Pompey fans must face reality

Last updated : 26 November 2003 By Chris Watson

In recent years, Portsmouth FC has faced several highs and lows. The vast majority of Pompey fans have stuck by their team and have helped see them through thick and thin. Defeats against teams such as Crewe, Watford and Leyton Orient are now a distant memory for those who were dedicated enough to attend.

As we all know, Harry Redknapp has turned it all around, and Pompey fans have instead enjoyed excellent victories over Liverpool and Leeds this season. Last Monday, I was able to attend Fulham v Pompey. As my first Premiership away game, this should have been an immensely enjoyable experience, and, on the whole, it was.

The performance by the Blue Army was admittedly disappointing, and Pompey lost 2-0. Now, as a newly promoted side, all fans should expect this during the course of the season, and Portsmouth will undoubtedly be taught some harsh Premiership lessons. However, I was shocked and saddened to hear that some sections of the travelling contingent did not quite see it like that. The moment Fulham took the lead, instead of getting behind the team like our fans did so well for the first 30 minutes, the verbal abuse and whingeing towards the team as a whole was extraordinary. Players such as Hayden Foxe and Yakubu, who have both been worshipped by the Fratton Faithful in the past, were consistently heckled and taunted. These are players which are not used to the best league in the world as yet, and must be given time to adapt. Admittedly, they both had poor games, but a lot of Pompey fans must learn that the step up from Division One is huge, and we will not merrily travel from ground to ground picking up points every

week, nor will the opposition just sit back and let us play football as in Division One, so performances may suffer . To cap it all, we were playing Fulham. The last game this team played, they took all three points from arguably the hardest fixture of the year, Man U away.

I must point out, having said all that, that certain senior players really did not lead by example. Steve Stone and especially Tim Sherwood were, to be honest, very poor. But how many times have we either seen or heard of how well these two have played in recent games? Even Ronaldo has a bad game every now and then, and lets face it, Sherwood is not World Footballer of the Year! So we must have patience and learn to accept the fact that we will not win every game, and remember that 17th place remains this target.

Play Up Pompey!