JOHNNY ERTL is relishing a new chapter after being voted onto the Pompey Supporters’ Trust board.
The Austrian left Fratton Park by mutual consent in July after 88 appearances and two goals for the club.
That prompted him to call time on his playing career at the age of 32 to focus on a new direction in football.
Now Ertl is one of four new Trust board members having polled 634 election votes – 207 more than anybody else.
He joins Clare Martin, Simon Colebrook and Scott Mclachlan in being elected, following a 21-per-cent turnout among members.
And Ertl is keen to kick off a fresh challenge in his life.
He said: ‘This is definitely a new chapter for me.
‘I made the decision a couple of weeks ago to retire from playing to focus on the next step of my career and believe I can give my expertise to the Trust on behalf of the members.
‘I look back and had a great career. I am really grateful for what the professional football environment gave me.
‘I was lucky to play for the Austrian national team, I moved to England and played for great clubs and then I found the best club at Pompey.
‘When you reach an age you consider other options because football is also changing, and working in an executive area at the club would appeal to me. At some point I want to work in a football environment.
‘I have finished my playing career and it is time to now move in a different direction.
‘There were opportunities out there to keep playing, but I wanted to stay here at the club and the Trust is also a great opportunity so I can prepare myself for the next step in my career.
‘It is going to be very, very interesting with the Trust, there is a lot of work to do.
‘I will be attending games, I live around the area, I coach Pompey’s youngsters, and I want to keep helping this fantastic club.’
As part of his Uefa B badge studies, Ertl is currently coaching the Blues’ under-15s and 16s this season.
However, he spent last weekend in Germany, watching Schalke’s under-19s take on Borussia Dortmund.
It was essentially a fact-finding trip he is convinced can benefit his role on the Trust board.
Ertl added: ‘I definitely want to increase the membership, I think there is huge potential within the Trust to do that.
‘Schalke is club with 136,000 members so I can learn from that. I went to see my friend there, to look at their facilities, and it is useful learning from clubs abroad.
‘I come from a different background and am well-connected with clubs in Germany and Austria.
‘We are the biggest community club in England with almost 4,000 members, but the system also exists elsewhere and it is good to get ideas.
‘I find that interesting and I think it can really help what we have here with the Trust at the minute.’