BE OUR GUEST: Pompey and Proud. Bring on the ritual slaughter at St Marys...
By John Lish
Sunday 18 Mar 2012 10:32:00
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Portsmouth Football Club are cheats.

They spent beyond their means and must be punished. An example must be made of Pompey. Who is laughing now? This and more is being said by football supporters up and down the country.

Even the third Fans Reunited day for this coming Saturday game against Bristol City hasn’t gained the sympathy that Brighton and Plymouth received during the previous two Fans Reunited days. Pompey are just feckless repeat offenders who deserve no sympathy are they not?

Well for those of us who know a little differently, this caricature is simplistic and cruel. Yet it doesn’t matter for the narrative being spun by the media and other fans. The symptoms are undeniable; Pompey overspent and couldn’t maintain that spending without their sugar daddy. Then they did it again. Taking their clues from this basic truth without thought to context or possibly their own club’s hypocrisy, Pompey have become a scapegoat for football ills.


The history of the scapegoat goes back to the tribes of Israel wandering in the wilderness. A goat was chosen to represent the sins of the tribe and casted out to perish (the scapegoat) while another goat was chosen to be slaughtered and offered as a sacrifice to Yahweh on the Day of Atonement.

Today Portsmouth Football Club has been chosen to represent the sins of the football tribe and must be cast out as a result. For Pompey to fulfil this role properly there can only be one place for our banishment – St Marys. The club must in the eyes of football tribalism be humiliated and relegated on April 7th to carry our sins into League One.

I say, bring it on. Let us atone for our sins at St Marys. Let us embrace our role as the scapegoat and be relegated. Let us fulfil our destiny and allow the rest of football to believe that we have paid for chasing the dream as Peter Ridsdale might have described it. Let them rejoice in our suffering and gloat on the airwaves. Let there be tears filmed that afternoon amongst the defiant supporters we’ll take to the neighbours. Let there be a line drawn by the righteous seeing ‘justice’ done. 

Let us look again at those rituals for the Day of Atonement. Two goats are selected. The scapegoat is set free and given control of its destiny whilst the other goat is sacrificed for the glory of Yahweh. For what is the god of football other than chasing the greed of the Premier League. For if Pompey are the scapegoat of football, wouldn’t it be appropriate that our neighbours are the sacrificial offering to Mammon?

Meanwhile our own exodus from the Championship may lead to several years of wandering but the Tribe of Pompey has the ability to insist on a new covenant for Portsmouth Football Club. A covenant built on self-reliance and discipline, rooted in the community and fostering that Pompey spirit.

From Mount Sinai, I can see Canaan (the promised land) but it isn’t the Premier League with its false idols. It is a club built on the values and passion of the fans. Through hard work and discipline, we can build a club to be proud of. So bring on the pain and humiliation of relegation for as a certain Israeli said once “you can never break our spirit”.

The views of John Lish are his own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial view of


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