Jed Wallace: Hurt at failure will live on - but I gave my all

Pompey v York City. League Two. Saturday, May 2, 2015. Picture: Joe Pepler PPP-150505-124326001
Pompey v York City. League Two. Saturday, May 2, 2015. Picture: Joe Pepler PPP-150505-124326001
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss discusses recruitment process

  • Wallace tells of ‘embarrassment’ at failure to be part of winning Pompey team
  • Midfielder content he gave total commitment to Blues
  • Wallace lifts lid on feeling of being hated by supporters
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HE LEAVES Pompey with his head held high.

But, for Jed Wallace, the embarrassment of failure will linger on.

Jed Wallace applauds the Fratton faithful after being subsituted in the final game of last season against York Picture: Joe Pepler

Jed Wallace applauds the Fratton faithful after being subsituted in the final game of last season against York Picture: Joe Pepler

The attacker finally brought down the curtain on a four-year stint at Fratton Park 12 days ago, with his departure for Wolves.

The 21-year-old’s emergence after arriving from non-league football in 2011 has long seen him come in for attention from suitors.

Last year, the vultures were circling and looking to pounce on the Blues’ prized-asset.

Peterborough’s bid was on the table, while noises were being made about Wolves and Leeds being keen on the 21-year-old.

We should have done better - 16th is embarrassing. Embarrassing.

Jordan Cross

But a commitment to his mentor, Andy Awford, who had just overseen the club’s irresistible charge to League Two safety, saw Wallace stay put.

A new contract was signed as hope sprung eternal over promotion prospects amid the summer sunshine at Fratton Park.

The grim reality proved different, however, as Pompey struggled to their worst-ever league finish.

And that hurt will live on with Wallace.

‘My only regret is I wasn’t part of a successful team at Portsmouth,’ he admitted, as he bids farewell to Blues fans.

‘I honestly thought, when I signed last summer, this would be the season where we’d take off as a team. I thought this would be when we’d do it.

‘The fans treat you like a hero when you’re not doing well, so I can only imagine what it would have been like.

‘It wasn’t to be, though, but I gave absolutely everything and I played myself into a good position.

‘I gave my all for the club, and I think the supporters appreciated that.’

The sight of the League Two table, as it came to a close last month, was enough to induce embarrassment in Wallace.

Viewing some of the outfits sitting above the club in the League Two landscape hurt the man whose 17 goals couldn’t stop it being a miserable campaign.

Wallace said: Last season we should have done better – 16th is embarrassing. Embarrassing.

‘No disrespect to Dagenham or Morecambe but they shouldn’t be finishing above Portsmouth Football Club.

‘I spoke to Holmesy (Ricky Holmes) the other day. He’s in Cyprus and Pompey fans are coming up to him over dinner to speak.

‘I’ve been everywhere you can imagine – and there are Pompey fans there.

‘I live in Camberley – 90 minutes away. I go to the gym and there are Pompey shirts everywhere. There’s more Portsmouth than Arsenal or Chelsea.

‘You look at some of those teams from last season – we shouldn’t be finishing lower than those clubs. It’s embarrassing, and shouldn’t happen.’

His honest assessment of last season is typical of Wallace – a player who has never been one to swerve a question or duck airing his views.

Doing just that, via social media, has been part of his open-door policy with supporters in his time at the club.

That means, however, the contact is a two-way street, and has led to Wallace being subjected to some abhorrent abuse during his time at the club.

The noise from Twitter trolls reached a sad cacophony in January last year, when Wallace was in the middle of a 24-game barren run.

‘I look back to Mansfield at home the season before last,’ said Wallace, as he remembered a dark day for himself in the 1-1 draw. ‘There were a group of girls who voted for man of the match.

‘Knightsy (Alan Knight) told me they’d given me the man-of-the-match award after I’d had a nightmare for 60 minutes.

‘I’ll never forget that moment, picking it up and thinking everyone hates me.

‘I’m not someone who wants a 100-per-cent pass rate, who passes it forward three times a game. That’s not me.

‘I’m going to take risks and that is my personality. Luckily, last season, it came off virtually ever time.

‘When it didn’t come off there would be people saying why is he doing that? The same people who jump up and down when I score! But that’s why we love football.’

The Twitter and fan flak has, thankfully, long since been put to bed as wall-to-wall appreciation was aired from supporters after his Wolves departure.

Wallace, as those who know him will testify, is his own harshest critic.

And he can still find fault in his form across a season where his displays were a beacon of light in a grey campaign.

Wallace added: ‘Football’s a game of opinions, and people will have opinions whether I’m a good or a bad player.

‘I’ve always maintained the most important opinion is the manager of the club I’m playing for.

‘When I was 19 I was still getting played every single week. That says a lot to me.

‘The season before last, I think I can honestly say there were times when I wasn’t playing well, but I’d score a goal and come alive for 20 minutes. I was a bit up and down.

‘But last season I felt the consistency. There were probably four or five games I wasn’t happy with.

‘Dagenham away, Dagenham at home in the first half, Morecambe at home in the first half, Southend at home in the second half.

‘I don’t look back and see too many games where I could have given more.’

The fact Pompey fans do see the level of commitment Wallace offered their club was witnessed in his final game in a royal blue shirt last month.

The standing ovation he was afforded from all four sides of the ground was high on meaning for players and fans, in a moment everyone knew was farewell.

‘I don’t think people realise how important things like that are,’ said Wallace, as he relived an emotionally-charged afternoon.

‘When people were singing my name and I was walking around the pitch after the final game, it meant so much.

‘To come from my background, things like that are unbelievable. I just can’t thank people enough for that.

‘I look back with good memories, but I’m also excited about the future.

‘I will always look out for Portsmouth now in terms of results. The first team I’ll look our for.

‘I won’t forget what happened – and what Portsmouth did for me.’