So Portsmouth are in administration again? Big Deal! Go on Football League dock us the mandatory ten points. In fact go big and dock us twenty points instead effectively relegating us to League One. Punish us big style.
I’m been a Pompey fan since I was 9 (I didn’t support anyone before that if you’re wondering) and now 35 years on am being told that the club I support are about to go out of existence. I know the news will please all our red and white ‘friends’ 17 miles west in the short term but they’ll soon get bored of taunting Bournemouth fans.
Now if I’m honest I don’t really think that we will actually, to quote Charles Manson, cease to exist. Despite punishing us The Football League have let every one of our recent ‘owners’ pass their fit and proper test. What a fit and proper test actually involves is anyone’s guess given the jokers who’ve taken over at Fratton Park. I can’t even remember the names of most of them. One of them turned up in a white leather jacket (very Ritzy’s nightclub 1985) at his first game in charge. The Arab gentlemen in question must have squandered all his cash on the aforementioned garment, as he certainly didn’t have any to spend on anything connected with the football club.
If you thought it couldn’t get worse then sadly it did and appropriately during pantomime season. Signor Bonkers, hailing from Italy and living in the USA (don’t they all?), with a dream of building underwater casinos and a history of flirting with minor Italian football clubs decided Pompey were his latest project. Along with most Pompey fans I had to keep looking around to make sure no one was shouting ‘behind you’. Funnily enough few took him seriously and after emerging on Facebook and accepting Pompey supporters as ‘friends’ the abuse that came his way saw him decide gaming under the sea was a far better way to lose money comically than Portsmouth FC.
It gave me great pleasure to read a Tweet from a Pompey fan who asked that surely ‘Lawrence had £400 to pay for it himself?’
Fratton Park only holds twenty one thousand when full something that has yet to happen this season. Of the fourteen thousand that do attend matches, most are battle hardened souls who’ve seen Pompey in all four divisions, lift the FA Cup (some have twice), and even compete in Europe. If you ask anyone old enough to remember when we almost went under in 1976 then few would have expected us to achieve any of the above. On that occasion we needed a friendly against Celtic to help us keep breathing financially. We struggled with money throughout the eighties under the Deacon family before the Gregory’s took over and found that Pompey and money just don’t go. Never has and never will.
The boom years of Labour saw Milan Mandaric manage a spot of financial wizardry (something the Deacon and Gregory clans never managed) and attracted Harry Redknapp. Any Pompey fan over 20 knows that the Mandaric/Redknapp reign ended up in the High Court and that Bury visited Fratton Park as recently as 1999. Fratton Park regulars under 20 tend to think Bury is something you do when something dies (your football club for instance?) and stopped taking photos of opposition players taking throw-ins when we got relegated from the Premier League.
Most fans remain positive because what else is there to be? Positive doesn’t mean they think that Pompey will survive. Most people in the city know a business still owed money from the last time the club entered administration. Only the bravest of companies still deal with the club anyway and those that do insist on cash upfront. Its noticeable that while there have been many attempts to help the club, few have involved collecting money. The feeling amongst some fans is that paying for a season ticket is in itself a donation. What fourteen thousand war-wounded will do when there is nothing else to do on a Saturday afternoon remains unanswered. Relegation would be a blessing in disguise bringing with it twenty-three new towns and cities to explore across this great land of ours.
Those who are suffering the most are the non-playing staff at the club who haven’t been paid in two months and probably won’t for some while yet. While I really admire Liam Lawrence, David Norris, and crew my sympathies don’t extend to them as they surely have enough money already in the bank. Such is the clubs financial position that they couldn’t afford a recent MRI scan for Lawrence. It gave me great pleasure to read a Tweet from a Pompey fan who asked that surely ‘Lawrence had £400 to pay for it himself?’
What ever happens over the next few months will happen because we’ve been run badly by idiots for too long. That has to stop. We’ll all be here long after those idiots have f****d off elsewhere. We’ll still support the club we love even though we know we’re slightly stupid and not very good-looking. So f*****g what? Play up Pompey!