Date: 28th October 2008 at 6:23pm
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Pompey’s FA cup winning heroes today received their freedom of the city award at the Guildhall – and true to his word Harry Redknapp did turn up for this, although chorus’ of boos, jeers, and shouts of ‘Judas’ awaited him – which I guess was something that was expected, although to be honest for this honour could have been done without…

I have only seen a few shots of the ceremony but he clearly did not look comfortable at all and barely looked up at any stage as he said during the event, or as he made his speech: ‘my timing has never been very good and, this week, it could never have been worse.

‘It’s a great honour to receive this award, but I was only a member of a team.

‘The fans are absolutely fantastic, but, most importantly, we assembled an amazing football team. The talent that is at this football club is top class.

‘I’m sure with the players, the chairman and the support the club has, the club will only keep going forwards.

‘I really do appreciate everyone turning up today and being so kind.’

Well said, and well appreciated and I applaud him for it. Despite the mixed reception he did receive a standing ovation when his speech ended – and rightly so.

It is said that one person shouted out ‘Judas’ as he spoke, to which he simply shock his head and another was led away by Police. Whilst I am not best pleased with the fella, I would be lying through my teeth if I said otherwise, on this occasion he, and the cup winners, were being honoured for a remarkable achievement and the events of the past few days have nothing to do with that even though I know it is hard to keep them away from that.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, who is the leader of the council, spoke about the achievements that he managed with the club and how grateful he and the city of Portsmouth were for this, but also spoke of his sorry for it to be ending: ‘this is a very different speech from one I had planned. It is only right and proper to say that this would have been a speech about celebration and thanks.

‘It still is – winning the FA Cup was a great feat, but it must now also be about sadness and goodbyes.

‘Harry has had a huge impact on this city. I was thinking, what do I call him?’

The News says that someone shouted ‘Judas’ to this – again, something that saddens me, as in this instance and at that time the ceremony was about the clubs achievements of last season: ‘is it Mr Redknapp or Mr Harry Redknapp? But no, to everyone here in Portsmouth, he is just Harry.

‘Six hundred million people around the world watched us win the FA Cup. Around the UK and around the world, people saw Portsmouth and they saw us win.

‘It put us on the map and the pride of the city when the cup came home here to Portsmouth was a wonder to behold.’

It was a wonderful honour for all involved, it is just a shame that it had to come after such a traumatic few days.

The final chapter in the Harry Redknapp and Portsmouth Football Club story has now been written, in a way I take my hat off to him for turning up – I am not sure I would have had the nerve even though I had earned it, but earn it he had, we and he can now all move on to what will hopefully still be a bright future for us…

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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