Blues star confirms return

Pompey skipper Johnny Ertl
Pompey skipper Johnny Ertl

Johnny Ertl confirmed his Pompey return and promised: This is where I belong.

The Blues captain has agreed a three-year deal at Fratton Park and will lead the club’s charge for promotion from League Two.

Ertl is expected to officially sign his contract ahead of returning for pre-season training next month.

But the 30-year-old has told manager Guy Whittingham he will definitely be back following talks last week.

Ertl received a host of offers to play across the globe – following interest from America, Austria and Australia – after being named Pompey’s player of the year for the 2012-13 season.

His affinity with the club he joined last August meant there was only place the Austrian wanted to be, though.

Ertl said: ‘I’ve had a good chat with Guy and I’ve decided.

‘I’m happy and always wanted to stay at Pompey.

‘I needed time to switch off and then come back to make the decision.

‘It was easy for me. I want to be part of a successful Pompey team and bring stability to the club.

‘Hopefully we can put the club back where it belongs together.

‘There was talk about other places but, to be honest, Pompey gets under your skin.

‘Me and my missus feel comfortable at the club so we decided to stay.

‘I’m the captain of the club and I picked up the player of the year. I didn’t want to leave after all that had happened.

‘I decided to stay when I had a chat with Guy and with Steve Allen. Then I spoke to my family.

‘This club is special in many ways and I wanted to be part of it’s successful future.

‘There’s an exciting challenge to look forward to.

‘I’m happy. I’m at a club where I belong.

‘It will be difficult at the beginning. But we can get a good start and know the crowd will be behind us. It’s a real challenge I’m looking forward to.’

With a long-term deal on the table, Ertl now plans to settle in the Portsmouth area.

And he doesn’t expect any hitches before he puts pen to paper.

‘It will be confirmed when I come back,’ said Ertl.

‘As soon as I come back, I will sign the paperwork off.

‘It’s about integrity. You can’t say you will sign for a club and then say no.

‘I gave Guy my word I will sign and it’s pretty straightforward – that’s what I will do.

‘The club can learn from the mistakes in the past.

‘Players are signing for two or three years and can really settle down in the area. That is a key.

‘I stayed at the club house last season and I will never change that experience, but it’s time to look for a home in Portsmouth.

‘I didn’t want to look for another club and I am comfortable, so it’s an easy decision. Now I can look for a good place to live and be part of an exciting journey.’