Kenny Jackett must be relieved. Pompey fans have a new target for their anger over the team’s terrible form. At least they do for now.
Lee Brown, it appears, has become Pompey public enemy No1, and all for an interview he gave after the 1-0 defeat at AFC Wimbledon.
And I think he’s being very hard done by over it.
The left-back is getting so much flak on Twitter for trying to explain that one of the reasons the team were not at their best in the second half at Kingsmeadow was because they were feeling the tension from the away fans.
Here’s what he said that seems to have upset many: ‘In the second half, the crowd starts getting a bit edgy when the manager makes a substitution.
‘That relays into the players and then we’re not taking that extra touch or finding a pass.
‘Players just want to get rid of the ball because they know if you make a mistake then they (fans) are looking for blood. You feel the tension, we’re only human beings and the opposition sense it because you can see them get another gear.’
Some have seized on this, asking why he’s blaming fans for the team’s poor performances.
Some have messaged him directly on Twitter to have a go, others have said he should go off and play for a smaller club.
They’re entitled to their opinion, of course, but I actually think Brown deserves praise for being honest.
A couple of points worth making.
He would not have gone to seek out the media after the game and begged to talk to them. Quite the opposite, in fact.
My understanding is that he was reluctant to do an interview, believing that whatever he said would not help the discontent Pompey’s fan base are feeling at the moment.
The media will always want to talk to a player or two, as well as the manager, after a game - win, lose or draw - and you won’t find too many players volunteering for the role in tough times.
Fans might think players shouldn’t talk at such moments, but if we were to discover a lack of player reaction after a defeat was down to no-one being willing to chat, I imagine those same Brown critics would seize on that, too, and demand to know why the team weren’t explaining themselves.
What seems to have been ignored by the anti-Brown brigade is the second part of what he said.
It was this: ‘It is what it is. We shouldn’t be where we are and it’s our duty to get the crowd confident and give them belief. At the minute, we’re not and we’ve got to take it.’
An honest ending to his answer.
He may have said the fans’ current state of mind was a factor in making some players feel uncomfortable on the ball, but he was not blaming those fans for that performance.
In my view he was taking responsibility for himself and his team-mates and saying ‘It’s our duty’ to sort it out’.
In my opinion Brown has been a very steady performer for the Blues since he arrived.
Apart from anything else, he’s part of a defence which has conceded only two goals in the past four league games.
He shouldn’t be vilified for giving an honest assessment, even if some of it was not what fans wanted to hear.
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again - if I were a footballer I would hate to play for Pompey.
It takes so little for a section of the fans to turn on a player.
Brown is not the first to become a target.
Ronan Curtis has been getting it in the ear in recent months – although he didn't help himself recently following a direct pop at fans on Twitter – and in the past few seasons Kyle Bennett and Ricky Holmes were unfairly treated, in my opinion, despite bringing much to the squad.
I know the start of the season has been terrible and I know some don’t see it improving any time soon.
But I also maintain that we are not far off a run of four or five wins that would change everything.
Hopefully Lee Brown will play his part in such an upturn.