, and I’m not being arrogant or anything like that.

‘I did the job I wanted to do last year and we came up a bit short, which was disappointing.

‘Promotion is the same reason I went to Leeds and the same reason I went to Sheffield United. I’ve had that many disappointments in my career in the last six or seven years, I’ve lost play-off finals and semi-finals and missed out on automatic promotions.

‘I’m just happy for everyone involved in the club. It’s a fan-owned club and there are so people who work there and do all the job no-one sees.

‘They are the ones who do all the hard work, we are the ones fortunate enough to pull on the jersey on a Saturday to represent them.’