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What does Pompey mean to Lemmi?



About a month ago I asked what it meant to you to be a Pompey Fan. Many thanks to those who took part in replying and apologies that it took so long for me to put this article together, but here it is.

Portsmouth, like most clubs, pride themselves on having a loyal, passionate fanbase the truly encapsulates what it means to share this fanatical obsession with hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Of those who took part in this study, responses came from New Zealand, Lithuania, West Africa and even Devon, as well as few from Pompey.

The stories of how they first came about supporting the club vary accordingly, from the common "taken to a game when I was only knee high", to "falling out of love with football (before visiting Fratton Park and becoming 'hooked')". One of the most interesting stories is about a fan who stumbled across Portsmouth on a computer game, and subsequently watching a Portsmouth game on TV (v Spurs) in doing so finding a new passion which has stuck with him.

With such a widespread set of fans, it would be easy to lose sight or stop caring, especially given the courage it has taken to keep following the club over the last few years. But not with our fans, who all state the need find a way of listening to the match every Saturday, regardless of where they are in the world, and what the time is locally. Fratton Park often sees crowds in excess of 16,000, but that can be multiplied to account for those who are listening at home and are there 'in spirit'.

Even those who can get to the matches on a regular basis have to pull out all the stops to make it, with some spending most their time and money travelling to the match just to spend 2 hours watching a game of football, which often ends up in disappointment. But ask any one of them, and I'm relatively certain they wouldn't want it any other way.

As for the future, there is a clearly an overwhelming urge to pass on this legacy, many have memories of being taken to Fratton Park with their Dads, and to re-live that from the opposite perspective will be equally, if not more rewarding for the Fathers (& Mothers) in question. In one sense, going to the football is a family event, extended by those who consider the fans to be one big (very noisy) family.

So sit back and enjoy the accounts of those who contributed over the next few days (they will be added one at a time), and thank you very much for sharing your stories/memories/emotions...

Written by PompeyFrippy.

I fell out of love with football years ago. It wasn't a dramatic 'that's it I've had enough I'm off and I'm taking my CDs and the cat!'... no it was more of a sudden realisation that the game I had loved as a kid was no longer a major part of my life. It had been replaced by other things and life had just got in the way.

The gradual moving apart started when I moved to Hampshire after University. During my time in Birmingham I was still able to get home to Liverpool regularly and watch Everton as I had done since the age of 15, when I first got a season ticket. Living in the Midlands meant I could go to lots of away games and still be home in time to go to the pub. In my final two years I also went to watch Aston Villa with friends but always went to the away end when Everton visited It was a good time to be an Evertonian; my final year culminated with an FA Cup win and the following three seasons resulted in two more visits to the Cup Final, two League titles and a European Cup Winner`s Cup. By this time, however, I had moved to a small town just outside Portsmouth and had started playing rugby again. More upheaval followed and I found myself working away from home; I developed an interest in motorbikes and just didn't bother checking the footie results anymore. Marriage and kids then intervened and I was happy just to watch England lose in major tournaments. Football but more precisely, Everton, and I had grown apart and an amicable divorce followed; I got to keep the house and they kept the trophies.

Just by coincidence when I was a kid my second favourite team was Portsmouth. This was due to a combination of factors; first of all I collected programmes and one of them was a Portsmouth away programme which featured Jimmy Dickinson and how he had made over 700 appearances for Pompey; secondly there was a synchronicity as Everton had won the League in 1939 and Pompey had won the cup; thirdly, both teams played in royal blue. So living a few miles from Fratton Park I visited a couple of times before the rugby and work stopped me. I looked out for their results occasionally but couldn't really be called a fan just an interested local.

Now I am a lucky man as my wife is a sports fan and also likes motorbikes, so watching the big games on the telly has never been a problem. She is also born and bred in Portsmouth and has always been interested in how Pompey are doing so we decided we'd start going to a few games. Soon I was hooked, the football was great, the atmosphere was fantastic and the camaraderie was superb. Fratton Park was designed by Archibald Leitch, who also designed Goodison Park, and is an old stadium showing its age. This, however, is part if not all of its charm. I fell in love with it as I was so much reminded of being a kid and the excitement of going to football. I also searched the net and perused the various fan sites, finally deciding on one which I found the discussions were frank but friendly with no name calling or offensiveness. Everyone's opinion was valued and disagreements dealt with in a mature manner. I have since met a lot of the members and have made good friends.

So the club grew on me and now we both have season tickets. Everton are now the ex-wife I'm still fond of but no desire to live with again, and Pompey are the second wife which came complete with kids and a mountain of debt. In a few years I have been to Wembley 5 times, enjoyed probably the best European night ever (against AC Milan) and seen the club almost go out of business. Pompey's journey has been less of a roller coaster ride, more of an entire theme park, but I've enjoyed every minute of it.

The season has ended now but I can't wait for new one; this time with added piquancy due to Southampton having been promoted into the same division. Being an 'incomer' to the area I really don't get the absolute hatred between the clubs. I was brought up on a healthy blue/red rivalry, families were split, your best mate supported the other team and although we detested each other's side we didn't hate each other and there being no derby game was unthinkable. It was also a little nutty; my great-grandfather wouldn't have tomato sauce in the house as it was red.

I can't see the point of hating people for who they support or where they're from. I have friends and relatives who support Liverpool, I don't hate them. I even have friends from Manchester and Southampton!

The fixture list comes out on Friday (Ed - Sorry again for the delay in publishing!). I'll look to see the latest I can leave it to buy a tin hat. Maybe I'll play golf that day.

Written by Lemmi.

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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    Writer: PompeyFrippy/Lemmi Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

    Date:Sunday July 31 2011

    Time: 6:01PM

    Your Comments

    A great detailed account here. To fall out of love with football and have that passion reunited really underlines how much of a grip a football club can have on you. Cheers for this Lemmi.
    PompeyFrippy
     

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