'˜Why I'd never boo Pompey'
I can't abide fans who boo Pompey.
And, I reckon, I’m far from being alone on that after the dispiriting behaviour of a minority in the Fratton Park crowd on Saturday.
Booed during and at the end of a 4-0 win? Pompey must have created some sort of record with that, and one that is as ill-deserved as it is unwanted.
Don’t get me wrong - I’m a firm believer that fans who pay their money not only in the hope but also in the expectation that they will be entertained are fully entitled to express dissatisfaction as well as praise.
Heavens, even I (one, I hope, of the more consistently-optimistic in the stands) let fly with a couple of ‘Get it forward!’ pleas during the second half.
But there’s a world of difference between groans of frustration and mickey-taking booing.
On Saturday it started midway through the second half when Pompey (not for the first time) played the ball backward rather than forward.
Regrettably from that moment it seemed to grow like Topsy.
Almost, it seemed, in the style of the slightly-childish Oles! that signify a team keeping possesion against already-beaten opponents, the boos were taken up by more and more around me in the Fratton End.
Not a majority by any means but enough of a minority to make themselves heard to the players.
Half might have been doing it out of some misplaced feeling of fun (and for some the boos were probably fuelled by the booze), but I doubt any stopped for an even a moment to consider the effects of their protests.
Because surely no-one in their right mind would boo their team as the final whistle sounded on a 4-0 win, would they?
Well, sad to say, some even did that amidst the cheers for Pompey at fulltime.
Accuse me of wearing rose-tinted glasses if you will, but it wouldn’t have happened in the days when it genuinely felt that the whole crowd was the 12th man.
People always cite the Stockport game (and I was truly among the claimed crowd of 60,000+) but that Nineties night under the Fratton floodlights - in which, somewhat ironically as it turns out, Paul Cook was playing for the vistors - was as different as chalk and cheese to the ‘support’ on Saturday.
Pompey had been playing some pretty diabolical football - the league position doesn’t lie. But the passion that erupted that night, and continued in a large part for years to come, was a genuine inspiration to the players wearing the famous blue shirt.
Unfortunately, booing is only likely to have an opposite effect.
So to those who sounded that boorish protest at Fratton Park on Saturday, I plead: Put on your Pompey shirt, take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror - and then turn up next time aiming to encourage YOUR team, warts and all.