Pompey: Hard Chimes

TWO falls, two submissions or a knockout… to say it was a robust encounter at Fratton Park would be an under-statement. It was bad-tempered, ill-disciplined and spiteful with nasty tackles, naughty off the ball snapping and even dreadlock tugging. And it was largely unpoliced by a referee who lost his grip early on and never really recovered. Trevor Kettle, google him, he’s got form.
The first half was blood spattered carnage with a series of injury knocks, physio appearances for both sides and sporadic outbreaks of tetchy niggling. The second half saw goals – including two penalties – break through the chaos but with Pompey scrapping for their lives on and off the pitch the simmering tensions, stoked up by some erratic reffing, boiled over frequently.
Eleven yellows and a red… and to be honest there could have been more: Rocha should have been sent off for hauling Emnes back by his locks when already on a yellow but the ref opted not to bother to enforce the rules on that occasion – yet 20 seconds later sent off Rhys for a sly dig when he was on a booking. Haroun could have been pedalled after losing his head and was taken off by Mowbray before he was red carded and there was an incident in a crowd near the end where Bates – again, already on a card – was being accused to having Decked Allan.
It was fantastic! It was tense, fierce and at times malevolent and the pressure from Pompey high-stakes brinkmanship – it could easily be their last game – helped make it an explosive atmosphere. Boro had to be strong to stand up to the physicality of the game, had to stay calm when the home side clawed one down and stepped up the blitz on the box and although there were times when they almost lost control and boiled over, they showed real steel, kept their shape and just about kept a lid on their tempers.
It was a vital win. Back on track. More later.
**Note: A lot of sympathy for the Pompey fans, a lot of who are convinced they have just watched their last game. There was an air of fatalism among the local press and supporters and thousands stayed behind to chanting defiantly. There were still a few hundred there when we left nearly an hour after the whistle. Respect. As ever, when the sharp suits, money men and chancers ransack a club it is the fans – the only people who really care – who are shafted and are left to pick up the pieces.

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40 thoughts on “Pompey: Hard Chimes

  1. Great result, I do not know the why’s and wherefore’s but looking at the bookings racking up on BBC text (other text services are available) I compiled some stats
    Fouls 35
    Bookings 11 @ 3.2 fouls per card
    Pompey fouls 21
    Bookings 5 @ 4.2 fouls per booking
    Boro fouls 14
    Bookings 6 @ 2.3 fouls per booking
    Then I realised it was Saturday night and I did have a life.

  2. Well done, Boro, and well done Jarkko! That young man does have a bit of a knack of predicting things right!
    Exciting run-in possible? If we can match the mackems over two games, we can surely give the Ammers a knock, dim Brighton’s flickering lights and sully the Saints as well. But can we storm the Barnsley? Time will tell!

  3. Good win. Pity about Rhys Williams being sent off for a second yellow card, but some of the decisions sounded “dodgy”, at least as described on Radio Ali. Presumably he will miss the Barnsley match but will be back for Leeds?
    If we could win our next two games…..
    I did think this very witty: “Pay up, Pompey, Pay up!”

  4. Sounded like a real battle listening to the commentary and reading John Powls texts.
    Yet again the ref appeared to have a shocker. For those who missed it and according to Ali one of their players was already on a yellow card then stopped Emnes breaking through by pulling his hair. Nothing happened and then an innocuous challenge got Rhys a second yellow.
    Even ex Pompey player Paul Walsh summarising for SkySports was baffled by the two decisions.
    But three points are three points and Rhys can have a rest with Bails back in the team.
    Hope the trip back was OK for you Vic.
    **AV writes: They are always good trips back after a win.

  5. Great trip to Portsmouth lets hope we can keep the three points.
    Good performance by Nicky Bailey,he showed us just how much we have missed him. Adam Hammill looked impressive and I thought he was unlucky not to score.
    Ref was another shocker,mind you if you had heard the Pompey fans on the radio on the way home you would think we had done a smash and grab raid for the three points.
    Can we now please get maximum points from our next two games at home and make a big push for the play offs or better pleaaaaase!!!!

  6. A good and needed win.
    Being cautious, Pompey are pants as are Forest and Millwall, our other wins this year. We’ve still lost more in the league than we’ve won in 2012 and are yet to really catch fire this season. And a plus six goal difference says much.
    But we are back in it, absolutely, and a similar end to the start of the season I feel, will see us up.
    The sixth placed team in the past three years has achieved 75, 74 and 70 (Blackpool two years ago) points respectively. Win half our of remaining games and the plays offs are more than feasible.
    Nerves will kick in all round and West Ham and Southampton are, like us all this season, nothing special so automatic promotion has to be the goal for all clubs in the mix still.
    The play-offs mean little in themselves, it’s the same odds as reaching a cup semi final only, and a top two finish has to be the aim.
    But for once, and like many I suspect, I won’t be too disappointed if we fail this time out, the Mogga trend is upward and our time will come soon.
    But in typical Boro style, this could well be sooner rather than later. Mogga has the Rioch touch and thrust and come 5pm on 28 April, I think we’re more likely to be inside the top two than out.
    Come on Boro.

  7. I noted a severe sense of humour failure from Pompey fans when we sang “Stand up if you’ve paid your tax.”
    I also thought it hilarious that the MP for Portsmouth North was asked to choose the Man of the Match and overlooked the whole team (kick ’em when they’re down, why don’t you) and picked ‘the Pompey fans’ – is it election year already?
    Living in the city, I get to see their car crash of a football club at first hand on a daily basis. I’ve no doubt a rescue package of some description will be assembled but one way or another, the wilderness beckons, I feel.
    (But SaveDarlo, by the way – I’ve chipped for my shares, have you?)
    Back to the match and the Boro, as I saw it, ran the game after half time with Hammill and later Emnes providing pace, width and that touch of quality. But the big plus was the return of Mr Bailey. How we’ve missed him these past few weeks. All of a sudden, the picture looks a tad rosier again…

  8. I went to the game as a Boro ‘exile’ living in Portsmouth. I do not mean to gloat but i was actually home and watching the Leeds game on TV by 1740…..now that a ‘away’ game.
    Anyhow back to the game. I agree it was a scrappy and feisty affair and the kinda game in the past we would have been ‘out-muscled’ and roughed up.
    That said, not yesterday as we had Nicky ‘The enforcer’ Bailey back. To think he has been out for nearly three months it looked like he had never been away. He was simply outstanding and that just shows how he is light years ahead of Thomson in terms of the ‘holding-roll’.
    I thought there were quite a few other positives. I thought the ‘Jukebox’ did well leading the line as a lone front man and received a real battering from the Pompey back line and got a nice cut on the head for his efforts. I guess its now another option (or plan B) that we can now play with one up top due to Jukes physical presence.
    Also Bates and Hines CB pairing is really taking shape. I have seen Hines grow in stature and confidence in the last few weeks and starting to look like the player we knew he could be. I think he can only get better and justifies Mogga’s decision to loan out Mcmanus (and save us some hefty wages).
    They new ‘loan-ranger’ Adam Hammill looked the part. He pretty much did everything Mogga said in that he added much needed width and ability to run at fullbacks and drag them out of position.
    That said i thought Boro’s MOTM yesterday was Barry Robson. I say this nearly every week but anyone who has doubts about his commitment as he is leaving should watch this game. He was simply outstanding and ran himself into the ground and produced a constant attacking threat. The midfield with Robson and Bailey is most be one of the most powerful in the division.
    All in all a massive and i thought deserved win that sets us up nicely for two home ‘derby’s’ in a week. I just hope we can crack this home form that’s going to derail are promotion charge if it keeps on.
    UTB!!!

  9. Hi. Nice result for the lads, and as usual good reading on here.
    If Pompy are liquidated in the coming week AV, and we lose the points that we gained yesterday, would it make sense that Rhys’s red also disappears? That’s all thanks, I’m a reader rather than a poster… Keep up the good work and Jarkko, your a ledge!
    **AV writes: If Pompey go under all their games will be expunged from the table. We will lose four points – as will Cardiff and Leeds. West Ham will lose six, Birmingham and Reading three. Southampton have only played them once and will only lose one I think.

  10. We now need to turn three wins out of four into five out of six, it’s important to get some points in the bank before the tough games looming on the horizon

  11. We who remember 1986 will feel for those fans. For the sake of our 3pts and those whom Fratton Park is a shrine I wish Pompey the best and hope they survive.

  12. I don’t see the loss of Williams as a problem. With his fragility, I’m surprised he has played so much. A break will undoubtedly be beneficial for him.
    Hammill looks to be settling in and contributing quickly. More importantly, Bailey is back and making the MF much more stable and TM seems to be looking for Thomson to establish himself (finally). The defence can cope without Rhys.
    All in all, I see the ‘silver lining’ in Williams’ sending off.

  13. Thoughts about a good, battling win in my Boro Banter piece.
    But the talk of the Away End – or at least the bit I was in – at half-time on Saturday was that by the time of the Leeds game, Boro would have secured not just Jonjo Shelvey but also Spurs misfit David Bentley on loan.
    As has been debated above, the Shelvey one just won’t go away but Bentley was a new one on me.
    Whevs – need to follow up Saturday’s win with another against Barnsley tomorrow.

  14. I agree with Nikeboro that missing a midweek match wont do Rolls Rhys any harm. He might also reflect on the benefits of not diving in or going to the floor as he continues to progress though it is very difficult for those in the positions he plays, a bit of niggle in the make up is necessary.
    Keane, Vieira, Ince all had that bit of bite. Even the passers like Alonso and Scholes have an edge to their game. Not forgetting our very own Ginga Ninjas in Bails and Robbo.
    A final word om Pompey, like many I hope they can survive, you dont want to see any club going under.
    It shows the perils of football finances with HMRC wanting to end the privileges football has over its debts. It is tricky being a tax payer saying everyone should be treated the same, it is disgraceful that if a club goes in to administration the football debts are dealt with first.
    It seems wrong that football protects its own whilst small local companies get little or nothing. The problems appears to be that if they treated football debts like everything else all money owed to other clubs would disappear and it would be a domino effect – AV, have I got it right? – with other clubs following.
    On to Barnsley next and it is about time a Boro player scored against an old club so it is up to Hammill to open his account.

  15. Hard fought but excellent 3 points. With Bails back the future looks a lot more rosy than a few weeks ago.
    I still think that we have massively overachived this season well past the point any of us could have anticipated. The interesting bit is now that Bails is back and looked assured, Robbo is probably even more determined than ever, Hines looks the part alongside Bates, Hammill injects an extra dimension to our game plan and the Juke is putting in shift after shift allied to the emergence of Main things could take an upward curve in the form table similar to the end of last season.
    If we make the play-offs that’s as much as the most optimistic of us would have hoped for back in August. If we strengthen with another couple of loans then it could get interesting.
    We must enforce ourselves against Barnsley and take another three points to keep the momentum going and also start banging a few goals in to improve the Goal Difference column, +10 could mean in or out of the final play off position.
    This League is really living up to its reputation. We beat Cardiff a few weeks ago and looked assured, then we crash and burn for a month and Cardiff are looking down at us and going to Wembley. Now Cardiff are dropping points and we are looking down at them again, crazy and nail biting stuff.
    On a final and more important word I hope that Pompey fans can find a White Knight to rescue their Damsel in distress. They have had their fill of false dawns and unrequited love.

  16. Not wishing to be too controversial, but apart from some limited sympathy for the fans, I have absolutely no sympathy for the management and owners of Portsmouth. Why?
    Here you have a club that has been in serious financial difficulty for some time. And yet, have they made any effort to cut costs? To try and rationalise their wage structure? No. Pompey deliberately and calculatingly named a miniscule squad for this season. They did this in the full knowledge, and seemingly with the intention, of pleading poverty to the league and perhaps ending up in a situation where they would not be able to field enough players to fill the team/bench – therefore forcing the league to help them out. Look at the squad they have:
    Ashdown – PL experienced keeper
    Rocha – PL experienced, not cheap defender
    Ben Haim – as above
    Mokoena – as above
    Lawrence – another PL wages experienced player
    Mullins – as above
    Halford – as above
    Kitson – not going to be cheap in terms of wages
    Kanu, Etuhu, Mwaruwari, Varney – all the same.
    In short, they have assembled a squad of experienced players, many of whom with extensive PL experience, on (probably) above average Championship wages. The owners and managers took a calculated gamble that this would work out and, should they get injuries, that they could plead poverty and get emergency loans (probably more PL experienced players) to plug gaps.
    That gamble backfired (predictably) and now they find themselves in even worse trouble. The reason I have little sympathy is because many other clubs, including our own, made extensive efforts to cut costs, reduce our cost base and squad size and experience – and Portsmouth made basically no effort to do that.
    If finances at Boro were as bad as they were there, do you think Steve Gibson would be letting Mogga line up with a squad of predominantly Arca/Digard/Robson types with the wages to match? No, we would be out there with only our academy kids, and everyone would be trying to save the club.
    Portsmouth could have done just that. They could have moved on a lot of these players, replaced them with younger, cheaper alternatives, or even youth players. But they didn’t. They chose not to do that, and tried to basically cheat the system again, knowing that should they go back into Administration that most of the debts will be written off or can be negotiated significantly.
    The fans deserve much better, of course they do. But perhaps for them, liquidation would be best? To start again, away from all of the chancers and dodgy characters, and to get their club back. Because there aren’t many sensible, trustworthy businessmen who will be queuing up to take on the basket case that is Portsmouth FC.

  17. So another decent away win keeps Boro firmly in the playoffs – question is, can we follow it up with some home victories this week?
    As for the plight of Pompey, former player David James on the BBC yesterday seemed to have inside knowledge to suggest that they would be able to complete the season.
    So we probably need not worry ourselves about the recalculation of points expunged at the top. (something that would have benefited Blackpool the most after losing and drawing against them)
    Though, Ian Gill made an interesting point about the ring-fencing of owed monies within the football community – Why is this legally allowed? It sounds suspect at best.
    As for the question posed that – if all clubs decided to default on their debts to other clubs – what would happen?
    I suspect that most of the football debt has gone on wages and agents fees and compensation to sacked managers, which has since made it’s way into companies providing over-priced boys toys and over-priced properties at ‘trendy’ holiday destinations. i.e. the money from the debts has long gone out of the football world.
    Still, maybe Pompey will find a Greek shipping magnate to blow his unpaid taxes on another vanity project.

  18. ‘What’s that coming over the hill? Is it the tax man, is it the tax man?’
    Ouch, much as I smiled at the chant it felt wrong. Clearly some of us have short memories. Ultimately Pompey’s plight is a cautionary tale for those seeking a foreign white-knight to take over from Stevie G and validates the need for prudent housekeeping, no matter how painful.
    The match was, as you described, a feisty affair with the ref not helping matters. Messrs Bailey and Robson positively thrived in their roles as pantomime villians while I watched Hammill’s contribution with interest. Sometimes too eager to impress, there were a few over-hit passes, shots and corners however he drew a finger-tip save from a free-kick and had foresight to pull the ball back to Emnes when his own shot had been saved. I think he will be a very useful addition to the squad.
    Looking forward to Tuesday.

  19. I was always confident about collecting three points off Pompey and very happy when the third goal went in.
    What I am a little concerned about is the way Wolves are imploding, not concerned for them but I read that they can recall Andy Hammill after 28 days and I have a feeling if a new manager comes in that could happen.
    Mogga’s actually come out in the open about Shelvey (understand why he was reluctant to before obviously). If we could tie him down to a loan and nearly everybody now being fit, I feel we have a good chance of automatic promotion still.

  20. More than happy with the three points from Portsmouth.
    I’m mystified as to why as a Boro fan I should be concerned they might go under. In ’86 no-one in the wider football ‘community’ gave a monkey’s if we’d disappeared. Darlo didn’t want to know and Hartlepool, if memory serves, had to have their financial arm twisted to accomodate us.
    The FA actively wanted us out, so make an example of us so that other clubs wouldn’t go bust. Twenty years of clubs in financial crisis’ tells us as much about the FA as we’ll ever need to know. No, I don’t care if Darlo go to the wall either.
    If the Portsmouth (and Darlo) fans want a club to support, their best bet would be to look to AFC Wimbledon as the way forward. Let them both go to the wall – hopefully the Revenue will force a few more clubs to follow. If that involves a few Prem Clubs, all the better.
    I’m particularly tickled by Blackburn’s plight. Jack Walker buys them the league, then leaves the club in Trust for the fans. The Trust betrays the fans and sells out to the current owners and now the fans want to establish a new Trust so that it can’t happen again. Presumably until somebody else comes in with empty promises of oodles of cash. There was a similar situation at Notts County when Sven was there.
    Thank the Lord for Steve Gibson.
    What is making the Prem uncompetitive is not the amount of money (or not) clubs have, it’s the way the bigger clubs have manipulated FIFA to change the rules in their favour. Reducing the number of subs in a game will make the league far more competitive than any other scheme.
    Great to have Bailey back. Bentley we should avoid, his belied in his ability far outstrips his talent and his salary our financial situation.
    **AV writes: My Big Picture column tomorrow touches on some of these issues.

  21. I think there will be a few goals scored in the Barnsley game. They will have a go and try to play the game the right way, How about 4-3 Boro?
    Also after seeing a few Championship games recently, I think we’re into that part of the season where a lot of players are getting tired so I hope Mogga thinks about keeping some players fresh for the run in. Some of the kids may help off the bench
    Saw L,Williams playing for England U.19 other night. Hard to guage. He played in the hole, behind strikers, sometimes didnt look interested then would take up good positions and pose a danger. Maybe another Mat Le Tissier. That would be nice

  22. I think, gt, that if L Williams was another Matt LeTissier, he would already be good enough to have terrorised a few Championship defences and scored a number of memorable goals by now. He would be a talent that people would happily pay their season ticket monies to watch. Apparently he was one of the young Xavi’s heroes.
    Senator, my friend knew Matt LeTissier. Senator, I’ve seen Matt LeTissier play. Senator, L Williams is no Matt LeTissier.
    (He might still be a good player, though…)

  23. Great result at Pompey. We are back in and must start to win home matches now. Halifaxp – I predict a Boro win usually, so I’ve been more accurate recently than normally. But hope for a 4-1 victory tonight.
    Did you see the first touch of Emnes, when he received a very long ball at Porstmouth? Really awesome – that incident was well worth watching the highlights at Boro+, alone. Perhaps he is our “Van Persie” – certainly these two Dutchmen have been on fire this season. I heard someone saying that Emnes’ tally is the best
    since a certain Viduka.
    Looking forward to the match tonight. Up the Boro!

  24. Hammill. I think he will be as good as Lukas the Juke as a signing. If we got Thommo playing up to his normal level, Robson and Bailey keep fit, we will finish the season strongly.
    And this is without mentioning the centre backs of Hines and Bates. Also Steele has been superb recently – no-one has been calling for a loan goalkeeper recently.
    So I love #mogganaut. AV, you saw an omen on the way back from Portsmouth, didn’t you? This must be our season. Enjoy the ride, mates. Up the Boro!

  25. Croydonboro –
    I take your point about other clubs but be it Darlo, Pompey or Accrington Stanley I feel sorry for the fans.
    At the core must be the governance of the clubs. An interesting point is that when Gibbo was bringing in the superstars some fans of other clubs were a bit snooty about us being above ourselves.
    After our 3-3 draw with Derby in the match where we were 3-0 up and they didnt throw the ball out when Stampy was injured there was a phone in on local radio. The general view was they didnt care and it served us right. Several callers referred to ‘big money’ Boro, even a Leicester fan berated us adding Robson was from ManU so we deserved nothing.
    I dont think we would lie awake worrying about Pompey but I think none of us want them to disappear. Same goes for Darlo though I am more concerned because they are a local club. Maybe it is based on not wanting us to go out of existence. Sending them £100 each is a different matter.

  26. Dormo –
    I saw LeTiss at Williams age and he was very green. I was thinking watching the young lad there was something in his game and LeTiss came up. I will say this , young Luke is very astute and makes good runs into dangerous areas. You cant teach football intelligence, I just hope the coaches encourage him to play with no fear

  27. Another great win away from home. Hoping we can now get some results at home and finish off strong.
    The only unnerving fact about this season is we have not done very well against the teams around us and that needs to change if we want to get right up there. Points against the teams around us will have to come.
    Happy Bailey came back as good as ever. I thought he would need a few games to get going again.
    As always with teams going to the wall its the fans that are left behind to pick up the pieces the rest dont care. Hope they can find somebody local that has the money and cares about the club and its fans to get them going again.
    Agree that they should have managed things better but those people are not there any more, just the fans the players and the tea lady .Very sad.

  28. Croydonboro –
    Maybe your interpretation of the reaction to Boro’s plight in the mid-eighties is spot on, but if we were to take the same attitude to the plight of other clubs, then we are sinking to the lowest common denominator, rather than rising above what others’ opinions and thoughts about Boro have been (or still may be!). I’ve always considered the Boro fans to be better than that.
    AV touched on it and several others have commented around it as well,that there is really a difference between the fans of clubs in peril and the johnny come latelelys who destroy the clubs for the sake of their own egoes and bank accounts.
    We all need other clubs to survive and to be supported. Without the banter and rivalry from fans of other clubs there really wouldn’t be a lot of point in having competitive professional football. And, after all, it is the fans who shell out their hard-earned pounds week in and week out but who ultimately suffer the most because of the actions of (as AV called them) “The Suits”.
    There are many fans of other teams out there that have posted and commented kindly over the years about the Boro, the chairman we have, the academy we have and so on.
    It might be fun to watch other teams struggle and squirm, but only to a point. And I think that the degree of pleasure grows with the perceived and overly publicised “size” of a club. So, (except for maybe Manchester United or Chelsea or Liverpool) I would find it sad if a long standing club had to go to the wall.
    No matter how hard-nosed or unsympathetic sections of Pompey’s fan-base might be, I hope they will continue to have their local team to support.

  29. Heard talk of a Glasgow Rangers v Pompey friendly match to raise funds. Who for? I bet the small businesses in trouble wont get anything out of it, HMRC will certainly be interested in the proceeds.
    Sounds like a chance for fans to be taken to the cleaners again.

  30. I hope Pompey survive for all the same reasons that others have already stated. In fact I’m sure they will, its just a case of in which form. Will it be as Portsmouth FC in League 1 or AFC Portsmouth in the ‘Green Triangle South Coast’ league.
    I’m looking forward to a mighty win tonight as the mogganaut builds up a head of steam.

  31. Powmill –
    My position is not that I wish any club’s supporters any ill. Rather that the best way for those supporter’s to rid themselves of the malign influence of parasitic owners/takeover merchants, is to re-establish themselves as a new club and put in such measures/checks/balances into the club’s constitution that such rapacity could not occur again.
    My understanding that the supporters of AFC Wimbledon are having a ball and have been since they first kicked off. Also the fans consider themselves to be the true protectors of the Wimbledon tradition which seems reasonable. Thus they can claim to have won the FA cup in their history and I for one wouldn’t quibble with that. (Tho’ I would protest if MK Dons claimed to).
    Who would argue if a new Portsmouth arose and insisted on the ‘old’ Portsmouth’s history and medals? After all, the current MIddlesbrough FC’s history technically stops at 1986 when the new club was formed. Imagine if we couldn’t consider the history of Boro prior to ’86 as ours? No Clough, Mannion, Hardwick et al.
    Imagine Wolves not being able to claim any history to Jack Hayward?
    If Darlo fans established a new club for themselves and applied for the lowest tier of football, they will not be tremendously worse off than they are now – and if the new club took all the fans with them, then their attendances and therefore revenue should see them quickly rise through the leagues.
    Promotion seasons, as every Boro fan can attest, are far more enjoyable than relegation ones.
    Here’s to three points tonight, see you all @Borolive

  32. Powmill –
    I wrote the following post earlier but it sounded a bit pompous and decided not to post. After reading your great post after CroydonBoro however, I decided to revisit that decision in support of your own stance on the matter:
    From a social cohesion and cultural perspective, it would be sad if the likes of Portsmouth went bust. The main losers would be the local communities. Loss of tribal focus and uniting behind a relatively benign competitive cause is part of what holds our society together.
    Football has played its part in that role for well over a hundred years in this country and it’s offensive to those who see and value that function being undermined and destroyed by the suits who see it as something to be exploited for personal gain and put that above all else. People like Murdoch and Scudamore – just as random examples!
    That’s a form of social irresponsibility that those who genuinely care for their communities wouldn’t exhibit. Those who see communities solely as markets to be exploited and drained are, to my way of thinking at least, contemptible, or if you prefer British understatement, regrettable in their attitude.
    While I’ve been a critic of the effectiveness of Steve Gibson’s methods/ actions in the past, I rarely, if ever, criticised his intent towards MFC/ Boro. In that sense, Boro supporters are fortunate.
    There’s not a lot wrong with Portsmouth football club, outside of the financial mess and I hope, for the community’s sake they survive as Boro did.

  33. By comparison with Pompey, I have much less sympathy with Glasgow Rangers predicament because of their anti-competitive, destructive domination, with Celtic, of the Scottish League.
    Additionally however, those two clubs have exploited and lived off one of the most pernicious corrosive forces in our society and the majority of their respective supporters would appear to have been happy to” follow , follow” – to quote from one of their chants. I therefore feel considerably less sorry for the demise of a source of social friction rather than one that’s cohesive.
    It’s not too dramatic to draw comparisons with corrupt regimes elsewhere that many fair- minded people would prefer to see opposed and toppled in the interests of a fairer, more just and tolerant society.
    I do realise that the disappearance of a football club doesn’t remove the elements of religious intolerance and hatred rom society, but it does remove a focus, a public banner under which such bigotry can regularly unite and be reinforced.

  34. Lets hope Mogga sends the team out to stamp their authority on the game rather than nullify the opposition first.

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