Ex-Preston North End duo's disagreement as 30-year-old released after Portsmouth promotion

Joe Rafferty Joe Rafferty
Joe Rafferty
The former PNE man is on the search for a new club

Ex-Preston North End defender Joe Rafferty disagrees with the decision of Portsmouth boss, John Mousinho, to release him this summer.

The fellow former PNE man, now in charge at Fratton Park, let 10 players go after winning the League One title this season. Rafferty, who played 42 times for the champions, was one of the more surprising names on the list. The Liverpudlian moved to Portsmouth in 2022 and was fired up for another crack at the Championship.

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“It took me by surprise to be honest,” he told our sister-title, The News. “Considering how well the season’s gone, I thought I‘d be staying or at least having the option to stay. I kind of feel a bit hard done to. I feel I deserve to be there next season and in the Championship, but that’s life sometimes. I think I’ve performed really well all season, it has been one of my better years.

“I speak to Raggs often and, with us both out of contract this summer, we talked about it. At the back of his mind, he thought he may leave because of the centre-backs they had brought in. I was slightly different, I thought it would be a no-brainer to keep me. I said that to the manager. I thought they’d definitely want me there on and off the pitch, so it shocked me a bit.

“As much as I disagreed with him on the points he gave, you have to accept it and move on. I still feel I can play in the Championship, 100 per cent. When I came here, unfortunately my last season there with Preston didn’t see me play as much as I would have liked, I wasn’t in favour with the manager.

“But the other two-and-a-half years went really well under Alex Neil - and I know how good a manager he is. I know if someone took me in the Championship, I’d be more than capable of playing there. That’s probably the biggest shame for me, knowing I have a lot to give in the next division and it’s a bit gutting I haven't been given that chance.

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“Although I disagreed with the manager, we had a really good conversation and there’s no hard feelings towards him or any of the staff. There are disagreements but that’s football. It has been such a good season and, as much as I’m disappointed with having to leave, we are definitely leaving on a high.”

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