The picture over Matt Ritchie’s Newcastle United future after Portsmouth fans left dreaming of Fratton return

Matt Ritchie admitted his role at Newcastle United has changed as questions over his immediate future were put to bed.
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But the former Pompey talent is eyeing a special campaign at St James’ Park, after Eddie Howe tied the winger down for another 12 months.

Ritchie has made it clear he feels he has unfinished business at the club he emerged at, before being sold on by Steve Cotterill after just three league starts in 2011.

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Pompey fans have been dreaming of that moment since, but their lack of progress into the Championship since then has realistically killed any chance of that reunion taking place.

That hasn’t stopped the Fratton faithful pining for the chance to see the Gosport lad back wearing the star and crescent on his chest, however.

With his contract coming to a close this summer the notion of that happening did resurface again, though a return south to Bournemouth was a more likely outcome for the former Swindon man who still lives in the New Forest.

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Any such turn of events was put to bed by Eddie Howe last month, as he actioned a club option to extend Ritchie’s contract for another month.

Newcastle's former Pompey talent Matt Ritchie (centre) before Allan McGregor's Testimonial match between Rangers and Newcastle United at Ibrox Stadium, on July 18, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group).Newcastle's former Pompey talent Matt Ritchie (centre) before Allan McGregor's Testimonial match between Rangers and Newcastle United at Ibrox Stadium, on July 18, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group).
Newcastle's former Pompey talent Matt Ritchie (centre) before Allan McGregor's Testimonial match between Rangers and Newcastle United at Ibrox Stadium, on July 18, 2023, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group).

Now there is the prospect of Champions League football for Ritchie to look forward to at moneybags Newcastle next term - with Howe indicating he wants his experience around.

Ritchie told BBC Newcastle: ‘I think everyone knows the situation that I found myself in, I was coming to the end of my contract.

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‘I had a year option which was then in the club’s hands. But the manager and the football club made me feel that I was valued and that I have a role to play and I am excited about that.

‘I never expected to stay for eight seasons but I am thoroughly enjoying my time here.

‘It is an amazing place to be at the moment and hopefully I can be part of something special this season.

‘Of course I understand my role has changed. We have an unbelievably talented squad that we have now. I am not giving up or taking a backwards step, when called upon I am ready.’