Matt Clarke: Warm wishes from Portsmouth fans after Brighton move have touched me

Former Pompey defender Matt Clarke
Former Pompey defender Matt Clarke
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The Fratton faithful’s warm words have reassured Matt Clarke he will be welcomed back.

And the centre-half is keen to visit the club he walked away from for Premier League Brighton.

For four years Fratton Park served as Clarke’s home, amassing 175 Blues appearances and establishing himself as one of the most coveted players outside the Championship.

That association ended on Friday, when the 22-year-old finally completed his Amex Stadium switch.

And he has been heartened by the response of Pompey supporters, who have been unanimous in their well-wishes.

Clarke told The News: ‘I’d like to thank the supporters for the really positive messages wishing me well.

Matt Clarke has thanked Pompey's fans for backing his decision - and is keen to visit Fratton Park as a spectator. Picture: Joe Pepler

Matt Clarke has thanked Pompey's fans for backing his decision - and is keen to visit Fratton Park as a spectator. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘There will be times when I would like to come back and watch football at Fratton Park. If I got hounded when I left, I would feel a bit sheepish coming back!

‘The fans have always been really good to me and deserve all the success they get, they are top drawer, whether home or away.

‘As a player, sometimes it’s hard to completely switch off, although I’m not into social media much, I’m certainly not sitting there thinking “Please send some love”!

‘However, all the messages I’ve read have been really nice and I’m very grateful, you don’t want to leave on bad terms.

‘You don’t want it to turn sour because I’ve had four fantastic years at the club.

‘I’m only down the road and love watching football, I would imagine on occasions I’ll want to come back and watch Pompey, I have lots of friends still here.

‘If you can get a chance to come back and watch, I would always want to.’

Clarke’s move away from Pompey this summer was inevitable having failed to win promotion.

And one destination long stood out.

He added: ‘Once Brighton’s interest came about, that is where I wanted to go.

‘Everything seemed to fit well for me and the carrot of the Premier League is also part of that.

‘I felt they wanted me there and the location is also ideal, my other half is from Portsmouth, so it seemed the right fit.

‘As soon as it was definitely an option, my mind was set.’