The sad sight of those who can't wait for Pompey to fail

If you pardon the pun, there's been some knockout innuendo and rumours.

Wednesday, 30th November 2016, 6:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:08 pm
Pompey boss Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler

Players sleeping with players’ partners, who earns the most money and fury over Paul Cook playing a 4-2-3-1 formation.

We await a row between Barry Harris and Kev the Kitman over which washing-up powder is best to clean kits being forwarded.

But, in terms of other reasons being put up for the Fratton fisticuffs at the weekend, we’ve just about covered the full spectrum of offerings.

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Favourite among them so far was the completely fabricated and unsubstantiated suggestion it was the Pompey boss throwing haymakers around the dressing room.

Such an accusation provided convenient fuel to the fire for the anti-Cook camp – and those who would draw pleasure from seeing the current community era fail.

In the ensuing days, however, those caustic comments have veered into all manner of vicious and potentially libellous mud being flung.

Spotting a perceived weak point in the club’s make-up has paved the way for the kind of talk which has little to do with what unfolded in the home dressing room last Saturday.

Here was the opportunity to get stuck into everyone from the chairman down.

The ideal scenario would have been the brawl at the break not happening.

The next, from Pompey’s viewpoint, would have been what took place at the interval on Saturday not coming to light.

Trying to keep such an event under wraps at Fratton Park, however, is like trying to fill a hole in a dam with wire mesh and Blu-Tack. There are always going to be leaks.

Criticism has been levelled at Cook for speaking publicly about what unfolded.

By the time he’d made his way along the Fratton Park touchline to the press room to conduct post-match press duties on Saturday, The News were already aware what had unfolded, though.

Consequently, that led to Cook indicating he wasn’t prepared to insult the intelligence of the Pompey fans – and reporting there had been an ‘incident’ which led to the changes.

Surely a cause for credit and not condemnation.

That cued the furore which ensued, however, in the wake of Saturday’s depressingly familiar defeat to Stevenage.

With emotions already running high over a 2-1 loss in a game Pompey should have won, anger was aimed at Cook for what unfolded.

Fans could present a case for aiming blame at the Pompey boss but this one really didn’t deserve to fall at his door. And quite how it ends up being everyone from chief executive Mark Catlin to chairman Iain McInnes to the rest of the board and Trust in the firing line really is entirely unfathomable.

What isn’t in doubt is the incident proved key in sending Cook’s side to defeat.

There was a necessity in his mind, albeit an unusual one, to make the double substitution.

But perhaps that’s the greatest indicator to the gravity of the incident to those who weren’t there.

The club’s reaction was swift, however, and a fine, apologetic statement from the players and donation to charity was the perfect piece of fire-fighting.

The wall-to-wall coverage, justified as it was, can now be put to bed.

The cloud which hung over the club in the days after the incident has been lifted by its satisfactory conclusion.

That will be frustrating to those who sought to use it as a platform to launch a scattergun attack to destabilise Pompey.

A look at any Blues messageboard tells you there are plenty of those types around – the kind who can’t wait for failure this season.

Disappointment at that will linger longer than any lasting impact from the ‘Dust-up in the Dressing Room’.