Save our atmosphere!
Before I start, I am not saying that the Fratton atmosphere has gone, as it is not, but it certainly is not the force it once was - well at least on a consistent basis - and the worry I have, which I am sure is shared by many others, is that the club are not going to do enough to ensure that this does not continue to suffer...
You may remember a couple of weeks back that I produced an article about the atmosphere at Fratton, and how we 'could', maybe even 'should' follow the lead of Sheffield Wednesday (Why do Portsmouth Football Club not do this? - click here) well this is not something that I am going to let go, and nor do I think we should individually or collectively...
It was prior to the last home game with Bolton that I first raised this matter publicly, and in fact took my thoughts on the matter to Peter Storrie, who, to his credit, responded and quickly in saying: 'This is not an area that I usually deal with. I got involved last time to try and help resolve the situation. My understanding at the moment is that Johnny himself has chosen not to bring the drums and bell etc but I will get an update or get someone to come back to you.'
Further to his credit, and to his word, Storrie did again get back to me again - and quickly to be fair: 'I have since got an update and with the bell it was in fact stopped by us last, as Johnnie would not just ring the bell, he went to the back of the stand and kept smashing it against the back causing some £3,500 of damage. I have given him the chance of bringing it on Saturday if he just rang the bell and did not cause any damage. Up to him now, if he lets me down then he leaves me little choice. On the drums it is more complex as we have lots of complaints from fans and indeed many of whom were going to sue the club under the noise act etc, so that is more complicated and we will look into this again in the summer.'
The bell returned against Bolton, and was an improvement in atmosphere coincidental or not? I will let you decide...but I would like to think that in some small part Vital Pompey helped with the bell returning for that game and this 'should', I assume, mean it stays this weekend against Arsenal?
I maintain my thoughts from my previous article that 'the majority' and not 'the minority' should rule on the drum issue, although unfortunately it appears that we now live in a world - football and in general - where the minority does rule and upsetting these is actually more important!
I also maintain my thoughts that we should put this matter to a vote of season ticket holders, I am not doing this because I think 'they are more important or have more rights', although it can be argued that is actually the case, but when all is said and done they are there every week so if they are happy - on the whole - for this then that should be that?
Those that do not like it would then have to 'like it or lump it', they then either have to move or leave. Lets be honest those complaining most likely have not been attending football for anywhere near as long a time as Westy and his crew, and instruments, have! Like it, or like him, or not that is the case and the whole package has been a major draw to the club for some time - kill that, and you kill something special about Portsmouth Football Club.
Ok, lets be fair those 'complaining' also pay their money so they also have rights, finding a happy medium does need to happen but if the numbers were small enough why not put those that want quiet in the 'punch and Judy' stand - not that I am now looking to embarrass them. 'If' the majority proved to be for 'the drums staying away' then I would hold my hands up and say 'fair enough', but as football is about passion and noise I would be surprised if this was the case...
If we thought this season was tough then, and although I am not trying to be a 'merchant of doom', I think this is more realistic - unless we are taken over in the summer, and early! - I feel that next season minus some 'star names' and most likely few replacements the atmosphere will be key. Pompey will need all the help they can get next season I reckon, so ruining the backing that the players are given is going to make this even tougher. We usually have the advantage over teams as we play with '12 men', why would we want to lose this advantage?
It is all very well 'saying' we want something but actually following through these actions is what we need to do - this is not something I will let go, and I hope that everyone else is going to carry on backing me in this quest?
Not for one minute am I suggesting that we launch a barrage of correspondence on Peter Storrie, I would in fact almost encourage against that, although to be honest maybe letters - I would advice against email to be honest - would not hurt.
I know more voices and opinions make for the chances of actions being taken greater, but sometimes all those voices presented at once help more, so maybe I could forward all our thoughts to him?
So lets have our say below I guess and I will then pass these on? Does this sound like a good ideal?
PLAY UP POMPEY!