'I'm thankful they made an exception': How Portsmouth ripped up their transfer policy to keep pivotal ex-Cardiff and Bristol City man

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Marlon Pack has thanked Pompey for ripping up their transfer policy to allow his Fratton Park love affair to continue.

A new two-year contract for a 33-year-old existing player is largely unheard of outside the Premier League.

It’s a scenario Pack acknowledges bucks the national trend, with veteran players usually having to make do with 12-month deals, influenced purely by age rather than ability.

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Nonetheless, the Blues’ remarkable commitment reflects how pivotal the Buckland lad is to the Championship newcomers’ future.

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Now their inspirational captain is safely secured until the summer of 2025 - by which time he will be 35.

Pack told The News: ‘I am very appreciative of a two-year contract, but I also think I deserved it.

‘Most teams have a transfer policy (about age) and of course I can see why. However, when it's yourself there is an argument of why not?

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‘I am thankful to the club for bending that transfer policy for me and making an exception, it’s great they can see the off-the-field values as well, which sometimes go hand in hand.

‘I still have loads to offer on the pitch, massively so, and also it’s probably a balancing act being rewarded for on the pitch and for what you can bring off it as well.

‘Football can be so cut throat at times. There are lads no longer with us that contributed massively in the changing rooms and on the pitch, it’s a real blow because they’re your friends.

‘At the same time, when you’ve been in football long enough you also can understand the reasons why and that’s the harsh reality of the game. You can easily be on the end of that yourself. When clubs no longer want you, they no longer want you.

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‘I obviously have a role to play at this football club, but I also feel there’s still a lot more for me in my career that I can deliver on the pitch.

‘Going up to the Championship is a different challenge, but I feel fit enough, I’ve come back in really good shape again, and the two years will allow that natural progression of potentially doing something else.

‘But my primary focus is on the playing side of things, being captain and leading the boys on and off the pitch, and continuing to help.’

Pack has so far made 76 appearances and scored eight times during his second Fratton Park spell.

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And the midfielder’s new deal opens up the romantic possibility of eventually finishing his career at his home-town club.

He added: ‘I said it when I first signed, which feels like quite a long time ago, in an ideal world seeing out my career here would be great.

‘I keep myself in fantastic condition, making sure that when we come back in pre-season I’m setting the standard, running right up there. I don’t want that to be used as an excuse, I don’t miss training sessions. I’m not at that age yet.

‘That’s a question further down the line, but there definitely will be a focus of going into coaching, not quite yet because I still have loads to offer on the pitch.’

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