THERE is no love lost between bitter south coast rivals Pompey and Southampton.
The slur ‘scummer’ or ‘scum’ has long been used by Pompey fans seeking to mock their Saints counterparts.
But just moments after Pompey fan Peter Hawkins, 48, was found guilty of violent disorder for his part in deplorable scenes following his side’s 2-1 loss to Oldham last September, judge Timothy Mousley QC decided to embark on an educational lecture on the origins of the term to the jury.
During Hawkins’ trial, Portsmouth Crown Court had heard how Oldham fans were subjected to a torrent of abuse from Pompey fans including a number of renditions about Saints and some shouts of “northern scummers”.
But after the case was adjourned for sentencing next month, no-one was expecting judge Mousley to suddenly launch into a speech on the vagaries of the word ‘scummer’ in a scene more in keeping with a university lecture hall.
He said: ‘The origin of the word scum or scummer is something of a mystery. Initially it was thought to have arose in the 1890s following a dispute at the dockyard.
‘It was thought dockers in Portsmouth were holding a strike at the dockyard which was then broken by dockers from Southampton.
‘But other theories will have you believe it was the other way around with the dispute taking place at Southampton dock where Portsmouth dockers went and broke it.
‘Some think the word is a naval term to describe merchant seamen from Southampton.
‘Others see its history as going back to the 1970s as a purely abusive term, which could be the most likely explanation of them all.’