Ex-Portsmouth and Charlton midfielder Jay Mingi details 'hardest' period after controversial Fratton Park exit but admits no regrets after sealing Colchester move

Former Pompey midfielder Jay Mingi joined League Two Colchester earlier this month on a two-year deal (Photo: Jason Brown)
Former Pompey midfielder Jay Mingi joined League Two Colchester earlier this month on a two-year deal (Photo: Jason Brown)

Speaking to the Daily Gazette three weeks on from his surprise transfer deadline day move to League Two Colchester, the former Blues midfielder admitted his recent situation had been ‘one of the hardest things’ he’s had to contend with.

After a ‘tough battle with Portsmouth’ that saw him walk away from Fratton Park in spite of a three-year deal being offered, the 22-year-old spent the close season training independently.

Those training sessions allowed the former West Ham youngster to maintain his fitness and sharpness as a search for a new club continued.

At the same time, though, there were periods when Mingi admitted he struggled for motivation and came close to losing the faith.

With the help of those close to him, the former Fratton favourite said he found the hunger and drive to continue – an approach that was finally rewarded when Colchester manager Ben Garner signed Mingi on a two-year deal.

Since then, the midfielder – whose last game for Pompey was on January 1 – has featured three times for the Us.

He’s also said he’s grateful for Garner and others for putting their faith in him.

But while he’s back in a professional environment he conceded he ‘took for granted a little bit’, Mingi added he doesn’t regret a thing.

He told the Daily Gazette: ‘It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve been through in my life – not having a club for so long, training by myself, trying to find the motivation to train by myself.

‘It wasn’t easy and that’s why I’m just happy and grateful to be signed here and I’m going to repay the manager for showing faith in me.

‘I went through a tough battle with Portsmouth – I’m not sure what I can and can’t say about that situation.

‘Football is a short career and in this time process, I’ve reflected a lot and it’s made me even hungrier to achieve my goals and my dreams, to make the people that believe in me proud and repay everyone’s faith.

‘It’s a blessing to be a footballer; I took it for granted a little bit, not intentionally, but this summer showed me how much football means to me.

‘There were times mentally where I did crumble and I lost faith.

‘But the people around me – my agent, my family, my girlfriend – they all had a part to play so I’d be lying if I said it was all down to me.

‘They motivated me to train and do what I need to do.

‘They reminded me why I’m doing what I’m doing and what I’ve been fighting for all my life, so that was the biggest thing.

‘Also, my trainer was brilliant throughout the whole process, even away from training, calling me, texting me, seeing what I’m doing, seeing what I’m getting up to.

‘I don’t regret anything; I just see it as a learning curve.

‘Maybe, I needed this time in my life to realise what I actually had and how quickly it can be gone.’

Pompey received an unspecified compensation settlement following Mingi’s free transfer move to the JobServe Community Stadium.

His Fratton Park exit was deemed controversial as the reported Huddersfield, West Brom, Charlton and Birmingham target turned down a three-year deal to remain at PO4.

The midfielder made 29 appearances for Pompey during his two-year stay on the south coast.

Following an impressive pre-season, coupled with injuries in the centre of midfield, Mingi featured in all but three of the Blues’ opening 28 matches in all competitions last season.

However, his last senior game for the club was the New Year’s Day defeat to Charlton, which proved to be former head coach Danny Cowley’s last match in charge.

That was largely due to a knee ligament issue. Yet a representative of the player told The News in April that the midfielder had been fit since mid-February.