Hats off to the commitment and passion but timing was poor

SOS Pompey protest outside Fratton Park on Saturday
SOS Pompey protest outside Fratton Park on Saturday

COMMENT: University has to prove it offers value for money

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Pompey fans have had a million and one reasons to protest over the past 18 months.

And the lingering worries from supporters about the past associations and motivations of the Blues’ largely silent owners will continue to justify concern from fans for the club they love.

But there was something about the timing of Saturday’s SOS Pompey protest which didn’t sit right.

Those behind the group are hugely worried about the direction headed as the followers of the star and crescent watch the season unravel.

These people, like those putting in sterling work with the supporters’ trust are dyed-in-the-wool Pompey folk. No question.

The best thing about this club has always been the passion of those whose hearts belong down at PO4.

They will be there long after the likes of Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir have gone. That’s for sure.

On top of that, Chainrai’s recent comments on the decision of fans to protest were grossly disrespectful to a group who have the kind of Pompey understanding, of which he could only dream.

But using the lack of movement as the transfer window came to a close shouldn’t have been the trigger to make a stand, though.

Yes, there is absolutely no doubt the lack of permanent arrivals was a cause for frustration. Steve Cotterill felt that frustration, David Lampitt did, the players did and the fans certainly did.

A look at how the events unfolded are worth closer inspection, though.

John Utaka’s exit was one that was driven by the player himself.

When a player wants to go you either let him go or can afford to leave him out in the cold. Pompey aren’t in the latter category.

This is a player, by the way, who chose not to renew the lease on his rented home when it recently expired. That tells you all you need to know there.

Cashing in on the Nigerian wasn’t on the agenda, though, and fears the cash will now go AWOL are alleviated by the fact the Football League watch over every deal at Fratton Park nowadays.

It was the lack of players coming the other way that moved fans to act. Cotterill and Lampitt worked frenetically to do deals on that front, though.

A lack of arrivals wasn’t for want of trying, so much so that £500,000 was bid for David Norris – a player who is out of contract in the summer.

Ipswich’s determination not to sell their captain to a rival put paid to that move for the time being.

Paul Konchesky and Bradley Johnson were other players pursued as the refusal to sacrifice a policy of chasing men who can make a real difference at this level continued.

Then there was the Pompey’s boss’ attempt to conjure up all manner of deals to lever Clarke Carlisle, Andre Bikey and Tyrone Mears out of Burnley.

These were very real efforts to complete moves for good players.

In the wake of the transfers not coming to fruition there have been all sorts of suggestions and opinions aired as to what took place and why.

‘At least Peter Storrie got the deals done,’ is undoubtedly the most ridiculous of the notions forwarded in the past few days. And there have been a few.

Yes he did – by overseeing a spending policy which took Pompey to the brink of liquidation.

So some fans have made themselves heard as a result of the lack of progress and their motives for doing so should be respected.

If they are looking for dialogue with the club they will get it now and it won’t just be the lip-service we’ve seen in the past.

Maybe it will take time for fans to trust the likes of Lampitt and commercial director Lucius Peart after being burned for so long.

The ironic thing is they are now serving up the kind of honesty these fans haven’t seen for a long time.