Fans deserve more after hope for a brighter future

It’s important the parade continues – but safely

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It was not supposed to be like this.

When Pompey became the largest fan-owned football team in the country earlier this year, it was meant to herald in a bright new era for a club that had previously been brought to its knees and stood on the brink of financial ruin.

Today, though – and through no fault of its own – Pompey is back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The revelations by former defender Sam Sodje that he took a £70,000 bung to get himself sent off in the Blues’ match at Oldham earlier this year has stunned loyal followers of the star and crescent.

Sodje has also been filmed claiming he could arrange for other players to pick up yellow cards in exchange for cash.

The shocking comments are another kick in the teeth for Pompey supporters who have had to endure one sorry tale to the next in recent years.

It also overshadows the admirable work done by many at the club since the Pompey Supporters’ Trust got on board.

While results on the pitch may have been forgettable to date, the club has gone to great lengths to deliver on its vow to do things right for its fans.

But the picture the rest of the world gets again today is more turmoil on this part of the south coast – that team where rife and scandal is never too far away.

That’s unfair on the scores of people who have worked tirelessly to breathe new life into a club which is such an integral part to our city.

It’s unfair on the players who, for the large part, have shown much pride to turn out for an undoubted sleeping giant.

But most of all it’s unfair to supporters who have packed Fratton Park this season with attendances averaging 15,000 in the fourth tier of English football.

All because of what Pompey means to them.

Bill Gillon sums it up perfectly on page four today when he says: ‘Just as the club is starting to get on its uppers again, we’re getting dragged through the mud by something else.’

Pompey fans are hurt and angry. And as one of the finest set of supporters in the country, they deserve so much more.