'˜Thank you Pompey for greatest time of my career'

Pompey delivered the highest point of Enda Stevens' football career.

Wednesday, 24th May 2017, 1:17 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:27 pm
Enda Stevens celebrates his goal at Newport. Picture: Joe Pepler

And it has been a life-changing two years the Irish left-back will forever cherish.

The lure of Championship football with Sheffield United prompted a departure from Fratton Park following 99 appearances and one goal.

There was also the League Two title and those emotional Fratton Park scenes, thankfully displacing the devastating play-off semi-final defeat to Plymouth.

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Enda Stevens, with Kyle Bennett, Michael Doyle and chairman Iain McInnes at the parade on Southsea Common. Picture: Joe Pepler

No player made more appearances during Paul Cook’s opening two seasons at the helm than Stevens.

And it’s a silverware-winning association with the club he will always treasure.

He said: ‘People don’t get many highs in football but I can look back at Portsmouth and say that was the highest point in my football career.

‘There are so many games which were unbelievable to be part of, then to finish it with the League Two title was incredible.

Enda Stevens, with Kyle Bennett, Michael Doyle and chairman Iain McInnes at the parade on Southsea Common. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘I’ll always remember Newport when I scored my first goal for the club as we came back to win 3-2, while Crawley was special and the turning point of our season.

‘Colchester away was probably the most enjoyable game I played in – in terms of performance of the team, then of course Notts County and Cheltenham.

‘I am so glad it ended on a high note and I know they will kick on next season. This club will continue going from strength to strength.

‘It is honestly the best group of boys I’ve worked with. I’ve met some great people I’m going to keep in contact with, such as Kyle Bennett, Gary Roberts, Christian Burgess, the lot of them.

‘Marbella was a good little send-off and I’m still chatting to the boys on the group WhatsApp.

‘As for the fans, they accepted me from day one and I cannot thank them enough.

‘They have always been great with me and I’ll miss playing at Fratton Park.

‘It was wonderful to get the player awards and personal accolades, which count even more knowing we won the title. I’m thankful for that.

‘It has been the best of my time playing football – and one I will never forget.’

Stevens was crowned as The News/Sports Mail player of the season in recognition of his outstanding efforts.

And he is quick to credit those who ensured his time on the south coast was so special.

He added: ‘Paul Cook came under a lot of pressure at times during the season.

‘He stuck to his guns, stuck by his players, backed us all the way and it was great to hand him the league title.

‘I’ll miss Benno. He’s one of my best mates in the squad. I love playing with him. Down that left-hand side, Benno, Doyler and myself had a great relationship, with Matt Clarke as well.

‘As a player, I definitely improved, discovered my form and found what I am good at.

‘We all bounced off each other, knew our strengths and had good relationships on and off the pitch.

‘As for Gaz Evans, he should go down as a legend for his performance during the parade! It was brilliant to see someone having that interaction with the fans.

‘I’ll miss them all.’