DAVID FORDE revealed his Pompey move has been 14 years in the making.
Now the Blues’ new keeper is looking to make up for lost time by bringing a vocal presence to his side’s promotion charge.
Forde has told of how he was inches away from making the move to Fratton Park in 2002 as Harry Redknapp became manager.
The 36-year-old instead opted to join West Ham, however, from Welsh outfit Barry Town.
The Republic of Ireland international never appeared for the Hammers before moving to Cardiff and then having a long association with Millwall.
Now, though, he’s champing at the bit to make his mark at Pompey ahead of the new campaign after securing a season-long loan.
Forde said: ‘It’s amazing how things happen in football.
‘If it’s meant to be it won’t pass you by.
‘Harry Redknapp came to meet me back in 2002 down in Cardiff, just before I signed for West Ham.
‘Hindsight is a great thing, but it’s amazing how 14 years later I find myself down here again. It was very close to happening.
‘I knew what my decision was, but you can look back in football and think you should have done this or that.
‘But now I’m here, looking forward to the challenge and it’s exciting times.’
Forde made a confident debut at Bristol City last weekend, where his vocal presence was felt.
He promised there will be plenty more of that this season, and believes his new club can see their resolve stiffened by suffering play-off heartache.
Forde said: ‘Anything I can do to benefit the back four and team is what I’m here to bring.
‘It’s about the team, the team dynamic and doing the best for the team.
‘The defence understands (being vocal). They’ve been in the game and I’ve been in the game a long time.
‘We’ll have our differences through the season, but it’s never personal.
‘That’s the thing. It’s about being professional and getting the job done.
‘My aim and goal is for the team to succeed and my role in the team is to help us achieve those goals.
‘It’s a tremendous football club and it’s unfortunate what’s happened over the past few years – that’s been unfortunate.
‘My drive, my aim and my goal is to come here and make my mark.
‘A lot of the lads will be feeling the disappointment of last season.
‘But it’s time to put that behind us and concentrate on the year ahead.
‘I’ve been in teams which have narrowly missed out on promotion.
‘It galvanises you and builds a steely determination, one that I feel, if we can get the balance right, can help us to go on and have a very successful season.’