Blues’ white-knuckle ride shows no signs of ending

Rick is considering wearing makeup to knock a few years off his age		        (Shutterstock)

RICK JACKSON: To move or not to move? That is the question

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Watching my daughter in her nativity play recently, a bolt struck me.

At the age of four-and-a-half, this Bethlehem villager is rapidly growing up.

Once she was a babe in arms. Now she was a bored extra longing for a more prominent part in the school production.

Of course, entirely unbeknownst to her, since she came into this world, she has witnessed the rise and fall of Portsmouth Football Club.

She can sing ‘Play up Pompey’ in perfect pitch, certainly more comfortable on the ears than John Westwood.

She actually ventured to Fratton Park back in August to help put flags on seats ahead of the visit of Brighton.

But she has no comprehension of the turbulent events which have occurred at PO4 during her lifetime.

The worry is, by the time she is old enough to understand, the problems and certain individuals will still be rampaging through the Fratton corridors.

Supporters are meant to be the one constant at football clubs.

At Pompey, they also have financial headaches, reckless owners and Balram Chainrai.

Not forgetting Andrew Andronikou, of course.

Let us hope all elements have long been removed when my daughter decides she wants to attend football matches.

Since her arrival at St Richard’s Hospital in the summer of 2007, Pompey have embarked on a white-knuckle ride.

It has been a journey which has long fascinated the attention of the sporting world.

Not intertwined with my daughter’s birth, you understand. More a dramatic coincidence.

Still, that subsequent 2007-08 campaign would emerge as the club’s greatest for more than half a century.

They finished eighth in the Premier League, they recorded seven successive away wins.

They amassed 23 clean sheets in a season, they boasted four players in the England squad.

They won the FA Cup for the first time in 69 years.

In the process, Portsmouth Football Club qualified for European competition for the first time in their history.

What a wonderful first year in the life of my daughter.

Not that she realises it.

As a parent they were tough times. Long nights, early mornings and a difficult baptism.

For at least two generations of Pompey supporters, they had never known it so good.

From then on, it was has been nothing but heartache for Blues fans.

Administration, relegation, mooted liquidation – and now they totter on the brink of administration once more.

A true roller coaster four-and-a-half years.

In my role at The News, I have witnessed the car crash from point-blank distance.

What’s more, during the journey, my daughter has held my hand every step of the way.

Through good times and very, very bad.

Of course, she will have no recollection of her father watching Linvoy Primus’ emotional farewell against Sunderland on television.

All because he was banned from all club premises having taken a photo of a damaged FA Cup.

She will not remember daddy watching the unveiling of Avram Grant as boss on television at home.

That was due to a club ban implemented weeks earlier having written Grant was to replace Paul Hart.

His decision to flee the room that day and snub the presence of her and mummy was out of necessity.

After all, there was another television – and plenty of quiet – in the bedroom upstairs.

She will not have realised the significance of daddy making her cry when Pompey ventured to Old Trafford in March 2008.

With it being her christening that weekend, I had to decline covering that now famous FA Cup match.

I watched it on television, of course.

And my exuberant cheers when Sulley Muntari netted from the penalty spot shocked her to the point where she shed tears of fright.

Nothing to do with Manchester United losing, let me make that perfectly clear.

She has never grasped the reason for daddy bailing out of the family holiday at Butlins in Bognor for a day.

That was in June 2010 – the day the CVA was granted by creditors.

Incidentally, many of which have not been repaid the money Portpin had pledged.

She won’t be aware of where daddy was on the day of uncle Mark’s engagement party.

It was May 17, 2008. A date he definitely wasn’t going to miss – even for his brother.

Although, she did watch the 2010 FA Cup final armed with the notion of spotting daddy in the crowd.

Unfortunately, shots of Chainrai sat next to Prince William appeared far more times.

She is blissfully unaware why daddy ducked out of the family meal for Mother’s Day in 2010.

Instead, he had to meet a prospective Pompey owner at the Hilton in Farlington.

His name was Rob Lloyd.

She won’t appreciate how her warm embrace upon daddy’s return home had lifted his black mood two weeks ago.

That was the day he found out Pompey wanted £1,575 to stage the wake of the one of its greatest players in Len Phillips.

All moments of irrelevance to her during such a young life, yet they represent important markers in the club’s recent history.

Interesting then that during my daughter’s four-and-a-half year existence, this chief sports writer of The News has never spoken to a Blues owner.

Sacha Gaydamak, Sulaiman Al Fahim, Ali Al Faraj, Balram Chainrai and Vladimir Antonov – all have refused to hold court.

Still, when my daughter is older, perhaps she will read this article and understand the significance of this current period in the history for Pompey.

Likewise my son, who was born within a week of Pompey purportedly heading for liquidation.

What an introduction to the football club that is for any child.

In his innocent eyes, life at his local professional football club can only get better.

At least that is what we all hope.

The cold reality is, though, none of us can say that with a great deal of confidence.

After all, will there soon even be a club for our children to support?