David Connolly bid farewell to Pompey – and revealed his disappointment.
The 37-year-old yesterday conceded defeat in his long-running first-team fight and reached a mutual agreement to depart Fratton Park.
He has now joined AFC Wimbledon, managed by his former Dons team-mate Neal Ardley, on a short-term deal.
Connolly has not been considered for selection by Andy Awford this season, yet continued to train regularly with the Blues in the hope of prompting a change of heart.
Now his Pompey career is officially over after 38 appearances and 12 goals.
The former Republic of Ireland international has nothing but praise for the fans and club he leaves behind.
But Connolly admitted it was time for him to go.
‘I am proud to have played for such a great club and have always got on with the fans,’ Connolly told The News.
‘It’s a shame it has not worked out but I wish everyone well – there are some good people there.
‘The team has a lot of ability and I really cannot see why they cannot get into the play-offs with a run of form.
‘I had wanted to stay and waited and waited as long as I could have done to pull on the shirt again – I just could not wait any longer.
‘For me it was important to keep training throughout. That’s what footballers are meant to do and the last time I trained with Pompey was Tuesday.
‘I enjoy playing football and don’t want to be at home putting my feet up.
‘I want to be training and running and proving a 37-year-old can run just as well as somebody 15 years younger.
‘I have not gone bitching or moaning to the press about not being in the team, I have got my head down and got on with it.
‘It was not meant to be and I have now joined someone who wants to work with me.
‘But there are a lot of really good people at Pompey, such as the chairman, the chief executive, the players and the board, while Gary Waddock is a terrific coach I previously worked with at Oxford.
‘I wish everybody well. It is a fantastic club and hopefully it will get the success those fans deserve.’
Connolly’s absence from Pompey’s squad has long been a major talking point among fans.
The club throughout have remained diplomatically silent on the matter.
The veteran striker has also declined to explain the reasons behind the fall-out.
But he is delighted to have prolonged his career at Wimbledon and goes into their squad for tomorrow’s visit of Carlisle.
He added: ‘I know 99 per cent of people I have worked with before are really keen to work with me again.
‘Neal Ardley has shown faith in me. It’s great to be wanted again and it is onwards and upwards.’
AWFS ON STRIKER’S EXIT n Pages 66-67