Date: 14th April 2009 at 7:29am
Written by:

I was reading a well-known monthly football magazine, and had just got to the letters page, when I noticed a picture of Distin, Davis, Pennant and Hreidarsson all celebrating a goal.

The caption to the picture confused me as it read “Yes! We’re going down. Can’t wait to play at Deepdale”. I didn’t understand what the magazine was on about, so I looked at the accompanying letter and this is what was said:

“I’m a Portsmouth fan and I’m bored of the Premier League. When we first won the Championship I couldn’t wait for our first game, but as the years have gone by I have lost interest in the top-flight – it’s all so predictable. Yes, on a financial side, it is easily the best league in the world. And yes, it has most of the world’s top players. But for me, that’s not enough. For sport to have any appeal there has to be some unpredictability; this just does not exist in the Premier League. The same teams win week-in week-out, year after year. With Pompey threatened by relegation, I’m not too worried. I wouldn’t mind swapping defeats at White Hart lane, Villa Park and Anfield for action-packed games, which could go either way at Preston and Blackpool. On a fan level, going down to the Championship wouldn’t be all that bad.”

I could not believe what I was reading!! Was this guy serious? I appreciate that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I really didn’t realise that this was going through any Pompey fan’s minds!

At the end of the day, I agree with a few points raised in the letter. It is the best league in the world, and it does have top players! To an extent, the league is predictable. However I wouldn’t say that it’s as predictable as he thinks it is. This season, Liverpool are pushing for the title, which they hardly ever do and there are about eight teams fighting for Premier League survival. Not only that, Hull were punching above their weight for the first part of the season, and teams like Villa and Everton are closer to breaking into the top four than any time I can remember!

From a Pompey perspective where do I start?! A positive start to the league, then we get spanked 6-0 at Man City, who saw that coming? Harry Redknapp leaving us out of the blue, and I know it`s not the Premiership, but we turned over AC Milan, one of the world’s best teams! We then hit a downward spiral, get our third manager of the season, and there are so many missed chances, last minute goals and shots hitting the post that I’m losing count of the lot. Not only that, we’re playing football that at times is neat, tidy and aggressive. Even though most of it is negative stuff, it doesn’t ever cease to be exciting!

Defeats at Villa and White Hart Lane (which haven’t happened this season) could, on their day be wins, as has been proven before! In fact, we won at Villa last season, and although we lose at WHL (except this season), we’ve beaten Tottenham at home numerous times, so it seems to me that this guy hasn’t done his homework, or following Pompey for very long!

I am at a loss as to why anyone would want to get relegated for better football. Look at Leicester City, Leeds United, Oldham, Swindon, Nottingham Forest, Charlton and more recently Scummers – relegation can really royally screw the club up, and it’s only a few that manage to actually bounce back up to the Premiership.

I for one do NOT want to get relegated. Having teams such as Chelsea, Man United and Liverpool visit you, as well as being able to visit their grounds, is brilliant and I wouldn’t swap it for the world. It seems like the writer of this letter has had the FA Cup win and expects more from the club, and it isn’t happening. Whilst ticket availability will be better if we go down which would suit me down to the ground, I don’t think I’m willing to swap Premier League status for that. I love the Premiership, and even though I would support Pompey if we plummeted to the Conference, I would be absolutely bitterly disappointed if we left the top-flight after so many years of fighting for Division One survival!

What do you guys (and gals) think – am I being too harsh? Do you agree with him?

Written by PFCGino.

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.

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16 Replies to “Tired of the Top Flight? Get Real!”

  • I know what the article means….I think. You only have to look at Millwall v Peterborough last night to see an action packed no quarter given game between two sides intent on winning. Tackles flying around, passionate fans, noise and entertainment. No prima donnas, no writhing around looking for fouls that weren’t there, no negative play from either team. Would I swap the WBA or Hull games for something like that on a regular basis? undoubtedly yes. Would I want to do so in the Championship or lower. Er….no

  • You can’t agree with him, he’s simply lost the plot. Getting relegated as happened back in the late 50s saw Pompey drop enventually to the 4th tier, before clawing their way back up. It actually took 30 years and we went straight back down. Playing at a lower level doesn’t guarantee success and for me I would rather see us celebrate survival in the top flight, knowing we have probably beaten some strong clubs along the way, than not being recognised as a decent team. The FA Cup is seldom won by sides outside rhe top flight so what is he seeking – blood !!

    I bet come May and we have hopefully retained Premiership status, he will be looking forward to the fixtures for the next season, which won’t include the likes of Doncaster Rovers.

  • nice article Gino, i too think the guy that had these thoughts, which some i totally agree with, probably has not actually thought through fully what being relegated will actually mean to pompey, the sweetness and roses expected will not happen!
    some of my best days out, and best memories happened outside the top-flight, so yep there are times when i miss this – players are more ‘honest’ at a lower level, most play for the shirt more and most enjoy it more but i wouldnt be ‘wishing’ us back there, some need to be careful what they wish for, as this can sometimes come true…
    its not as easy as ‘yep we will go down and its all going to be ok’, does the fella who has this opinion not realise that we will be financially crippled big, big time if this happens – we will not just ‘stop over in the championship’, we almost certainly would tumble down the leagues again – i would be interested to know if they would still be so happy…

  • Part of the appeal of the Premiership is getting to play the ‘big’ teams, and going to these awesome stadiums and seeing world class players. Pompey have been on the up and up since 2004, and now we are starting to falter a little bit, I think that the writer of the letter is too used to winning those 50/50 games and not losing them. 6 or 7 years ago, we were losing to Grimsby, Leyton Orient etc so I for one want survival and to play in the top flight is a privelege I never thought would happen! I personally would be absolutely gutted if we were relegated, because we’re in a financial mess at the moment, without the added pressure of losing all our players when relegated!

  • I think it’s a shame this guy used the word ‘predictable’ in his letter when referring to the Premier League. It isn’t that predictable but it is other things, equally as bad. Consider Pompey at this moment. The games, as a means of gaining or losing points, are reasonably exciting as relegation is the ‘prize’ for losing and preserved status the prize for lot losing. BUT, that is the situation from the ‘points’ point of view. Arguably, you could get this thrill by writing six numbers on the end of a pencil, drawing pairs of teams out of an old ice cream tub and ‘playing each match using your pencil ‘scorer’. And the ?Human Resources Office Cup Winner is . . . . ? The thrill of football is watching your team playing the best football they can in the best style they can utilising the players in the best positions they can play in (and of course, being mindful of the opposition, and their strengths and situation, etc). Anyone recognise Pompey from that last description? No, nor can I. Pompey will ONLY exist as a poorly financed team in the future (I’m assuming NO ONE sees any credit in the Abramovitch model, here – shame on you if you do) and so to be in the Premier League, they will have to a) be lucky, b) have a twitching, ginger style manager, c) battle relegation each year. C is where we find ourselves this season. (except that some of the players and quality of players we have at the moment, won’t be seen dead playing for us in seasons to come. So, to the nub of my gist (don’t be scared, it’s just an expression). Tony Hart is, sorry, Paul Hart is our manager, appointed by the club, that bunch who make ALL the decisions, to be the BEST solution to our management requirements at this time. Now, even with a team of international standard players, last Saturday was the best he could do. For a moment, consider if we had players like West Brom or the Scum . . . . . . . His best effort was a tedious, boring, defensive performance, leaving some better players out of the team. And we scraped a draw with a team who may struggle in the Fizzy Pop league next season. Presumably, Premier Status is EVERTHING. So referring to the original spark for this thread, would you rather watch this utilitarian, scrapping for survival, zero entertainment, worthless football, or the West Bromwich Albion model where you yo-yo from the FP League to the Prem every few seasons with all the excitement and emotion that it brings? And I expect you are all shouting, ‘but we may end up in free-fall’ and ‘we may never get back’ and ‘we will have to get Robbie Pethick out of retirement’. Yes, maybe, but what ever happens will be EXCITING! And others; ‘that’s too simplistic’ or ‘we could be in the same boring football position at the bottom of the Fizz League’. Yes, agreed, but at least you have somewhere to go, something to aspire to which is not a complete and utter fantasy. with a bit of luck, or a star kid from the academy, your team could achieve something without risking the corrupt banks banging on your door. Staying in the Premier League, under my previously recorded conditions, achieves nothing except, just that, Premier League Status and does very little for me, season after season, I’m afraid. And there is JUST NOWHERE FOR A TEAM LIKE POMPEY TO GO and remain solvent. Look around you at the financial plight our Continent is in. Football has no special right to be able to use the ridiculous amounts of money that is does at the present time. And so to me; I’ll not be renewing my season ticket next season for the first time since the early 90’s. I’ll pick and choose the games I go to which will probably be the games some people will have no interest in. I can see The Ar$e or Man Ure on the telly four times a week! It’s Fulham or Bolton for me. Honest teams, like Pompey. As a post script, strangely (unless you’ve followed this logical narrative), I will only renew my season ticket if we go down. How weird . . . . . .

  • I can see where he’s coming from. If we went down, you would have to look at the positives or why bother turning up? However, scrapping at the bottom of the Premier is generally much more fun than scrapping at the bottom of the Championship. Even though everyone man and his dog suddenly has an opinion about your team.

  • I was looking at Championship table yesterday and wondering what it feels like to have secured safety in that league for another year. Presumably a lot better than going down but a bit … well, ordinary isn’t it? Whereas security in the Premiership we know from before means than we are going to be welcoming top flight teams and holding on to a relatively decent number of top flight players.

  • I can see some logic in both points of view. Being in the prem is great, and until Louise’s dad-in-law left and things started crashing down, we were on the crest of a wave and enjoying some great times. Now we’ve gone crashing down, and we really could go down. I’ll be gutted and devastated if we do. Then I’ll pick myself up and carry on supporting Pompey, and going to Plymouth and Leicester. We’ve been there before, and we were Pompey then, and we’ll carry on being Pompey whatever happens. Football can be exciting, and it can be boring, whatever diivision or league you play in. But lets stay up though!

  • The Premiership is the only place to be, the Championship is nothing, we did our time in that division and it was sduch a relief to get out and be in with the big clubs.
    To even think of going back is defeatist and we should move heaven and earth to survivie, i read 4-4-2 and could not believe that a true Pompey fan would contribute such a pathetic article, unless he wrote it on April Fools Day!!

  • Have you seen any recent games? Imagine 10 seasons watching that stuff, knowing it’s only about survival, survival is the goal, the football is not important, only survival, staying in the Premier League, saving money, selling anbody who is any good. Football is NOT a means to an end, it’s for the thrill, the passion, the spectacle, the clash of styles – it’s NOT like getting a job you don’t like and sticking with it because you’ve a mortgage to pay and children to keep. Although I am playing DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, here, I understand. Btw, how do you think Pompey will manage financially in the near future, with falling attendances and rising costs? This is not an Abramovitch climate we are living in, no one is going to put money into Pompey with ZERO return, no one. Now this is getting real!

  • Really disapointed at the really low level of the debate on this thread. This was a really important, philosophical argument which absolutely should be at the cutting edge of our feelings and decisions about our football and the Premier League in general and our club in particular. And it sunk to the same level as ‘Hughes is crap and Davis is not crap’. Sorry, site journalists, you missed a real opportunity here. Goodbye.

  • not sure how you figure ‘site journalists’ can be held accountable for the lack of debate on this issue Et_tu, we cannot make people comment can we…
    to be fair people voiced their opinions on it tho havent they?
    you had your say, which granted i have not had a chance to ready through i will be honest, but if you had/do wanted more said on this issue you could always have put forward and article suggestion – even if this meant addaption you comment into this…

  • Great article. After a few decades of watching Pompey suffer in Division 3 & 4, you must be mad to want that again. Never complain about being in the Prem, never. Ask the scummers or Leeds or Notting Forest or Sfeeffield Wednesday or Leicester or Charlton if being in the prem is boring.

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