Portsmouth – the kings of s***housery

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To be fair, they aren't the first to suggest it.

But the good folk of Norwich's media can now join a lengthening line of football figures to be underwhelmed by Kenny Jackett's Pompey.

Pompey's methods may not be popular - but it's delivering results. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey's methods may not be popular - but it's delivering results. Picture: Joe Pepler

The tone of some of the reaction from a section of the Canaries press corps in the wake of Saturday's FA Cup win has drawn the ire of Blues fans, with it, at best, viewed as patronising.

The social media debate on that topic provided some entertainment on the journey back from Norfolk, but this isn't the platform for extending the discussion.

The sentiment from the Norwich end over what was viewed certainly is, however, as Daniel Farke's Premier League-chasing side were turned over.

After all, Team Pompey Ain't All That is a group with more illustrious figures than its latest devotees, after watching this side now firmly built in Jackett's image. 

Joey Barton and Lee Bowyer, of course, are both paid-up members after being left nonplussed by what they've seen of the Blues this term.

Of the pair, it was Bowyer who was more outspoken in his assessment (which is saying something) when he stated Pompey 'weren't pretty to watch'.

Barton, meanwhile, is incorrectly credited with branding Pompey 'average' in the run-up to his side's 5-2 home thrashing last month, when stating there's no standout team in League One.

That hasn't stopped the Fratton faithful picking up the moniker and running with it, turning their club's reputed mediocrity into a badge of honour.

And that has now been ramped up with one of the game's latest and unwanted titles being firmly embraced.

The term s***housery was one I hadn't been acquainted with until this season.

But it's one which has increasingly grown in currency on my Twitter timeline, across social media and finally in general usage when discussing Pompey.

For the uninitiated, s***housery (or s***housing) is an expansion of a derogatory noun used to describe an unpleasant person.

This has now been commandeered by the football world and accelerated in use during last summer's World Cup.

Its definition is vague, but everything from time-wasting, diving, haranguing the ref and general gamesmanship fall under its broad banner.

For example, as the Guardian's John Ashdown superbly put it in an article on the topic, Colombia's clash with England last June was the 'epi-centre of s***housery'.

Pompey supporters have now, in celebratory fashion, widened the term to encompass the ugly nature in which their side are being perceived by their detractors.

That was seen as Express FM's Liam Howes tweeted a video championing the 'unbelievable s***housery from Portsmouth Football Club' at Norwich. Over 100,000 views suggests it's a title which sits comfortably with the Blues masses.

First it was Nathan Thompson being lauded as a king of its dark arts, for falling spreadeagled over the ball and winning free-kicks when feeling an opponent's push in the back.

Then there's Ronan Curtis cockily winding up full-backs into committing themselves with his swagger, verbal stick and showboating. Ably-assisted, of course, by Lee Brown's high-velocity chat behind him.

Ben Thompson's contributions to the cause will be missed after half a season of ratting around the middle of the park, in a fashion which saw him earn a place in fans' hearts.

It's the manner in which Pompey have carved out a brand of football which hasn't always been easy of the eye yet been so effective in delivering a table-topping side, which now sees a term with negative connotations taken to the bosom of supporters.

The stoicism of their play which has delivered record results on the road has been the foundation for some smash-and-grab counter-attacking success.

Gone is the free-flowing football of the Cook era, 48-pass goals and the romantic ideologies of his tenure.

Off the back of a maiden season punctuated by costly late finishes, Jackett vowed to eradicate the kind of traits no successful side can exhibit.

Now we are witnessing a no-nonsense team more consistent with the reputation of the promotion-winning outfits their manager has carved out in his career.

It's physical, it's organised and it's hard-working with a flourish of pace and power. It's also been successful too many times to be a fluke.

And let’s face it, as Alan Ball’s Gremlins of the late 80s underlined, a brand of football not popular with the masses isn’t a barrier to being appreciated around these parts.

As each naysayer voices their opinion, instead of being offended Pompey's followers have largely been able to cast a knowing smile in the afterglow of victory this season.

It may not float the boat of the footballing purists but the 'kings of s***housery'  certainly now have their opponents' respect.