If you have known me at any point in my 29+ years of existence on this planet then you’ll probably know that football – and Portsmouth Football Club in particular – has been a large part of my life. I was born in Portsmouth. They have always been my team. They are still my team. However years of mis-management and big F U’s to fans coupled to my geographical position has led to my love of the club slowly dwindling.
I have had many amazing memories at Fratton Park. From my first game when I was in a wheelchair after an operation in 1990 against AFC Bournemouth in the FA Cup to last day survivals to promotion to the Premier League and then winning the Championship. Beating the Scum 4-1 was great but beating them 1-0 the year before was much better. Going top of the Premier League against Bolton that night where we knew a 4-0 win would get us there – and getting a 94th minute stonewall penalty.
This football club has made me happy and it has made me sad. Trudging home after 4-1 defeats to Crystal Palace and Leyton Orient in the FA Cup are two low points that stick out. That 4-1 defeat to Palace when a win sent them down and ensured our safety only to put in an absolutely pathetic performance. Winning was great and losing wasn’t but that night against Arsenal where they mullered us 5-1 in the Cup was still an amazing evening. It was a vital part of my life.
My last Pompey game was our FA Cup Final win in 2008. That was a surreal experience having been away on a work weekend and travelling down to London for the match from The Cotswolds. I haven’t been to a game at Fratton Park for maybe six years and haven’t been a season ticket holder since the end of the 2004/2005 season when I became an adult (well in terms of not having a young person discount) and moved well out of the region. I moved back into the region in 2007 but didn’t return to being a season ticket holder and then left the region again in 2009.
Since then the club has been owned by crooks, mirages and people who might actually have less money than me. It has been a joke – a pretty bad one I grant you – but it has been a joke. I used to watch games on TV and rant and rave (as my former house mates would certainly attest to) but now if Pompey are on the box I’ll watch and I’ll just sit there and watch. My voice doesn’t yell or shriek.
This might not be a Pompey thing. I don’t really yell at the TV for anything any more. Maybe I have mellowed out or maybe there are just so few people involved in my day-to-day life who care about sport to any degree that I have lost my passion. I still watch a lot of it and do still work around a lot of my calendar around sport. I love so many sports and enjoy watching so much but I don’t care about it as much as I used to. I just don’t.
Going back to Portsmouth for a moment it just seems as though the club has been on life support for so long that it needs a rebirth. Whether that rebirth comes in the form of a Phoenix club or whether the Trust can actually buy the club I don’t know but one of those two things needs to happen. All Portpin taking over would do is prolong the agony and they would do whatever they could to asset strip the club to get as much of their money back as possible. They don’t care about the club. They care about money.
Talking of money there are several players that need to take a wage-cut or just write off wages otherwise the club will go to the wall a fortnight on Friday. A few of them are at least willing to talk but it seems as though a couple of players – namely Tal Ben Haim, Kanu and Dave Kitson – want all their money and aren’t willing to talk. On one hand you can see their point – they signed contracts in good faith and expect them to be honoured but on the other hand they could be the ones that sink Portsmouth Football Club once and for all.
I suppose that just sums up exactly my thoughts of Pompey – and indeed football – at the moment. No players really care about the clubs that they play for. When you are young you have this idealistic viewpoint that the players kiss the badge on the shirt and they mean it. They only care about money and to a small degree they care about their team mates and maybe their manager. The fans are an inconvenience who just happen to help pay their wages.
The clock is slowly ticking on a very famous football club disappearing into the sea and that club is my club. I’m just disappointed that it isn’t really moving my needle. I’m just sad all around with regards to Pompey. Whatever happens they’ll be a Portsmouth Football Club – either in this guise or in the guise of a newly founded club. Either way I’ll care but I do wonder whether I’ll ever care as much again as I did for the first 27 or so years of my life.
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