Why I needed to get out of Portsmouth - Plymouth new boy James Bolton reveals motivation behind Fratton Park exit

James Bolton conceded his Pompey departure was ‘for the best’ after becoming disillusioned with life at Fratton Park.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 4:55 am
James Bolton has revealed lack of first-team opportunities drove his Pompey exit. Picture: Joe Pepler

The right-back admits he drove his Blues departure this summer having become frustrated over lack of game time.

The June 2019 recruit from Shrewsbury was handed just eight league starts last season, instead spending most Saturday’s training alongside fellow outcast Paul Downing.

Despite having 12 months remaining on his Pompey deal, Bolton opted to pursue regular football elsewhere.

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Last week he joined League One rivals Plymouth, ending his Blues career after 53 games and three goals.

Bolton told The News: ‘My time at Pompey had come to a bit of a halt, I wasn’t getting the game time I wanted and just felt a fresh start would benefit me.

‘Last year I didn’t really feel like a footballer at times. It was a very tough season for myself, mentally more than anything, just to try to keep myself going and keep myself motivated.

‘It was nice to get a bit of game time at the end, but it’s just not enough.

‘I had a conversation with Danny at the end of the season and he didn’t really see me starting, so I didn’t want to be in the same situation. It was best for me to move on.

‘It would have been easy for me just to sit there and do whatever and not be bothered, but football is a short career.

‘You want to feel wanted and have that purpose of playing on a Saturday. You realise when you’re not playing how much you miss it, the away games, the wins.

‘Me and Downs (Paul Downing) were in for training on Saturdays instead of being in for games and it’s tough, really tough, but I kept myself fit and, when called upon, thought I did well.

‘To be honest, I don’t think Danny was fussed about me leaving either way. If I had been a bad person around the training ground then he would have been more inclined to make sure I went, but I think he sees me as a good lad and somebody who can bring good cover.

‘That’s not my ambition, though. I want to play, so needed to get out.

‘Fingers crossed it will work out and I wish Pompey and their supporters nothing but the best.’

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Bolton had attracted interest from League One and League Two.

Yet it was Plymouth who signed him for an undisclosed fee, with the 26-year-old penning a two-year deal at a club which tried to take him on loan in January.

Ironically, Bolton scored a late equaliser against Argyle in a 2-2 Fratton Park draw in February.

He added: ‘I had quite a few offers, but it’s a bit of a weird time in football at the moment, financially as much as anything.

‘Plymouth came up very late and was a nice surprise. It's a perfect fit.

‘The fact they play five at the back suits me and can get the best out of me.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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