Let’s be honest, not too many of us saw that one coming.
We got wind that Paul Robinson – the defensive rock of last season – was leaving the club late on Friday afternoon.
While there were other players in the Pompey squad where you might half-expect to hear that they were off for pastures new, the 33-year-old former Millwall man was some way down that list.
In fact, he was the man most of us thought would be skipper for the forthcoming campaign – myself included.
The bottom line is that he has moved on and there could be a variety of reasons behind it.
It’s not too often that you are left surprised by football but this was one of those occasions.
Sometimes it can be tough to get to the bottom of some of these situations when they don’t instantly make total sense.
You look for clues and attempt to read between the lines of a club statement that usually goes no further than thanking someone for their efforts and wishing them the best for the future.
At the time of writing – and this could yet look a bit silly if you are reading this online and more details have emerged – mutual consent was the only reason given.
Ah, good old mutual consent.
It’s up there with ‘undisclosed fee’ as one of my least favourite modern football-isms.
Maybe there is another club lined up because he can clearly still do a job at this level.
Based on most of his performances last term, I’d suggest he could still play in League One.
Of course, time will tell if it is the right decision to let him go.
But he added authority to a defence that definitely needed it last season.
He showed his bravery and experience. Basically, he was the club’s best defender.
So if he brings many assets, what could be the unspoken reasons behind his departure?
Did Cook simply want to trim the size of the squad or the wage bill?
Was he worried by Robinson’s age?
Did he simply not rate him that highly as a player?
Does he think he already has better at his disposal and can use the budget elsewhere?
Alternatively, did Robinson himself decide he wanted to leave?
Is there potentially a better contract on offer elsewhere?
Has geography or personal circumstances played a part in wanting a move?
In recent seasons, I know of at least one player who has left Fratton Park and the real reasons behind his departure were never made public.
Before this starts any intense rumour-mongering, it was nothing horrendous – but nobody wanted to admit that it made financial sense for all concerned.
Down the years, there have been many occasions when players have departed or been sold and things were not always as they seemed.
Of course, it’s also possible that mutual consent may mean exactly that – both parties decided it was best to go their separate ways.
But even when something is eventually mutual, someone usually makes their intentions known before the other party agrees.