From The 'Darke' Side
Ian Darke

Added on 10 February 2014

Our first blog contribution comes from Ian Darke, who is a Football commentator for BT Sport and PST Shareholder.

“From The Darke Side”

Despite all the heartaches and agonies of recent seasons, Pompey is a special club which inspires a quite astounding level of loyalty from its supporters.    I can't think of too many others clubs who would attract 15,000 crowds to see a team struggling towards the bottom of League Two.  Would this have happened in the days when the club was being so disastrously mismanaged with a financial plan seemingly dreamed up by Evil Knievel?


The difference now is that the fans know the club is at last in the hands of people who love it as much as they do.  They remind me of loving relatives trying to nurse a sick relative back to health and hoping for some better news soon.  The Fratton End has seen it all and survives on stoicism and gallows humour, while always hoping Pompey's comeback concert will start soon.

Many - like me and my two sons - have invested to be part of what we hope will be a brighter future in which the good name of Portsmouth FC can be restored throughout the football world.  Nobody has ever pretended this was going to be achieved with a magic wand.  Rebuilding Pompey is a little like trying to do a u-turn in a cul-de-sac while driving a juggernaut.  Events on the pitch this season have proved the point, as the team have struggled to come to terms with the very different demands of League Two.  But at least at the time of writing there have been one or two signs of the rot being stopped. Manager Richie Barker has concentrated on ending the depressing habit of conceding two goals in every game.  You don't win many doing that.

For his next trick, the boss will hope to add extra creativity and firepower without losing any of the new found resilience.  Expectations were always way too high at the start of this season.  This was always going to be a transitional year of steadying the ship - and that can still be achieved.  Money remains tight, which is why the Supporters Trust still need your help in getting Pompey moving the right way. It helps to be philosophical.

I am old enough to remember the dark days of the mid 1970's when Pompey last slipped into the basement.  But I also remember the day we started the long climb back as one of the most emotional footballing days ever.  Eight thousand Pompey fans celebrated on the pitch at Northampton and hooted their horns all the way back down the M1 after a 2-0 win  to earn promotion.  The cliché about a journey of a thousand miles starting with a single step is true.

I believe Pompey took that first step when the Supporters Trust won control of the club. They deserve the thanks and continuing support of all of us who want to see Pompey climb back through the divisions.  And if, as seems likely, that takes a few years....well, Pompey's fans will be there with them every step of the way. 

Sport runs in cycles.   Even if it does not seem like it right now, Pompey will be back

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