Portsmouth skipper's farewell message as he reveals reasons for Fratton exit to join League One rivals Wigan Athletic

Tom Naylor has revealed the reasons why his Pompey career came to a close.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:46 pm
Updated Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:59 pm
Tom Naylor at Wembley

And the Blues skipper has told of his pride at captaining the Blues and the special place the club will hold in his heart, as his three-year Fratton stay came to an end.

Wigan today announced the 29-year-old’s signing on a three-year deal, after he failed to agree a new contract at the club he made 149 appearances for – scoring 13 goals.

Talks had been taking place since January, but with just an additional 12 months on the table and his partner due to give birth to their first baby in July, Naylor took the security of a longer agreement as the Latics nipped in front of Mansfield at the death for his signature.

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Tom Naylor celebrates with the Checkatrade Trophy

Naylor said: ‘It’s been a stressful time since January.

‘We were talking about a new deal and my partner (who lived outside of the area) was set to move down.

‘Things change, though, and I can understand that with the pandemic.

‘It was just getting to that time where it was not coming (the deal), so I had to make a decision for me and my family.

Tom Naylor and his Pompey team-mates. Picture: PinPep Media / Joe Pepler

‘I’ve really enjoyed it - 150 games in three years - and there’s been a lot of ups and downs.

‘But I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Portsmouth - and it’s truly been an honour to captain this club.’

After Danny Cowley arrived in March, Naylor was told he was still wanted by the new head coach.

Talks continued but with uncertainty growing about what lied ahead, the midfielder looked elsewhere.

But Naylor underlined there was no hard feelings to the Pompey boss or anyone at PO4.

He added: ‘I felt wanted by Danny and we had meetings towards the end of the season.

‘He was trying to get me the best deal and I wanted to stay.

‘We had a meeting at the end of the season and they told me they wanted me to stay.

‘So it was a case of getting something over to my agent, but unfortunately we couldn’t quite get there.

‘It was a couple of months ago, I was feeling vulnerable of different things and I didn’t know where I was going to be.

‘I was playing week-in, week-out but didn’t have a clue where I was going to be.

‘With my baby due in July I was thinking more about that and having to get something sorted, so I could settle.

‘Unfortunately it didn’t work out and the contract wasn’t right for me.

‘Moving my partner down for a year didn’t make sense if we were going to move on again. I needed the security.

‘But I have no hard feelings towards anyone.

‘I came here for promotion and I always dreamed of what it would be like here if that had happened.

‘But there are a lot of good memories, too, and I will never forget winning a trophy at Wembley with this club.

‘I’ve had some really good times here and Portsmouth will always be special to me.’

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