Wilson’s Wisdom: Pompey pitch invaders have had their day

Geoffrey Peters in his Santa suit in 1984
Geoffrey Peters in his Santa suit in 1984
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To some, it raised a laugh and conjured a few happy memories of a bloke dressed up in a Santa suit helping Alan Biley turn a defeat into a Pompey win.

To the FA, it’s a genuine threat to the safety of players.

These days, it seems a pitch intruder is no laughing matter.

Back in December 1984, Geoffrey Peters ambled on to the pitch at Fratton Park after a wager from his brother with Pompey trailing 1-0 to Oxford.

Biley then scored two late goals – one of which arrived in the time added on for the intruder.

To this day, it remains one of those ‘I was there moments’ for Pompey fans.

Now 31 years later, Tyler Smith’s intention was good-natured, even if wasn’t the brightest thing he has ever done.

In case you didn’t see it, York goalkeeper Scott Flinders had been taking an age over his goal-kicks to waste time and attempt to kill Pompey’s momentum.

Smith took matters into his own hands and took the kick for him – to loud cheers and laughter – before he was promptly marched out by stewards, who apparently hadn’t done much to stop him getting on in the first place.

He has since had his season ticket confiscated and Pompey have been threatened with a £10,000 fine by the FA.

On a personal level, I think his punishment of missing all six goals in the biggest Pompey home win for years might be harsh enough.

But if the FA deem it as a serious issue, they could even dock points.

Smith has written to the club to apologise. Fair enough.

We’ve all made mistakes and he has held his hands up.

And it’s hardly crime of the century. He kicked a ball.

Secretly, a few of the officials at the club found it as amusing as the rest of us. But they know the club could be punished for the incident and reminded fans to stay off the pitch.

If the FA do get heavy-handed, I’m guessing a few Pompey fans may not be as amused as they were at the time.

But the reality is that it didn’t cause any harm.

I must admit, I was caught in two minds over the whole thing.

At least it was a moderately funny thing to do.

He didn’t go looking for a fight with the keeper or start making threatening gestures towards him.

But at the same time, it didn’t portray the club in a great light and giving the guy publicity – yes, I know this column inadvertently continues that theme – isn’t the right thing to do, in my mind.

But then again, we all look back on the invading Santa with a nostaligic smile.

Will this incident encourage those angry folk to take out their frustrations with apparently nobody there to stop them?

Imagine if Flinders had got away with his antics and Pompey were heading for another frustrating 0-0 draw in stoppage time?

Could anyone be sure that an intruder wouldn’t swing a punch at him?

Stewards need to do their job better and supporters need to help them out – even when it’s just one bloke out of 13,000.

There are plenty of other ways to make your feelings known to a time-wasting goalkeeper.