Old boy is special agent as Ferry sails in

Simon Ferry, left, and Joe Devera, right, are linking up again at Fratton
Simon Ferry, left, and Joe Devera, right, are linking up again at Fratton

Matt Ritchie has been unmasked as a key figure in Simon Ferry’s move to Pompey.

The former Blues home-grown talent did his best sales pitch for the club and the area to his former Swindon team-mate.

That played a key role in ensuring his old club pulled off a coup to bring the Scottish midfielder to Fratton Park.

Ritchie was also used as a sounding board by Guy Whittingham when the Pompey boss was doing his due diligence on the 25-year-old Ferry.

The reports back from the Gosport talent, who played with Ferry at Swindon, were glowing.

Ritchie has also continued his influence after the talent inked his two-year Pompey deal last week.

They met for a meal in Southsea – where Ferry has settled into a new home.

Joe Devera, who lives in the same area, was also a factor in Ferry arriving, with the pair also former Robins team-mates.

Ferry admitted the exchange of information was a key factor in his move.

He said: ‘Matty (Ritchie) said I’d love it down here.

‘He knows me and my wife quite well and he said I’d enjoy it.

‘He told me about the size of the club and helped me with a nice area to live.

‘You can’t get any better help than that.

‘We went for food with him last week to a restaurant in Southsea.

‘Joe was at my wedding in the summer and I speak to him most days.

‘He explained how good it was being here.

‘We get on quite well, anyway, so that helped.

‘It was perfect for me to speak to him – and he talked the place up.

‘He helped with the driving when we were looking for a place.

‘Being able to call on them both was a big help.’

Whittingham has been careful to craft a Pompey squad which ticks the right boxes this summer, not only in terms of ability but also character.

That has certainly worked so far with the people being assembled in the Fratton dressing of the right calibre.

That is going to be a key factor when it comes to the campaign ahead, with Whittingham’s squad one of the smaller around.

Ferry looks set to become a central character in proceedings, with the word he has the big personality to match the promising noise about what he is capable of achieving at League Two level.

There has already been tales emerging of the player’s antics in his career to date.

They include dressing up as David Seaman, convincing a player he was an agent who had got him a move from a Scottish to English club, and a whole host of efforts at distracting team-mates while they conduct phone interviews with the media.

Whittingham is pleased he had the people to be able to call on to assure him that, when it comes to character, Ferry ticks the right boxes – and Ritchie was one of those.

Whittingham said; ‘I’ve met with Simon, his wife and kid and they seem a happy, down-to-earth family.

‘You speak to people – coaches, players and managers – about players to get an idea of their character.

‘One of the guys who has given Simon a glowing reference is Matt Ritchie.

‘Matt’s a friend and I know he would tell the truth.

‘When I first talked to Matt he said we didn’t stand a chance of getting him.

‘So he was surprised and I was delighted when we knew we could.’