Mixed emotions as Ritchie returns

Matt Ritchie was on target for Swindon on his first return to Fratton Park since leaving Pompey
Matt Ritchie was on target for Swindon on his first return to Fratton Park since leaving Pompey
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Matt Ritchie revealed he sneakily joined in with the Pompey Chimes on a night of mixed emotions after his goalscoring return to Fratton Park.

The lifelong Blues fan joined Swindon in January 2011 after seeing his first-team opportunities limited under previous boss Steve Cotterill.

But although the winger returned to haunt his former club with the opening goal in the 2-1 win last night, he cut short his goal celebrations and even quietly sang along with the Blues fans while he was helping the Robins to victory over his old club.

The Gosport-raised winger explained: ‘There were a few mixed emotions for me.

‘I’m like a big kid when I score and it’s hard to keep your emotions in. But then I had a second to think about it and I stopped myself from celebrating.

‘I’m still a Pompey fan so it was strange playing against them. When they were singing the Chimes, I was joining in under my breath!’

While Ritchie wasn’t given the opportunity many think he merited at Pompey, he has no hard feelings.

The 23-year-old said: ‘In the end, it was a mutual decision.

‘I didn’t want to sit on the bench and it was probably better for me to go somewhere else and play games.

‘Sometimes you have to move on. I was sad to leave but I can’t thank everyone enough for what they did for me and now I am doing all I can to help Swindon get promoted.’

Ritchie also believes Pompey will soon start finding their feet after being impressed by the Blues’ efforts.

He said: ‘They have a never-say-die attitude here and I’m sure they will be okay this season.

‘They are one of the best teams we have played so I’m sure they will start climbing the table soon.’