The Cross Word: Why can’t fans have views and remain united?

Andy Awford    Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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For a club whose unified front has been such a force in its continued existence, it’s unnerving to witness.

Rarely in football has the act of ordinary people doing something extraordinary been more clearly seen.

And it was as one voice the people of Pompey acted as an irresistible force to keep alive what was so precious to them.

But now we see division. A splintering of views which is dividing everyone connected with the football club they love.

Division in the Fratton Park boardroom, when it comes to whether Andy Awford should remain in charge of his team.

Division in the stands which is now reaching toxic levels between those with contrary stances on Awford’s position as manager.

And division on various social media platforms, where the discourse can quickly veer from reasoned views to churlish and then finally poisonous sniping behind the safety of a pseudonym.

Eight games without a win is the reason for the increasingly ugly scenes.

But, for those doing the maths, this division is a Pompey conundrum shared. And until it’s solved and a unity found, regardless of viewpoints, the Blues will continue to drift headlong into choppy relegation waters.

That is what’s at stake, as things stand. The results and consequences lie, very much, on the pitch.

For all the recent drama, there’s no need for hysteria.

We’re dealing with opinions here – and every one of us will have a passionate one when it comes to matters surrounding our football club.

The Pompey project isn’t about to implode, though. We haven’t reached Lord of the Flies territory, just yet.

Make no mistake, there are those out there waiting for that to happen. People who call themselves fans, but wouldn’t mind their club failing to suit their agendas.

They will have been lifted by events and have become more visible in recent days, while the main protagonists, decision makers and powerbrokers will feel the criticism arrowing in their direction.

But it’s a viewpoint on an issue – and the subject is whether Awford should remain as Pompey manager.

Why can’t people have differing views on the topic and still remain united for a common cause?

Instead we have fans blasting fans blasting fans.

The depressing scenario of those who shout loudest or tweet most offensively is currently winning.

Anyone who dares to have contrary views are being harangued. That’s a debilitating process for Pompey’s health, no doubt.

Just how split the Fratton faithful are over the topic of Awford’s future was seen by a News poll, which yesterday put 49 per cent of fans in favour of him staying.

But the Pompey board find themselves in the firing line for not obliging those who want Awford to lose his job.

Yet these seven men have differing views on the subject themselves.

Many of them have their ear firmly to the ground on which way the wind is blowing among supporters, almost excessively when its impossible to please everyone.

When Awford’s future remains such a marginal topic, it can be a fertile ground for those looking to divide and conquer.

The swing can very quickly go either way, too.

The man who can impact that most greatly is the person currently in the eye of the storm.

Awford previously has been very successful at creating a united front at Pompey. It’s one of the best tools in his armoury.

It’s, very simply, results which will do that now and sway opinion.