The Fratton Park adrenaline rush that can inspire Portsmouth and put pressure on Oxford
The fratton faithful need no introduction to the footballing world.
The atmospheres generated at PO4 are recognised as being among the best in the game.
Just ask Thierry Henry, Jose Mourinho, Ronaldhino, and erm, Ralph Hasenhuttl – all great exponents of the Fratton roar.
Oxford boss Karl Robinson has also spoken of the cauldron of noise that can be expected when he takes his Oxford troops to these parts on Saturday, believing it could be the adrenaline rush his side need as the U’s bid to maintain their recent impressive form.
I’m sorry, did I read that right, the Blues’ 12th man inspiring the opposition – surely that’s not how it’s meant to work?
It’s meant to operate in Pompey’s favour, not the other way round.
Blues boss Kenny Jackett is certainly hoping that will be the case when his troops welcome the division’s current form side to Fratton Park.
The importance of the fans’ backing isn’t lost on him and he knows it could be what helps his side get over the line in such a big game – and there’s no denying this is a big game.
Pompey are set to embark on a schedule that will see them tackle the division’s current top five before the year is out.
That’s hardly the fixture list required at a time when the team finds itself sitting 16th in the table, well adrift of the promotion places, regardless of games in hand on all sitting above them bar Burton Albion.
It’s also not ideal when the pressure is on the manager to turn the club’s current plight around.
Nor does it come at a suitable time when Blues directors Eric Eisner and Andy Redman make a return visit to the club from America.
Both will be at Fratton Park for the Oxford game during their nine-day visit.
But contrary to social media speculation, their presence has nothing to do with the team’s performances.
Neither is it related to increasing pressure on Jackett, who has come increasingly under fire from some supporters.
Instead, the duo’s latest arrival fits in with scheduled Fratton Park visits which occur during the season.
Their pre-planned trip, though, hasn’t stopped some fans, via social media, continuing to hypothesize on their true intentions.
It's also motivated some, again via the likes of Twitter and Faacebook, to encourage supporters to up the ‘Jackett out’ campaign – a sway of opinion that emanated from the 1-0 defeat at Wycombe last month.
And that’s even before a ball is kicked against the U’s.
It must be stressed that these opinions expressed do not represent the views of the majority of the Fratton faithful - irrespective of the growing levels of discontent at the team's predicament.
But is that really the best way to encourage a side short of confidence, the ideal way to ensure their team is at the top of their game against a promotion rival, the so-called cauldron of noise that will scare the life out of the opposition?
Fans have a right to voice their disapproval and make their feelings known when it’s not going to plan – but for some to come pre-prepared to turn on their side if the going gets tough isn’t ideal.
And to hope things take a turn for the worse just so that it hastens a manager’s exit doesn’t sit right.
What’s needed is a wall of noise that will inspire the team, frighten the life out of the opposition, and reinforce the opinion that Fratton Park has one of the best atmospheres in the game.
Why provide the opposition with the advantage of an adrenaline rush, when the dosage can easily be delivered to inspire those donning the star & crescent?