Lower Life: The 280 people who can cherish Pompey's revival the most
Can I start with a confession? The reason there was no column last week was that I just couldn't summon up the energy to write it. Not a good show, is it?
In my defence, I had been ill for a few days when the time came to write it. But I was going to have a go - and then Pompey lost another game to another late goal (at Scunthorpe, in case you have lost track of who beat us last week) and I just didn’t have any words of wisdom, humour, encouragement or anything in me.
So they filled the space with something else, and I shouldn’t think too many people noticed.
The only previous time my column has been a no-show was one Saturday five seasons ago when I forgot to write Bone Idle Gossip for the Sports Mail and only remembered when the sports editor texted me as I was halfway round Drusillas Zoo in East Sussex a couple of hours before the paper went to the presses gently inquiring where it was.
Anyhwow, a week of striding back to the health and a famous 0-0 draw at Hartlepool have worked wonders, so Lower Life is back.
Funny, isn’t it, how a 0-0 draw against League One’s bottom side that actually established a new Pompey record of games without a win doubled up as a reason for celebration and hope for the future?
Maybe some don’t think so, but in this long, draining, never-ending winter that’s as miserable as any that Pompey fans have suffered for nearly 40 years, you have to devour the crumbs of comfort, and the end of the losing run was one such crumb.
If I knew the names of the 280 Pompey fans who went to the Victoria Ground, I’d list them here because they are phenomenal people. The same goes for the 205 who made it to Scunthorpe a week earlier. Could any other team in our sort of form muster so many fans for such unappealing midweek trips? I doubt it.
Those 280 fans would have cherished the final whistle at Hartlepool, probably more than those of us following the game from afar, because it was a rare moment to savour.
But equally, if Pompey now embark on another depressing run of defeats, you just know those fans, and thousands who go to home fans, will carry on going. We don’t go to watch Pompey win every week - though it’s nice when they do. We go because it’s Pompey.
Every bit as challenging as the task of following Pompey on the pitch these past few months has been the job of retaining interest the constant delays in the Supporters’ Trust hoped-for takeeover.
It’s the feeling of powerlessness that’s the worst. We’ve made our pledges (though if you haven’t, you still can, and should); now we are in the hands of higher authorities and other parties, while all we can do is hope for the sensible outcome.
All I can say is ... provided the takeover happens, it will be worth the wait. We will be saviours of Pompey, trailblazers for football.
Our beautiful game works in cycles and we are at the lowest point at the moment. But we’ll rise again. And when we do, I know 280 people who will deserve to enjoy it more than most.
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