The rights and wrongs when it comes to supporting Portsmouth on Wembley return

Pompey are going back to Wembley. Photo by Daniel Chesterton/
Pompey are going back to Wembley. Photo by Daniel Chesterton/
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The conjecture is finished, the theoretical debate at a close: Portsmouth Football Club are returning to Wembley on March 31.

And with that stone-cold concrete reality arrives a testing dilemma for many, many Pompey followers.

For thousands of others there was never going to be a question to answer as they celebrate their side’s return to the home of football after a nine-year hiatus.

The B-team boycott of the Checkatrade Trophy has been an ethical crusade which the Blues have been at the vanguard of since it was first mooted five years ago, and finally implemented in 2016.

Chief executive Mark Catlin’s opposing standpoint has historically been clear, too, as has the club stance in that time.

But for seven games this moment has loomed larger and larger on the horizon.

First, we should take time to celebrate a result at Bury which has blown a refreshing and much-needed feelgood factor through the senior set-up.

Now, though, those who have been most vocal in their condemnation have a decision to make.

For many, the only conundrum will be how to marry the march to north London with not upsetting the old dear too much on Mother’s Day

It’s been said before, but it’s worth reiterating in the light of recent events, there is no right or wrong course of action. No flak for those who take a contrary stand point. No mocking the friends whose militant position is now proving more malleable. 

That’s because much, of course, depends on circumstance.

A parent whose young child missed the glory of the five visits to Wembley in two years are unlikely to want to miss out. Similarly, those who had a 100 per cent attendance record in those fixtures may find it easier to maintain their stance.

But hearing Catlin’s most recent position on the issue was revealing, as he said: ‘The Checkatrade Trophy was a big one for us, but you have to move on. 

‘I now don’t believe this to be opening the door for getting B teams into the Football League, which was one of the suspicions.’ 

In the light of those words it’s clear there should be no haranguing for those whose position has thawed - and there seems to be a fair few in that category. No questioning, either, of the headstrong militantly holding their ground at any cost.

And certainly no criticism of the many simply looking forward to a day watching their team at the home of football, who didn’t give a hoot either way in the first place.