Halford: I did what was best for Pompey

Gred Halford completed his �200,000 move to Nottingham Forest last week
Gred Halford completed his �200,000 move to Nottingham Forest last week
Oli Hawkins celebrates his goal against Fleetwood. Picture: Mark Robinson

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Greg Halford reflected on his Pompey sacrifice and admitted: I couldn’t put the club’s future in jeopardy.

The Fratton favourite completed a £200,000 switch to Nottingham Forest at the end of last week.

By doing so, he effectively wrote off the final two years of his contract, which was worth around £1.5m if he had seen out the duration – and without receiving a penny in compensation.

Instead, the deferrals Halford has taken since April will be paid back over the next four years.

Administrator Trevor Birch has repeatedly spoken of his frustration at stalled negotiations to reach compromises to end the deals of Kanu, Dave Kitson and Tal Ben Haim early.

Although Kanu has now quit the club after serving a 14-day notice, negotiations with the other two players continue.

In the meantime, Halford has joined Luke Varney, David Norris and Erik Huseklepp in walking away from ‘substantial sums’ in the past week.

And Halford, who made 77 appearances and scored 12 times for the Blues, insisted it was a course of action he was only too willing to take in a bid to help the club avoid liquidation.

He said: ‘If you speak to people close to me they will say I am not a selfish person – and I always wanted the best for the club.

‘I did not want to put the club in jeopardy for selfish reasons. No way.

‘It was not a hard decision, to be honest. I wanted to do whatever I could to help Pompey and the fans.

‘Let’s be honest, it’s the fans’ club as well as anybody else’s.

‘Obviously each player is a little different in all this and I have long been prepared to walk away from future earnings and the contract I was on.

‘The club can then pay me back deferrals over four years when it is alive. Pompey surviving is the most important thing.

‘I do not see it as losing anything. You get bought and sold in football regardless of how long is left on the contract.

‘I realise this is a unique situation but, from my point of view, it had to be done and I was willing to walk away from my future earnings.

‘I was actually going through the process of changing agents at this time and am still going through it now so it made it a lot harder for me to get a move quicker than I actually did. Having said that, going to Forest still happened quickly – a matter of a few days.

‘Now I’m looking forward to a new challenge ahead at a fantastic club – and for Pompey to remain alive.’

Halford’s situation was complicated by the fact Pompey still owed Wolves £200,000 as part of the deal which brought him to Fratton Park last summer.

Had the 27-year-old invoked a 14-day notice and walked away from Fratton for nothing, the Blues would still have been liable for that debt.

As it was, a fee of £200,000 was negotiated with Forest and then handed over to Wolves, enabling the club to remove one of their football creditors.

Similarly, Varney moved to Leeds for £200,000 days earlier, which paid off a transfer debt to Derby.

Halford’s performances on the pitch and his Twitter presence off it meant he built a good relationship with the Pompey fans he has left behind.

And he concedes they will always have a special part for a player whose career has certainly been nomadic.

Halford added: ‘Pompey is one of the few clubs I have been able to connect with the fans.

‘It is no secret I completely adore the fans and they are one of the best, if not the best in the game.

‘I was lucky enough to have some kind of rapport with them.

‘I will never forget that and I am not just saying that because it sounds good.

‘My relationship with them certainly made it a lot easier to help in the current situation.

‘I don’t want them left without a club.’