'It’s about showing a bit of respect': Ipswich's Conor Chaplin on refusing to celebrate scoring against Portsmouth and that emotional Fratton Park ovation
Amid the 4-0 hammering of Pompey, all four of Fratton Park’s stands stood to applaud a visiting player.
It was a touching moment, especially for the recipient – Conor Chaplin.
Certainly few opposition players have ever attracted such a positive reception having netted once and laid on an assist during a bleak evening for the Blues.
For the Ipswich striker, it was an emotional reunion with the club where he spent 15 years after joining as a six-year-old.
Chaplin netted 25 times in 122 appearances before his departure for Coventry in August 2018, yet Pompey remains close to his heart – hence his refusal to celebrate his Ipswich goal.
On Tuesday night, after replaced by Rekeem Harper in the 78th minute, the bulk of the 16,301 Fratton Park crowd united to create a special moment.
‘It was amazing, I didn't expect it to be like that,’ Chaplin told The News.
‘When I came off, I was thinking I don’t really want to walk around this whole pitch because I was unsure what could happen!
‘Obviously the Pompey fans were in a bit of a mood with the team and the result. Perhaps that fantastic reaction towards me was their way of showing it?
‘I must admit, when the North Stand started clapping and standing up I was a bit shocked. As an opposing player, you never expect that, but I appreciated it massively.
‘That sums the Pompey fans up and how they’ve been with me since I broke into the first-team. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about them.
‘I was never going to celebrate when I scored – just because of the way the fans were with me during my time at Pompey. It’s about respect.
‘Don’t get me wrong, when you score it’s the best feeling ever, obviously you want to get carried away and do this, do that.
‘But when it’s against the team I grew up with, with a set of fans I’ve been so close with, it’s about showing a bit of respect.’
Chaplin’s family travelled from Worthing to take their seats among the visiting Ipswich fans for the occasion.
While close friend Adam Webster was also present, the Brighton central defender spotted in the South Stand.
And they witnessed the 24-year-old bag his fourth goal in nine games for the club he joined from Barnsley in the summer.
He added: ‘I don’t think I need to reiterate my affection for Pompey, it's obvious.
‘Coming as an opposing player, you have one job. You want to get a win for your team and naturally you want to score goals being a striker, it doesn't matter who you’re playing against.
‘Yet Fratton Park is such a special place to score, whether it’s for Pompey or against them, and it’s such a great place to play football.
‘For me, Tuesday was probably the perfect night.’
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