News that Pompey’s captain has attacked a man in a Southampton nightclub makes depressing reading after a derby day weekend in which a huge amount of public money had to be spent in keeping apart rival football ‘fans’.
It is perhaps a blessing that Liam Lawrence’s misdemeanour did not become public knowledge until after the high-tension clash between Pompey and Saints at Fratton Park on Sunday.
As it is, the assault for which Lawrence received a police caution does nothing to ease the frenzied hatred that is always on show when the south coast sides meet.
Pompey are keeping their counsel on the incident, saying merely that the club is aware of what is happened.
Perhaps they should do more. Will Lawrence be disciplined for an off-the-pitch act which discredits the club he captains?
Many fans would say that he should be and that the club should make any punishment public as a sign of its determination that those it employs should behave as ambassadors for the famous blue shirt.
Unacceptable behaviour by players will hardly help police, whose operation to keep rival fans apart on Sunday was an undoubted success.
We remain concerned at the curtailment of the rights of the law-abiding majority in order to counter the yobbish minority, but we do acknowledge that this derby day passed off more peacefully than most of late.
The ‘coach bubble’ containment will be enacted again when Pompey go to Southampton next April, just as we predicted from the start.
That was inevitable, given that what was good for the goose had to be seen to be good for the gander as well.
But we sincerely hope that if the teams are playing each other again next season, that the ‘travel our way or you don’t get a ticket’ clampdown does not become a regular feature of derby matches.
We also hope that players of both sides will consistently represent their club with honour – on and off the field.