Ex-Pompey skipper: Cherished memories I will never forget

Michael Doyle lifts the League Two trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Doyle lifts the League Two trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler
Bradley Lethbridge. Picture: Colin Farmery

Pompey Academy sign year off as loan youngsters exit

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FOR Michael Doyle, the unbreakable bond will survive time’s ravages.

As players, as management, as supporters, their collective might pulled off an achievement at a ‘special’ club which will never diminish.

I’m a bit emotional it has come to the end. It’s a special club and one I will definitely hold close to my heart

Michael Doyle

The 2016-17 campaign is one to treasure for the Irishman.

Reg Flewin, Jimmy Dickinson, Steve Aizlewood, Paul Merson and Sol Campbell have all skippered Pompey to silverware since the Second World War ended.

Now Doyle has joined their exulted ranks.

The League Two title also represents the first trophy for a 35-year-old approaching 700 career appearances.

Within five days of that memorable accomplishment, Doyle had rejoined Coventry City on a 12-month deal with an option.

It was a soul-searching decision conducted with the head rather than heart to relocate him close to the family home.

Yet two seasons on the south coast will forever be a source of pride for the combative midfielder.

Doyle said: ‘I enjoyed every minute of being at Pompey.

‘There were a lot of good times, some tough times as well, but you cherish the good ones more and to get over the line on that last day capped a special two years for me.

‘I’m a bit emotional it has come to the end. It’s a special club and one I will definitely hold close to my heart.

‘You see the history of the club and little things like me being the captain, it’s great for my kids to be able to look at things like that.

‘I love my football and what we achieved will always take me back to Pompey. Us lads who achieved that title will probably meet up in years to come and it will be great, we will always have those memories to go back to.

‘Promotions are so hard to come by, so to have those couple of years I did was brilliant, you look back and it went by so quickly.

‘It has certainly hit me now I have moved on – but I have to get my head onto the next challenge.

‘I’ve had all the lads texting me so that’s a bit tough. That is probably the thing I will miss the most. Obviously the fans have been brilliant, but the lads in the dressing room are great.

‘It will be tough not to play with them again, that’s the way football is, everyone moves on. Sometimes you can overstay your welcome – I didn’t want that.’

After 96 games and three goals, Pompey life is at an end for Doyle. Yet he insists the Blues’ future remains encouraging.

He added: ‘I remember my first few games for the club, like Dagenham & Redbridge, and thinking how brilliant it was playing at this ground with so much character. It is a unique football club.

‘Accrington was the best goal I have ever scored, you don’t think you are ever going to score those type of goals.

‘Pompey were at the bottom and this group took them to the next step, the first building blocks to get where the club wants to be.

‘It’s special, a one-city club and they will get there eventually. There will be bumps along the road, but something wonderful is going on there.’