Derry City legend Liam Coyle has thrown his weight behind Ronan Curtis’ move to Pompey.
The former Candystripes forward has gone against Kenny Shiels’ desire to keep the London-born talent at the Brandywell.
Curtis is closing in on a switch to Fratton Park, with the Blues in advanced talks with the 22-year-old.
That’s despite Derry boss Shiels categorically stating the Republic of Ireland under-21 international wouldn’t be joining Pompey – and is adamant his club are a better team than the Blues.
Yet Coyle, who was linked with Manchester United, Benfica and Celtic during his playing days before suffering a knee injury, insists ‘nobody would blame’ Curtis for leaving Derry to join Pompey.
The 49-year-old admits he was too loyal to his hometown club during his career and players must look after themselves.
Coyle told the Irish Mirror: ‘It comes down to money, contract security and exposure. You can’t blame a player for trying to better themselves.
‘As much as I love to see young players staying, I think the likes of myself and players I played with were all too loyal to Derry at times.
‘There were people making more money elsewhere, but we stayed loyal to Derry.
‘I’d be saying to players now that you have to look after yourselves as it’s a short career.
‘As much as we all love putting on the red and white jerseys and playing at the Brandywell, you have to think long term because it doesn’t last forever.
‘There was no question about it, we were too loyal at times. I was getting offers every year from clubs in the Irish League and clubs in the south.
‘The wages were getting doubled and the signing on fees were a lot more than what Derry were giving you.
‘But because you felt local, you rarely tested the water and, looking back on it now, maybe it wasn’t the greatest idea.
‘There were a lot more people playing in the League of Ireland making a lot more money than myself.
‘So good luck to Ronan. Nobody would blame him.
‘The days of being loyal to football clubs are long gone. The day they don’t want you anymore, you’ll be out the door anyway.’