A Rallying Cry

Last updated : 13 August 2009 By Jim Bonner
One week ago I was virtually certain that Pompey were going to get relegated. Fans were in uproar as star players were leaving a wafer thin squad led by a man that not many people had faith in.

But despite the deep uncertainty surrounding Fratton Park, the past week has seen a change in attitude amongst some of the Fratton faithful and I do believe, unlike some of the defeatists who already believe we're going down, that we're not relegated before a ball has been kicked and that we have enough fight to survive the long battle ahead.

There are two reasons why my attitude has changed.

The first is Saturday's game against Rangers. It may have only been a friendly but we played well and at times dominated the Scottish Champions. Some pride was restored after the Benfica drubbing and Frederic Piquionne certainly made an impact.

I know we'll play better teams than what was a weakened Rangers side during the course of the season but we'll also play worse teams. It may seem naive to base our hopes of the entire season on one friendly but amongst a very dark cloud you have to find every ray of hope you can.

The second reason why I'm more optimistic than some is because of the interview with Paul Hart that I read on The News the other day.

In the past I have accused Hart of being boring and uninspiring with his team's style of play reflecting his personality. However, this interview (found here) is somewhat inspiring as it reveals just how harsh the restrictions that Hart has to work with and I was impressed with how he is rallying the troops for the tough time ahead.

Peter Storrie is another one who has taken allsorts of criticism in the past but now he has been completely straight with us, it seems like he is now being backed by the fans after he revealed just how tough his job has been since Sacha decided to pull the plug.

I missed the fans forum tonight but I hear that both Hart and Storrie were straight up and honest with everyone, with Pompey's CEO telling Al-Fahim to "put up or shut up" in no uncertain terms. Both men didn't expect Al-Fahim to go through with the takeover but Storrie ensures us that Pompey won't go into administartion.

Besides, the takeover isn't dead according to Sulaiman Al-Fahim and in his latest interview (found here) he states his intentions and claims that he will be at Fratton Park on Saturday to watch the game. I'm personally getting tired of this talk and just want this tiring saga to end one way or another, just so we know where we are.

The most important thing is that there seems to be a unity between the fans and the staff at PFC now, and if the players recognise this and give 100% during every match then we have a fighting chance of staying in the Premier League.

After all, staying in this division is the aim which simply means finishing above three teams. How many people honestly think that Wolves, Birmingham, Hull or Burnley have a better team than us?

Yes, they may have stability but we've survived in unstable times before and this situation has brought out a siege mentality at the club that could well see us surprise a few people and at least if we go down, we go down fighting.

I'm hoping that this new found unity will inspire the Pompey fans to turn up in force for the opening day clash with Fulham and get behind the team, give the players their full support whether they be Niko Kranjcar or Hayden Mullins and make Fratton Park an intimidating place to come to again.

This season isn't a write off but the first two games are going to be so important to how the season pans out. Early defeats will crush the optimism but I believe that with enough fight we can get results from these games, add to the squad and build from there.

It's going to be a long, gruelling slog but Pompey fans are at their best when the club is facing uncertain times. So let's all do our part and ensure we can be the 12th man that helps keep Portsmouth in the Premier League this season.

Play Up Pompey!