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Portsmouth Football Club is a fortnight away from ceasing to exist – why don’t I care?

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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  1. Jamie Wilson Jamie Wilson

    Hi Neil – I agree 100%. I’ve just given up re-newing my season tocket at PFC (first time in 20 years) and I found the England debacle at the Euros a minor irritation but not the devastating effect it would have once had on my life. I think I’m as punch drunk as you over football…I’ve finally twigged it’s ALL about money…and you know…I’ve got more important things to do and worry about in my lfe now. I just stopped enjoying it…. Moaney and greed has virtually killed my club or at the very least set it back 15 years…I’ve given all I can and am emtionally spent…to the point where I am beyond really caring now.

  2. Dave Bennett Dave Bennett

    Neil, I often wonder why people such as yourself feel moved to publish ramblings such as this. If you don’t care, why bother broadcasting that fact to all and sundry? Is it that you think your indifference is of some pivotal importance in the existence of the club? As someone who has been attending FP for 50 years, I’m more concerned about all the people who DO care about the fate of their beloved team. We all know that the world of football is far from perfect but I could no more give up on Pompey than fly in the air unaided. Once I passed through those Frogmore Road gates at the age of 9, that was me hooked for life. Well you go on not caring son, but please do it quietly. Meanwhile, those of us who care deeply will continue our efforts to save a great institution without which the city of Portsmouth would be much diminished. I can only assume that you were never truly ‘bitten’ by the bug, personally my support of Pompey has not been eroded by geographical location or any other factor. Transient supporters, as the name suggests, come and go, real supporters will always be the lifeblood of the club.

    • neilmonnery neilmonnery

      Thanks for your comment Dave. I have no doubt many agree with you. However what I write about on my own personal blog is not subject for debate really. The title of the blog shows that it my personal rambles about whatever takes my fancy. I’ll say this though – whilst there are a lot of people who agree with you – there are many like me whose love of the love has been diminished by what the club has gone through. Lurching from one crook to another with a mirage and being the centre of a personal battle involving international arms dealers.

      You can assume that I was never truly bitten by the bug but that assumption would be erroneous. Just because some people are fed up with the constant lurching from one disaster to the next it doesn’t mean they are any less of a fan. I’m a guy that chose his university so he would still be able to keep his Season Ticket. Yes there are many ‘harder core’ fans than myself but is there only room for ‘proper fans’ who travel home/away each week in your world?

      All football clubs will have the fanatics and then the fans. That is the way of the beast. As I’m not a fanatic does that mean that I’m not allowed to write my thoughts on my personal blog…?

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