An Unlikely Portsmouth Return


Well, I hope we’re all enjoying the summer sun, World Cup and close season activity? I know I am, not that I’ve actually got much free time to enjoy much of this, to be honest. However, mustn’t grumble. And no, the baby hasn’t arrived yet, for those who wondered!

This lack of time has meant I have barely turned the laptop on, let alone thought about writing anything. In fairness not too much has happened in recent days, but one thing did catch my eye this week… Gary O’Neil.

What a consistent and battling performer O’Neil was for Pompey, eh? Having become our youngest ever player when debuting against Barnsley back in 2000 – I remember being at that game – he went on to become a stalwart in the Blues’ midfield.

Was he allowed to leave too soon? I tend to think he was, then again Harry Redknapp was bringing in expensive options, who would have kept O’Neil out of the side, so there probably wasn’t a place for him anyway.

Now very much at the veteran stage of his career, O’Neil, 35, is a free agent following his release by Bristol City recently. He has expressed an interest in returning to the south coast, stating he would turn down Championship offers – a level O’Neil still feels he can perform at – in favour of a return to Pompey.

I’ve always liked O’Neil, rated him too, and if he does have a couple of years left in him, as he feels, he’ll do a job somewhere. However, as much as his experience, not to mention his ability, would benefit Pompey I’m not convinced he’ll be someone Kenny Jackett will be looking at. Therefore, O’Neil will probably have to wait until he moves into coaching if he’s to ever make a return to Fratton Park, right?

Meanwhile, one who could join the Blues is Sean Longstaff?

The Newcastle midfielder is reportedly close to joining Pompey on a season-long loan. Longstaff’s arrival would further limit the already slim, in my opinion, chances of O’Neil getting his wish of a playing return to Fratton Park.


Follow @VitalPortsmouth.

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