On this day: Defoe - I've no Pompey regrets

Former Pompey striker Jermain Defoe
Former Pompey striker Jermain Defoe
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey aiming for place where normal business rules don’t apply

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On this day 10 years ago, Jermain Defoe insisted he had no regrets over his Pompey move – despite missing a Wembley final.

Back on February 22, 2008, Spurs and Chelsea were preparing to compete for the first piece of domestic silverware of the season in the Carling Cup final.

But the striker was set to turn out at Fratton Park for a Premier League clash with Sunderland rather than gunning for Chelsea with his former club.

Defoe swapped Spurs for Pompey that January after playing an important part in his former side’s run to the final.

But when speaking to The News, the Blues hitman refused to look back at the decision that cost him a possible Wembley outing.

Instead, he was focused on firing Harry Redknapp’s side to victory against the Black Cats.

Asked if the Carling Cup final was a factor in his decision to join Pompey, Defoe replied: ‘Not at all – my time at Tottenham has gone now.

‘I’m a Portsmouth player and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.

‘I wish Spurs all the best for the future, but my priority is Portsmouth.’

The England international became frustrated at his lack of first-team opportunities under Spurs boss Juande Ramos and opted to rejoin Harry Redknapp during the January transfer window.

He made an immediate impression, netting the equaliser on his debut in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

Although Defoe admitted it was hard to leave White Hart Lane, he felt he had made the right decision.

He said: ‘It’s always difficult to leave in any business. I had a good relationship with the fans and the players there.

‘When a new manager comes in, everyone starts on the same level, so you wait and see what happens and see if you get an opportunity.

‘Everyone wants to play. If you get an opportunity, you have got to take it.

‘If you were going in and taking an opportunity and then in the the next game you were not playing, it was hard to take it.

‘But you have got to be professional, not say anything and keep working hard.

‘Juande Ramos is a good manager and I think he will do really well for Tottenham.

‘But sometimes you have got to think about yourself.’

Defoe returned to Spurs a year later, following Redknapp to White Hart Lane.

He made 30 appearances in total for Pompey, scoring 14 goals.