Pompey expert reveals truth behind Southampton ‘scummers’ insult

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A Portsmouth club expert has said that claims the ‘scummers' insult used against Southampton supporters originates from the dockyard are ‘urban myth’. 

Colin Farmery, author of 17 Miles From Paradise, has been discussing the origins of ‘scummers’ after a judge explained the term to a jury yesterday (October 17). 

Portsmouth fans in Fratton End at Fratton Park. Picture: Steve Reid

Portsmouth fans in Fratton End at Fratton Park. Picture: Steve Reid

Judge Timothy Mousley QC gave the lecture on the footballing insult following the trial of Portsmouth fan Peter Hawkins. 

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. 

READ MORE: The moment a judge explained to a jury why Pompey fans call Southampton supporters ‘scummers’

Judge Mousely 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.’ 

However Mr Farmery called claims that 'scummers' came from broken strikes as an ‘urban myth'. 

He explained said: ‘There is no documentation evidence of the origins (of scummers) particularly. 

‘I think the most likely explanation is that it was a term invented in the 60s or 70s as a term for Southampton supporters and people from the city in general and it caught on. 

‘There is no evidence that it originates from dockyards and shipping. It very much seems to be an urban myth. 

‘The story that dockers were coming down from Southampton to Portsmouth to break strikes is very unlikely. 

‘Dockers in Southampton were some of the most militant in the country.' 

READ MORE: Pompey fan faces jail for violent disorder at match

Discussing the rivalry with Southampton as a whole, Mr Farmery said: ‘Portsmouth and Southampton have been rival cities and that went to back more than a hundred years. 

'Southampton was a commercial port and Portsmouth was a naval port. 

‘But the more harsh side of the rivalry evolved in the 1960s.

‘We actually have Pompey today because of Southampton. They saw that Southampton had a successful professional club in the 19th Century and decided that they wanted a piece of that.'