Agree to disagree: Two opinionated Portsmouth fans go head-to-head debating Lincoln new-boy John Marquis and his Fratton Park career

John Marquis' time at Pompey divided opinions among the Fratton faithful, with strong feelings regularly voiced.

Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 5:00 pm

Here we hand a platform to Jake Meyers, who is a firm admirer of Marquis’ talents, and Adam Darke, who is a long-standing critic of the former Doncaster striker.

Read their contrasting views – and you decide where you stand on the debate.

Jake Meyers, aged 28, from Woking:

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John Marquis always gave 100 per cent, I don’t think anybody could accuse him of not putting a shift in.

‘Possibly towards the end of time with us his quality declined, yet the effort was always there.

‘There are plenty of players in this Pompey squad whose heads can drop if things aren’t going our way, yet I never felt that with Marquis. He always chased lost causes.

‘He can get stroppy, you could see the frustration with officials and team-mates at times, but that demonstrates his commitment to the cause and how much he cares.

John Marquis joined Lincoln on Tuesday for an undisclosed fee, bringing an end to two-and-a-half years at Fratton Park. Picture: Simon Davies/ProSportsImages

‘Unfortunately, he’s not the player we had when he arrived in August 2019. Being in the minority as one of his admirers, I will happily admit something wasn’t working.

‘I wouldn’t say for the entirety of this season, at the beginning it was still going well for him, yet some fans got on his back.

‘They were happy to slate him when his performances were good – and when he started to struggle it was easy for them to then say they were right.

‘He’s lost a bit of his first touch. There was that moment at Charlton, I guess there are some things you just cannot defend.

‘However, all along Marquis has been under utilised, both by Kenny Jackett and Danny Cowley, and I really feel sorry for him.

‘He’s not a striker to put up there on his own, he’s not a number 10 either, a lot of the time he ended up in midfield on the halfway line. That’s not his strength.

‘For whatever reason, we never tried to play to his strengths, instead we shoehorned him into a role which he didn’t suit.

‘The best I ever saw him play for Pompey was under Jackett, when, for a short period last season, Marcus Harness was pushed further forward.

‘Marquis went through a spell of 10 goals in 11 games, then Jackett, in his wisdom, changed that. That should have actually been the catalyst of getting the best out of him.

‘I realise I am very much in the small minority who rate him, but I quite often like an underdog. It was the same with Oli Hawkins, who we have never adequately replaced.

‘Since Marquis’ departure, I have been very surprised to see people on social media echoing my support of him. That it’s a case of the right club at the wrong time and we didn’t get the best out of him.

‘I wish those kinds of comments had been presented before he left, just for his own confidence.’

Adam Darke, aged 45, from Teddington:

‘In terms of technical ability, John Marquis is up there with the poorest strikers I have seen in 37 years of watching Pompey.

‘He couldn’t hold the ball up, his first touch is staggeringly bad for someone who has been a professional for so long, he wasn’t able to link up play and couldn’t run in behind.

‘The most disturbing thing is when given a chance, such as going through on goal, his technique is almost unfathomable.

‘The argument has always been if you give him the right service, he will deliver the goals. Too often he was found wanting, whether that be his feet or his head, he lacked composure in front of goal.

‘How Marquis performed at Pompey surprised me, it really did. Over time, I found myself wondering where the player from Doncaster was. I don’t understand it.

‘The most persuasive argument about why it didn’t work out is perhaps the club is just a bit too big for him. The pressure and expectations for a striker at Pompey are very different for Doncaster and Lincoln.

‘My suspicion is Marquis isn’t as bad as we’ve seen. In the right environment and with less expectations, he might do better.

‘I was so excited when he signed, I thought he was exactly the guy we needed. It never materialised.

‘I wanted to believe he would come good, that something would click, but after you've watched a player for two-and-a-half years, you get a pretty good idea of what they can or can't do.

‘That leads you back to the judgement that he isn’t technically good enough. He’s been out of form for two-and-a-half seasons, that’s a long time.

‘To be fair to him, he never shirked, he always came out looking for the ball, the effort was always there. With that demeanour and money paid, people wanted him to come good – but it was more through hope than judgment.

‘George Hirst has a long way to go to be a Pompey number nine, yet this raw kid, who had barely played, gave us more of a focal point, held the ball up, was more of an aerial threat, than Marquis did.

‘Maybe he will score goals at Lincoln, it could well be an environment which he thrives in. We often underestimate what it’s like to play for Pompey.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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