Chaplin’s Portsmouth career doesn’t deserve sorry saga

The Conor Chaplin Pompey saga is set to reach a conclusion. Picture: Joe Pepler
The Conor Chaplin Pompey saga is set to reach a conclusion. Picture: Joe Pepler
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It will be a great shame if the last thing Pompey fans remember about Conor Chaplin is him refusing to play.

After 15 years at Fratton Park, the academy graduate’s Blues career doesn’t deserve the messy postscript it appears to be getting.

We now wait to see what the next 48 hour brings in a transfer story which has evolved into a saga and has finally reached epic proportions.

Of course, We are fully aware of the broad themes to this tale.

A promising player is denied the football he craves and doesn’t fit into the framework of the manager’s side. With opportunities sparse he looks to move on, but the club will not allow him to move until a replacement is found.

The shortlist of suitable replacements appeared to be very short indeed. For much of the summer it basically appeared to be Mo Eisa and Ellis Harrison, who both moved to Championship clubs.

Kenny Jackett, as is his wont, will protect his and the club’s interests creating a pretty clear scenario: If he can’t find a player he feels improves his options, he goes nowhere.

That, from a situation where the desire on both sides has been clear, has been a muddying yet necessary approach on Jackett’s part. One he’s accepted is far from ideal.

The reality of that situation being played out is one where, in all probability, Chaplin would likely face a scenario where he would be an impact sub at best for at least half a season.

Perhaps it’s the onset of that potential scenario which paved the way for academy graduate stating he was not in the ‘right frame of mind’ to feature at Doncaster, as reported by the Pompey boss after the game.

It was a move which, regardless of the 21-year-old’s popularity, was only ever going to be greeted one way by supporters. For people who would end up in the dole queue replicating the manoeuvre, the angry response was as predictable as it was understandable.

The mitigation for events over the past week is the player himself has kept his own counsel to date. No doubt, there is much he’d want to say.

The suspicion is the move has outside influences affecting it, with those inside the club acknowledging refusing to play has been a very un-Chaplin like thing to do.

If the final outcome now leads to a lad fans have always seen as ‘one of their own’ lining up against Pompey in the coming months, regardless of recent days, he will deserve a warm reception.

The memory of him delivering some of the brightest moments of recent seasons with his prodigious goalscoring talent ensures that.