Saint or sinner?
Well he has technically been a Saint, which already makes him a sinner...
Either way clearly the opinions on the returning former manager this weekend, along with some former players, will vary so this is going to see tensions high this week, the early part of the week after and of course this weekend.
Without a doubt, whatever the thoughts are on him we cannot doubt the fantastic days that we did have under him, even if they were very much a 'me, me, me' way of thinking - granted they came at a heavy price, but all in all would we change them?
For me, taking into account this goodness, I still cannot look past the fact that he 'abandoned us' not once, but twice and did this the second time when we needed him the most, and the reason he jumped - and jumped is what he did - was because it suited him to do this.
People will argue that he left at the right time as he 'knew what was going to happen' so they do not blame him for leaving - again for me this leaving when he knew that we would have to sell, we would see the side dismantled that was built makes it all the worse, coupled with the fact he tried to make out that we 'sold him' or he was 'doing us a favour.' Deserting a sinking ship is not doing someone a favour!
Simple truth is he left us for Spurs as they could offer him something that we could not... Money!
Ok, I concede that Spurs are a big club but had we kept making money available to him he would not have gone, why would he as we were every bit as 'big as Spurs' in a footballing sense at that time - in fact bigger as you judge success in the here and now as much as you do 'the past', the past is only something you can live off for so long! The guy sold out and if he really cared he would have stayed in spite of what was happening.
I have not fallen for the 'I tried to find a buyer' rubbish - funny that this is wheeled out a week before we play Spurs, and I am not waiting for the 'I took them from bottom of Division 1 to the best times of their lives' speech, again arguably true but again too much of the 'me, me, me' in this, and none of this is going to be a pardoning for his walking out on his 'spiritual home' and on 'the best fans in the world that he could not do it to again' when things were not going as he wanted. I also suspect that we will also get the 'morons' talk as well, most probably next week after the game...
I think that it is fair, and understandable, if people want to give him and the returning players and staff some grief - within he realms of decency - although if people opt against this, then likewise this is ok, and neither option should be forced on people.
What I know, or at least feel will happen, is that I will get closure on this whole issue after this game - you know I might even be able to call him by name again, in fact I am pretty sure I will, hell I have to do this over on Vital England so I reckon after this weekend, if I need to be referring to him, I will do by name...
For me the best form of attack against the 'returners' would be complete and utter support and backing for those that are with us now, giving Paul Hart and co our full vocal backing. We can add, hopefully, the odd 'Harry, Joe, Kevin, Jermain, Peter and/or Niko what's the score' and 'who the **** is (insert name)' as for me that could be all we need?
What I do hope is that we keep this abuse within a decency level - we did this at White Hart Lane last season so lets do this on our own doorstep at Fratton to ensure that we do not sink to the level of some, and it is important to stress some and not all, Spurs fans from last season when they were here.
Lets go about it in a dignified way eh guys!
Like I say giving out some abuse, within the boundaries of what is acceptable, should be fine if we want but it will hurt these returning people more if we show complete united support to the players and the coaching staff we have at Fratton now, so lets focus on supporting them and backing them as this can, and hopefully will, make a hell of a difference.
Lets not get caught up in the 'anti-supporting' of old foes and make sure we get wrapped up in the 'supporting' of the those that are Pompey now, and want to be Pompey now...
PLAY UP POMPEY!