Date: 21st October 2008 at 6:53am
Written by:

I often wonder whether being successful actually suits Pompey Fans. Allow me to explain.

I personally, as all Pompey Fans should be, are extremely chuffed living the dream that is the FA Cup, loitering around the upper reaches of the Premier League and now the UEFA Cup competition. However, we still fail to fill our stadium, often noting empty seats at the Milton End and South Upper, yet a reported 200,000 fans(?) turned out to see the FA Cup come to Pompey in that glorious day in May.

I remember watching Pompey play Derby last season, and it was during that game that I finally came to conclusion that success doesn’t make our fans necessarily passionate, but defiance does!! Having our backs to the wall brings out the best in our fans. Derby took the lead in that game, and suddenly the noise levels rose significantly to the point it kind of mirrored the days when we were scrapping in the lower reaches of the Championship; We scored, we took the lead, then it was if the passion had been sucked out of the fans and quietness descended, like I said, it doesn’t suit our fans – or are our expectations set too high?

It could be that with success comes cost, more games, more expense, less attendance, less passion, I don’t know, but one thing is for sure, we will have that passion and atmosphere against AC Milan as we’ll not be able to help ourselves from showing off to Europe as to who we are (clapping to Mike Oldfield???), yet come the Fulham game, we’ll be back to the same old routine, empty seats, fragmented passion and hopefully a win.

This is just my personal take and observation, I for one, live and breath Pompey and hope that the new generation of fans coming through are not complacent enough to expect the kind of success we have experienced over the recent past. Go grab some archives of our dark days and crank up the volume and take a listen…..

Written by Different Gravy.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

Join the Vital Pompey Debate


15 Replies to “Does success suit Pompey Fans?”

  • This is a great article and it did deserve to be moved on to the front page. It is a little early to go into a full rant right now, so I will come back on later to express my opinions.

  • A good article but no one answer to the qusetion. Those of us who have been going 30 years + do crave & suit the success when we remember watching Pompey in Div 4. There are those who are fortunate that they can go to most/all home games. However a lot can’t & the limit of not being able to pay on the day doesn’t help. Too many awkward questions & answers regarding tickets to go on about them now. Passion is different, it is shown at different times & usually at the very best & worst of times but less inbetween. I’ll happily settle for everything we have now on the pitch as these are the best of times. And when they are not you can’t take away the memories.

  • I think what Matt is saying is we can die happy and I would definitely agree with that. From Division 4 to winning the FA Cup at Wembley, top half of Premier League AND European football!!

  • Thought-provoking stuff. As a kid/young adult I used to watch Arsenal on the North Bank at Highbury. One season they finished 17th in the old first division and yet the noise and atmosphere was better than anything generated in recent years, either at Highbury or the Emirates. Same goes for Chelsea – I have a friend who’s followed them since the 70’s at the Bridge and he says the atmosphere now is nothing like when they had their backs to the wall in the early 80s. People have said the same of Man Utd for many years. Maybe fans are blase about the success. Now I know I’m a recent convert to the cause of Pompey but I really did tire of the way fans of Arsenal and the other so called “big” clubs took their success for granted. One of the attractions of following Pompey is the beautiful uncertainty of it all (I’ve explained in previous threads how I was seduced by the somewhat old fashioned delights of Pompey and Fratton Park, turning my back on the opulence of Arsenal) and the fact that those lifelong Pompey fans amongst you really savour this time, don’t take it for granted and, to an extent, actually have trouble believing it’s all true. Your attitude to either success or disappointment reminds me of a line or two from Kipling’s poem, “If -“……. “If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same…..”. I take my 10 year old to Pompey and she doesn’t mind who we’re playing, she loves the atmosphere and has pointed out to me that a good atmosphere makes even the dullest game memorable. PLAY UP POMPEY!

  • Had a chat with my mate last season, we discussed if we actually preferred Div1 football, the thoughts behind this were that we had something to aim for, rather than just trying to keep up, although since then we have won something and signed Defoe and Crouch!

  • I’d be lying if I said that a quarter of me didn’t want us to get relegated. I’ve supported Pompey since the early 90’s – obviously not as much as some of you guys, but I do remember supporting us through mostly bad times. I’ve never been able to afford a season ticket, but gone are the times when I went to 90% of games anyway by buying on the door – I just wish I could do that now! What’s even worse is that I struggle to get tickets for FA Cup final, and probably will struggle for AC Milan – although I’ll give it 1000% effort – and I think for all the crap I’ve taken being a Pompey fan over the years I deserve to see games like this!!

  • I can’t help a little thought in the back of my mind that I’m going to wake up one day, Bobby Ewing will be in the shower (younger viewers will be confused here) and Pompey will be in a lower division with a load of elderly players and a half empty stadium. Sure, I remember the games of 1978-1979 (my first full season ticket season) as a time when Pompey was my entire life and in some ways it has never been quite the same again. It’s a bit like remembering that the stuff you bought when a teenager, when you had to really save up for months to buy an LP for example, and remembering how special that was because of the struggle. However, although that has a sort of ascetic pride attached to it, there’s no way I’d want to go back to a life when I’d have to think about whether or not I had enough money to buy a Marathon. I think the Ninja’s nailed it on the head – it’s about the fresh excitement a kid gets as a football follower versus the jaded cynicism of the adult. In thirty years’ time his daughter might be bored with Pompey winning the Champions League yet again and again and look back with a sigh of remembrance at the good old days struggling through to that first UEFA cup victory.

  • If you anybody from Pompey is bored with life in the top of the Prem. Bored with the fact that we have won the FA Cup. Bored with the fact we are in Europe. Bored with having 4 first team players in the England squad. Sod off & follow the scummers in the Championship & see how exciting that is. Ask Bournemouth die hards would they sway their heart rendering tales of survival with our ‘boring’ times. Or the excitement of following Aldershot in their first season back in the football league. Or what about Brighton they have some exciting times at the Withdean. Stop bleedin’ moaning about Pompey!

  • Spot on Matt. You mention Brighton; my mates in Sussex would love to be back in 1983 when they were in the top flight (albeit relegated) and made it to the cup final. Do you think Leeds fans would rather be in the top four and in the semi-finals of the Champions league or playing Leyton Orient in what I still regad as the third division? Enjoy the glory days and don’t feel guilty about daring to dream that they might last.

  • Started watching Pompey in the old 2nd division, been with them ever since through 3rd, 4th and all way back up. The whole time i dreamed of top flight football, winning the cup etc. Now we’ve done it i wouldn’t say i’m bored of European and premiership football but i can honestly say that i preferred life in the championship. As seems to happen to most clubs that stay in the premiership for any length of time we’ve become infected with premiershipitis. Fans have lost their passion (or maybe the passionate ones just cant get in anymore thanks to JCL’s). Fans are too quick to get on players backs or boo the team if we’re down at halftime. I’ve had over 30 wonderful years watching Pompey in every division home and away and i’m still enjoying the ride but things ain’t what they used to be. Maybe Gravy’s right barring an Abramovich style cash injection we’ve gone as far as we can, oh we will have our little victories along the way the odd win against United, our eventual first premiership win against Chelsea but what is left to aim for? Having said all that i’m not ready to trade it in yet but lets start a campaign to bring Old Portsmouth Supporters Values back so we can all enjoy it just that bit more.

  • I agree with the comments, we have come a long long way since St.John and Deacon.
    I think most of us remember the Old Shay and Spotlands, Fellows Park and Somerton Park, they were never good old days for me.
    I prayed we would get into the Premiership and get to Wembley, and by some sort of magic or Gods will it has happened.
    What Milan, Sacha and Harry have achieved has been wonderful, and i love most of the time i spend watching Pompey.
    It hurts when we get d***** by mediocre teams like Citeh, but when we play well against these so called bigger clubs i savour every moment.
    We havent disgraced ourselves like that Villa fan did, and we dont consider ourseleves big time like The Hotspurts and Newcastle.
    Our manager is a top man, who loves Pompey and recognises how important we are to the club.
    Long may this dream continue, and see you all on the next leg of the European Tour, another two days off work, but who cares.

  • I would rather see Pompey win an FA Cup and live in mediocrity in the Premier League than live in those dark old days of the 70s. It is true that Pompey fans never really dessert their team, but it is true that they do go awol for awhile, particularly when the chips are down. I have followed and watched Pompey through thick and thin, and always will. I have been to places like Grimsby (Loss) and even further afield. Now living in Sydney makes it alot harder, but given retirement in a few years pompeygray will definitely embark on more Pompey real live games, no matter what division.

  • I guess the club becomes more corporate and shiny and less warm and cuddly the more success they get. I know exactly where Matt is coming from, and a couple of times when I’ve been to Havant & Waterlooville I found I missed a lot about standing on the terraces for a smaller club. At the same time, the success we’ve got now and the cup run is so amazing, I wouldn’t swap it for the world. And none of us know how long it will last. At the same time, our club are still fan-friendly, they allowed me to break the rules and get 2 FA cup final tickets, and whenever you contact them they do their best to help. So we’re not turning into Arsenal yet!

Comments are closed.