Hayden Mullins waved an emotional goodbye to Pompey and admitted: I’m gutted to be leaving.
The Blues’ reigning player of the year has become the latest man to be sacrificed to keep the club afloat, after agreeing a move to Reading.
Mullins yesterday met Royals boss Brian McDermott and his move to the Madejski Stadium was finalised this morning, subject to Football League clearance.
The 32-year-old has joined the promotion-chasers on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent deal.
Stephen Henderson is currently putting the finishing touches to a similar move to West Ham.
For Mullins, it brings a three-year stay at Fratton Park to a close – his spell corresponding with a tumultuous period for the club.
The midfielder stated it had been tough to see Pompey again fighting for its life, with staff heavily affected by proceedings. He knows that is why he had to leave as administrator Trevor Birch desperately tries to keep the Blues afloat.
But that didn’t make it easier to depart as they again fight for their existence.
Mullins said: ‘It’s tough times at the club at the moment and obviously they have to save on the wage bill.
‘It’s a sad day for me to have to go to another club to help Pompey keep going.
‘All my best wishes go to all the players.
‘It’s been a great time to be at Pompey for the period I’ve been here.
‘The road has had a few ups and downs. That’s putting it mildly!
‘But the fans have been brilliant – and brilliant to me.
‘Hopefully the administrator can sort the future of the club and secure things.
‘I’m sure he can get things up and running and help get the club on an even keel again.
‘I’m gutted to say goodbye really. I’ve got a lot of friends here.
‘I had a good relationship with the players and there’s people from Kev the Kitman to the chef and Ashleigh (Emberson), the manager’s PA.
‘It’s not a nice situation for them to be in. Hopefully the boys can kick on and stay in the division. That will be brilliant.’
Mullins has again been a key figure for Pompey this season under Steve Cotterill and Michael Appleton.
An ever-present run before Saturday followed the former West Ham man missing just a single game in the whole of the last campaign.
Pompey go into the weekend clash with Bristol City eight points from safety.
Mullins insisted the conviction is there the team can still stay in the Championship.
He said: ‘If we can get a win against Bristol City we can get a run going.
‘It’s difficult but the boys and manager are so positive we can get out of this.
‘We have to play everyone around us. I really hope we get out of it.’