MOST of the time Sol Campbell “just wants to play football” but there are also the odd occasions when he feels compelled to speak out and try to influence matters in a positive way.
The Portsmouth hierarchy were not amused when, in a routine interview during the January transfer window, their captain voiced his concern over a perceived slowness in recruiting some new team-mates to further boost the club’s already-enhanced ambitions.
The defender was told, just as publicly, to mind his own business and get on with the game. Yet, within a few days, Lassana Diarra, Milan Baros and Jermain Defoe were brought to the club at an estimated cost of around £14m – and Pompey have gone from strength to strength.
When he leads out the Barclays Premier League’s sixth-placed club in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against West Brom, Campbell is entitled to think he has had more than a little to do with their improved new status.
He said: “Did I have a little chip then? I don’t know. But I’ve always been like that, to be honest – at every club I’ve been with.
“I’ve always been that way because I want to help push the club on. It is in my nature.
“I think the main thing is I want to concentrate on playing football – winning this particular game, getting into the final and progressing from there.
“I don’t think it is a case of justifying anything. Wherever you are you’ve got to try to win and keep winning – that’s the main thing.
“Another opportunity has arisen now, not just for me personally but also for the rest of the team who just want to keep it going.
“West Brom are involved, and we just have to make sure we have more desire than them.
“But it's not just me. There are other players who have contributed and moved the club on. It's nice to have others joining in and helping them out. That’s what you need.”
The former Tottenham, Arsenal and England man remains manager Harry Redknapp’s highest-profile Fratton Park signing.
When he left north London for the south coast in August 2006 Portsmouth became a team to truly consider again.
Instead of scrambling for survival near the bottom they finished ninth in Campbell’s first season – with the evergreen David James and Kanu also adding their experienced expertise – and were so close to UEFA Cup qualification.
Campbell is reluctant to discuss his future, a worry for fans who have seen him linked with Spanish club Villarreal.
He will be 34 early in the new season and signed a new contract in September which ties him to Pompey for another season after this one.
But he said: “There are always players linked with different teams.
“I don’t know where the information comes from sometimes. I’m a professional. I’ve always strived to do the best for my team and if (other) people are interested I can't do anything about that.”