Existence has no meaning without a football team
The football club I’ve supported since childhood looks set to be relegated two seasons on the trot – and I’m absolutely delighted.
I couldn’t be happier, simply because the alternative for Portsmouth was much, much worse. Let me explain for anyone not following this utter debacle.
Pompey are roughly $135 million in debt after a few years of living the dream and now face a winding up petition from the UK taxman in the High Court. A hearing due to be held this coming Monday would probably have sealed the club’s fate. Portsmouth Football Club, established 1898, would no longer exist.
Just sit back and imagine for a second that your football club – of whatever code – was no longer there.
And I’m not talking about it moving interstate or changing name. I mean extinct, like dinosaurs. And All Saints.
How would you feel? What would you do? Non-believers often look at football fans in a sneering, mocking way.
It’s only a game, they say. It doesn’t really matter, they claim.
Well listen up, peanut, it’s not only a game and it does bloody matter.
Supporting a football club gives you a sense of belonging that no citizenship test could ever do. Every weekend thousands of fans will happily man-hug a complete stranger after an 89th minute winner. Lonely men without a friend in the world find common ground with like-minded individuals on internet fan forums.
Fathers and sons (and daughters) bond through their love of a club in a way they otherwise find impossible. I’ll never forget some of the times I’ve spent watching Pompey with my Dad.
That is why football matters, and why for me losing Pompey would have been so heart-breaking.
You can’t just go supporting another club, it would feel wrong, like you were cheating on your true love. Plus you’ve probably spent the past two decades questioning the parentage of that club’s fans and players. But you’d have to fill the football club-sized hole that had been left in your life somehow.
It was a scenario I could barely bring myself to consider.
As of yesterday, however, the future looks a little less bleak for Pompey. The club’s fourth owner of the season, Balram Chainrai, announced his intention to take it into administration on Friday.
By doing that, the winding up order would be suspended immediately, giving the club time to find a new buyer and hopefully emerge much stronger.
The downside is it also triggers an automatic nine point deduction by the Premier League. Given we are already eight points adrift, that means almost certain relegation.
Furthermore, being in administration could see the club hit with a 20 point penalty next season as well, raising the spectre of life in the third tier of English football by 2011.
It’s a punishment I’ll readily accept.
Obviously I’d rather we were playing Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool. But if it means I’ve still got a club to follow, trips to Walsall, Hartlepool and Tranmere will do just fine.
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