Former Portsmouth midfielder, Kelvin Etuhu, joined Championship side Barnsley last week after turning down a deal at Fratton Park, but although I understand why he did it, I can’t help feeling let down by the former Manchester City man.
Etuhu, 24, was one of only two out-of-contract players to be offered a new deal at Fratton Park, along with Marko Futacs who has been offered a reduced deal to stay at the club, but after making 13 appearances following his January free transfer to Fratton Park, Etuhu has decided to move to Barnsley and turning down Pompey’s deal.
I have to be honest, I was slightly skeptical about signing Etuhu when he was first training with us having found out about his jail sentence and seen the video of the crime on YouTube. I wrongly judged Etuhu for what was really only a bar brawl, but my mind was quickly changed.
After signing on a Bosman, having been released by Manchester City (whilst on-loan at Cardiff) when he was sentenced to eight months in prison, Etuhu wowed the Fratton Faithful with his burst of pace and silky skills. With the departure of Liam Lawrence and Hayden Mullins to both Cardiff and Reading respectively, Etuhu’s presence in midfield was a vital one and he proved to be a key figure during the closing stages of the season.
Etuhu scored his only goal in a Pompey shirt during the 4-1 win over Birmingham at Fratton Park.
With Etuhu and Portsmouth only allowed to sign month-to-month contracts due to a transfer embargo, the Nigerian-born midfielder was out of contract at the end of the season. Despite this, and the obvious issues with the club’s misty future and ownership issues, I was confident Etuhu would repay the faith we showed in him to offer him another lifeline and a new opportunity in football after being forced out by Manchester City and Cardiff.
Especially after Michael Appleton was quoted in the Portsmouth News saying: “He wants to stay and has told me he is looking forward to the new season. At the end of the day, I said that one or two of the squad could be around next season and he is definitely one of them.
“He most definitely wants to stay and, with the greatest of respect, I would be very surprised if he wants to go to Bradford.”
Etuhu even went on trial with a number of clubs before Pompey but all of them overlooked him, although we don’t know whether this was for footballing reasons or not. Having given Etuhu a second chance in football, he was offered a new deal, and although it can’t be signed until the new ownership of either Balram Chainrai or the Pompey Supporter’s Trust goes through, it was there waiting for him.
Having spoken to a number of Pompey fans on the topic, it seems like there are mixed views over his departure. Many have taken a very logical and forgiving view which is completely understable – if you can imagine that your employer was having financial difficulties and didn’t know when you could sign a new contract or you had the option of moving to a new company with more financial security and higher pay, what would you do? I’d imagine most would do the latter, so if you put it in those terms then Etuhu probably made the right decision for himself, but his lack of loyalty has upset me.
Obviously we wish Kelvin all the best for the future, but can’t help feeling hard done by – especially as the transfer embargo meant he wasn’t contracted to the club and left on a free transfer!
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