Pompey pay tribute to Johnny Ertl

Johnny Ertl. Picture: Joe Pepler
Johnny Ertl. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Pompey paid tribute to Johnny Ertl after the popular midfielder yesterday left the club.

The 32-year-old’s contract was cancelled by mutual consent to end a Fratton Park stay of almost three years.

Despite being tied to the club until next summer, manager Paul Cook decided Ertl was not part of his plans.

As a result, negotiations for his release have been ongoing for a number of weeks, while he didn’t join the squad for their stay in Portugal.

Now the former Crystal Palace player has departed following 88 games and two goals.

And chief executive Mark Catlin wished him all the best.

He said: ‘It is always disappointing when members of staff, the backroom team or players leave the club.

‘I would like to wish Johnny all the very best for the future and I am sure fans and staff all share that sentiment.

‘He is a fantastic person, liked by a lot of people and we thank him for everything he has done for this football club.’

Ertl arrived initially as a triallist in August 2012 under Michael Appleton and soon joined other players in being handed month-to-month deals.

He made his debut as a central defender against Oldham, scoring an own goal which proved to be the only goal of the match.

The Austrian did not appear for the next five games but once he returned at the end of September, he established himself as a regular under Appleton and then caretaker boss Guy Whittingham.

Handed the captaincy, he later became part of the side which ended a club record of 23 matches without a win by triumphing 2-1 at Crewe in March 2013.

The Fratton faithful also voted Ertl as their The News/Sports Mail player of the season – an accolade he 
rates as his best Pompey memory.

In the summer of 2013 the midfielder was handed a three-year deal but subsequently failed to rediscover the form he displayed in that 2012-13 campaign.

After a sending off 
against Oxford United in 
the season opener, he was once more a regular in the side.

That included a maiden Pompey goal in a 2-2 draw at Cheltenham in September 2013.

However, he fell completely out of favour under Richie Barker – before Andy Awford’s important entrance as caretaker boss.

Ertl started three of the final seven matches as the Blues kept their Football League place.

Last season, though, he was reduced to a bit-part role for the team, making only 17 appearances.

However, he started the final two matches in the centre of defence, the club announcing him as man of the match in the last fixture against York.

Now the ever-popular Ertl has departed Fratton Park, yet has pledged to return as a fan.