What happens now with time ticking for Portsmouth boss

There was, of course, Leyton Orient.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 6:30 am

Four second-half goals against the third-tier side on a dark winter’s afternoon in 2002, which reduced Yoshi Kawguchi to tears.

We all know the others; 4-0 up against Fulham in the 80s before finishing 4-4, 6-0 at Barnsley in the 90s and the likes of York, Newport and Bristol Rovers over the past decade.

But, in terms of a first 45 minutes of football, the white flag which went up at Sixfields represents a Pompey low through these eyes.

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That was the angry tweet dispatched in 138 furious characters at half-time on Saturday. And, on reflection, that assessment stands up.

In 20 years of my dream job covering the fortunes of Portsmouth Football Club, there’s been nothing to touch it. In 34 years of making the pilgrimage to PO4 as a fan and travelling the country to invariably wind up disappointed, nothing has plumbed those depths.

When you are left visibly shaking in your attempts to contain your anger, you know things aren’t right.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett

When, two days on you're still seething over a capitulation so spineless it defies explanation, you know things have to change.

An attempt to watch the game back, decipher what unfolded and who was culpable for the four goals had the blood boiling. The defending was so bad it would’ve been laughable, if it wasn’t so tragic.

But worse than that, worse than the individual gaffes and clueless marking was body language which screamed indifference.

Whether there truly is a disregard for what comes with donning a Pompey shirt and what can be achieved this season, only a select few men can answer. But we all know the single requirement for being granted the privilege of wearing the star and crescent on your chest.

A search for answers only makes what was palpably a collective decision to eschew responsibility more perplexing. This against the division’s lowest scorers who were entrenched in the relegation zone.

Perhaps it’s all too easy for the players at the moment. Perhaps the consequences of their actions is too simply swept aside without consequences.

Alan Ball always demanded his players live in and around the island, so they’d know in no uncertain terms when they’d let their people down. In these unprecedented times that angry response is easily dodged.

Perhaps it is disregard, perhaps the players don’t care that they’re throwing away a season’s work and drifting down a League One dead end. Yet, that doesn’t make sense.

One idea forwarded is Pompey have a manager and 11 players who are out of contract this summer, and the likely prospect of change is poisoning the season.

It’s not an unreasonable thought, but what about the players - and there’s a few of them - who will get a new deal on improved wages if promotion is achieved?

And what about the half a dozen players who are signed up next season, whose form virtually to a man has dropped off a cliff?

Ultimately, they are the ones who now have to step up and take responsibility.

Yet, the haphazard rules of this game mean they dodge the bullet and the buck stops solely with one person. And we’re told support remains with that man.

One way or the other, we will now truly find out if that’s the case.

If that support truly does reside in the dressing room, we will witness a response through a testing run of games over the next couple of weeks.

And for any suggestion of continued backing from above, the suspicion is more of the same over that period will see the notion of board backing for Kenny Jackett revisited.

A message from the editor

On Saturday, March 13 Pompey will finally get their day at Wembley.

To celebrate the Blues’ place in the rearranged 2020 EFL Trophy Final, The News has launched an offer that gets you 25% off all our Sports subscriptions.

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