Chance to run out at Fratton again excites Ritchie

Swindon Town's Matt Ritchie
Swindon Town's Matt Ritchie
Pompey were crowned league champions on this day in 1949. Picture: Pompey History Society

On this day picture gallery: Pompey crowned league champions

Have your say

Matt Ritchie is relishing the prospect of playing at Fratton Park again next season – and praying his boyhood club are still in existence for the clash.

The midfielder, who left Pompey in January 2011, has been a key part of Swindon’s promotion-winning side this season.

The Gosport youngster has netted 10 goals for the Robins and scooped the League Two player of the season award.

And Paolo di Canio’s side can cap off a superb campaign by wrapping up the title with victory over Port Vale on Saturday.

The 22-year-old made 10 first-team appearances for the Blues before Steve Cotterill deemed him surplus to requirements and accepted an offer of around £250,000 from the Wiltshire club.

But, with Pompey’s relegation to League One confirmed last weekend, he looks set to make a Fratton return next season.

And Ritchie would love to run out in front of Pompey’s fans again – even if he is on the opposing side.

He said: ‘I’m really looking forward to the opportunity of playing at Fratton Park again, it would be great to go back.

‘I still keep in touch with a few of the boys at Pompey who were there when I was.

‘I speak to Joel Ward and Chris Neville (Pompey’s strength and conditioning coach) pretty regularly.

‘There’s two or three of them at the club that I keep in touch with.’

Despite such success in his time at the County Ground, Pompey are never far from Ritchie’s thoughts.

He added: ‘I was obviously hoping they could pick themselves up and stay in the Championship but it was always going to be a tough task – the main thing is that the club survives.

‘It’s disappointing to see the state of the club at the moment but there’s a lot of good people involved with Pompey.

‘It’s a great club with a fantastic fan-base.

‘And they’ve got a good, young manager who is just starting his managerial career.

‘From what I hear, the fans like him and they are right behind the club and the team.

‘As long as it stays like that, I’m sure someone will come in and buy the club.

‘Obviously it’s not a good time for Pompey at the moment but, hopefully, it can all be sorted over the summer.’