Title lucky omen prepares to bid farewell to Portsmouth

Danny Rose was reunited with the League Two trophy at Fratton Park
Danny Rose was reunited with the League Two trophy at Fratton Park
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The reunion was undoubtedly emotional, back together following aching separation.

‘Hello again,’ smiled Danny Rose as he cradled a familiar companion, ‘I’ve missed you’.

Danny Rose's most recent League One outing for Pompey was in August 2018 at Blackpool. Picture: Joe Pepler

Danny Rose's most recent League One outing for Pompey was in August 2018 at Blackpool. Picture: Joe Pepler

For a second-successive campaign, the midfielder had claimed the League Two title, surely a footballing feat rarely registered.

He arrived at high-flying Northampton Town midway through the 2015-16 campaign, claiming a regular berth to bolster their charge to the crown.

In June 2016, the free agent was challenged by Paul Cook to repeat his trick.

And, on the occasion of Pompey’s end-of-season gala dinner, Rose was allowed a touching moment with an old friend.

The League Two trophy – back home, lovingly embraced.

Unlike his previous triumph, the affable Bristolian was granted the opportunity to sample League One, a level he had never previously occupied.

In the present day, it remains to be seen if he stays at this standard. However, it appears the 30-year-old has now played his last Pompey league game.

This forthcoming Monday marks 24 minutes of League One action inside a year, albeit availability impeded by injury and then quality of midfield rivals.

The onset of the January transfer window will see Rose striving to clinch his Pompey exit, either through loan arrangement or permanently. The club have given their approval, regardless.

It’s an inevitable outcome considering the ongoing lack of match action for a player who can proudly reflect on his place in Fratton folklore.

The endeavours of those 2016-17 title winners helped drag the club back from its darkest days, inspiring a resurgence which is still proceeding today, as the League One table testifies.

In the case of Rose, Cook’s first signing during the summer of 2016 proved to be arguably one of his most pivotal during that period.

In truth, the Blues boss’ recruitment drive in the aftermath of play-off semi-final defeat to Plymouth was desperately disappointing, irrespective of subsequent promotion.

The shining lights among 13 new faces before the end of August transfer window closure were loanee David Forde, Carl Baker and, of course, Rose.

Others failed to generate positive impacts, for a variety of reasons, among them Drew Talbot, Michael Smith, Milan Lalkovic, Curtis Main, Adam Buxton, and Dominic Hyam.

Meanwhile, Tom Davies, Noel Hunt, Amine Linganzi and Liam O’Brien were bit-part performers.

Such was the strength of Cook’s outstanding recruitment during the summer of 2015, his first in charge, they formed the bulk of a team which the following season would take the title.

Rose, Forde and Baker complemented the existing ability perfectly, while the majority of their fellow newcomers drifted away having created barely a ripple in the Solent.

The trio possessed previous promotion pedigree, a crucial component within a side constructed for short-term gain – and perfectly played their part.

Yet, as the Kenny Jackett era began to gather pace, Rose outlasted the vast majority of his title team-mates, even earning a contract extension in March.

Since signing it, however, he has made five appearances, four of which arrived in the Checkatrade Trophy. His impending departure has been obvious for a considerable amount of time.

Still, the former Manchester United trainee can consider himself immensely unfortunate during the last 12 months.

The freak injury inflicted by ex-Northampton colleague John-Joe O’Toole during a drop ball was a brutal blow. Rose may have recovered, but cruelly his Fratton Park career did not.

At the time he was producing his finest stretch of displays with the Blues, having fought back from a month-long omission from Jackett’s match-day 18.

Ever the scrapper, he belligerently refused to hand back his first-team spot following a comeback against Charlton in the Checkatrade Trophy. Pompey subsequently won nine of the next 11 matches he started.

That fateful injury on December 30, 2017, was the decisive moment during that season. In Rose’s absence, the Blues alarmingly lacked the midfield guile and mobility he supplied.

The free transfer from Northampton was never effectively replaced – and play-off aspirations petered out as a direct consequence.

Justifiably, while sidelined, he was handed a contract extension until the summer of 2019.

Despite rehabilitation which saw a return ahead of schedule, though, there was to be no reclaiming of his place within Pompey’s midfield.

Tom Naylor arrived from Burton, Millwall loaned Ben Thompson and Ben Close has continued to mature encouragingly. With the trio spared of injury or loss of form, no longer is there a pathway through for the 30-year-old.

An exit is natural, an amicable parting the understandable outcome and one which nobody can have cause to criticise.

Still, it’s improbable not to feel a great deal of sympathy for Rose since breaking his left leg a year ago.

He remains a tremendously popular member of Jackett’s squad, a friend to all and model footballer without ego or pomposity.

Settled in Denmead, with his three children schooled in the area, he has embraced the community, last season running coaching sessions for youngsters and this term assisting Pompey’s Academy during pursuit of his badges.

Certainly Rose’s natural leadership and lofty standing within the dressing room should have warranted the captaincy on occasions during this post-Michael Doyle era. Alas, set-backs intervened.

Jackett himself has consistently praised the midfielder’s attitude, a professionalism which sees him take daily residence in the gym following training, ensuring he is usually the last member of the squad to sit for lunch.

Rose has been absent from the pitch during a campaign tantalisingly suggesting a Championship return, yet off it continues to be an outstanding performer.

Now it appears another member of the title winners will move on, yet his Fratton Park presence is assured to be eternal.

History shows that in the aftermath of the Crewe debacle, an under-pressure Cook recalled Rose to his starting line-up following seven-successive matches on the bench.

During the next 12 games, Pompey won 10 of them, with the ex-Oxford United man netting against Colchester and Grimsby.

On May 6, 2017, the Blues claimed the title having topped League Two for solely the final 32 minutes of the campaign.

Rose was in that history-making side – reconciled with an intimate acquaintance.