You don’t have to like football to know what yesterday’s dramatic High Court decision means for a club that has been at the heart of this great city of ours for so long.
You don’t need any knowledge of the game to understand what Portsmouth Football Club means to Portsmouth and its hinterland.
At ten minutes past four yesterday afternoon, history was made in that London courtroom and the mass exhalation of utter relief and joy across south-east Hampshire was palpable.
At a stroke a judge had, in theory, handed the keys to Fratton Park to the people who truly deserve them – the fans. Mind you, they’ve been through so many hands in recent years they’re probably so eroded they won’t fit the locks.
If negotiations in the coming weeks are successful, Pompey will soon become the biggest fan-owned club in the country.
And what a triumph it has been for the supporters’ trust which so many knocked when it was first set up. Didn’t stand a chance, they said. Bunch of amateurs, said others. Look at them today.
This could well turn out to be the most magnificent victory in the history of the 115-year-old club, one for which many Fratton Park diehards would happily trade that 2008 FA Cup win.
The court decision should mark the beginning of the end of one of the shabbiest periods in not only Pompey’s past, but also in the history of English football.
If the sale of Fratton Park by the administrators to the trust does go ahead, then as next season approaches – almost certainly one confined to League Two – then we should be witnessing a real new dawn for Pompey. Not one of the numerous false ones we’ve experienced as the club ricocheted between Arab, Russian and Hong Kong-based money men like a pinball.
Pompey fans believe they are the best in the world. Now, like never before, is the time for them to prove it. Turn up for games again, buy shares in the people’s club and show the doubters that football can thrive and, perhaps, prosper at a club run by the people for the people.