An open letter to the players of Portsmouth Football Club

Dear Pompey players,

Monday, 15th March 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 15th March 2021, 5:50 pm

This is a message to the men who represent us, who we speak to in the light of the events of the past two days.

In the aftermath of your manager’s departure, we want to appeal directly to you on the behalf of everyone who cares so much about Portsmouth Football Club.

We want to let you know how we feel about what we are witnessing, as one disheartening and dispiriting display stacks up on top of another and our 2020-21 hopes disintegrate before our royal blue eyes.

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The decision makers at our club yesterday felt compelled to take a tough call to remove a good man from his position as manager. It was a difficult judgment, but, in the circumstances, the right one.

It’s your manager who has stood squarely in the firing line until this point. It’s he who faced every barb, every brickbat and every personal attack - and ultimately fell on his sword.

But what about you?

Saturday was supposed to be the day we got our season back on track at the home of football.

Pompey players at Wembley on Saturday

Yet, what we suffered for long periods of the match at Wembley against a League Two opponent was a complete embarrassment.

If this was a one-off, we could let it slide. We could put it down to a poorly timed and humiliating bad day at the office in front of the eyes of the watching football public. But we know that’s not the case.

No, we’re not fooled by the talk of little, old Salford City being in the ninth tier when we won the FA Cup in 2008. We know they are a financially well-supported club.

But we also know what we’d give to walk out under the arch with the star and crescent on our chest.

Pompey's players on Saturday

And we know damn well what the minimum requirement is for those chosen few who are given an opportunity we could only dream of.

We have long placed total commitment over natural talent around these parts. If you give every last breath, every ounce of energy, every final bead of sweat for our cause you’ll be accepted. Ask Linvoy Primus, Noel Blake, Hermann Hreidarsson, Alan McLoughlin and Guy Whittingham.

Can you truly say that’s what you have done?

You may not choose to accept our criticism. You may not value our football opinions.

Well if so, listen to our heroes who see what we see and arrive at the same conclusion. Take on board the words of the greats who’ve played the game at the highest level and question your ‘heart’ and ‘desire’.

Has it been too easy for you to forget the consequences of your performances as we remain absent? Is it too simple to remain isolated from our frustrations around the island city in these unprecedented times?

Because what we have been witnessing in recent weeks is as unprecedented as it is unacceptable.

We have seen limp, lifeless and uncommitted performances as poor as lifetime-supporting Pompey fans can remember. Sadly this is no exaggeration.

If you were stifled by the man who led you, if you were riddled by self-doubt and insecurity then you are now free.

So this is the time to step up.

The chance to make history with back-to-back Trophy wins has gone, the mark on the honours board lost amid more disappointment.

Under your manager's regime, anger had left PO4 and made way for disillusion. Where fury resided lived apathy.

But there are 13 games left, 13 matches in which you can save the season.

With a managerial change comes the hope of invigoration, a new lease of life. Show us that is not misplaced.

You are the people chosen to represent us. You are the personification of our football club and its identity on the field of play.

We desperately want you to make us proud and we want to believe in you, but pride and belief has been in very, very short supply around these parts.

So we today call on you to give us a reason to have some hope once again. If nothing else, please, please show us that you care.

Yours in sport,

The Fratton faithful

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