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Back on top
TENSION mounts this week as the full impact of a sinking ship will hit Southampton.
That’s right, Pompey are coming to town.
Our friends down the road are enjoying something of a minirevival on the pitch at the moment, winning against Hull and Birmingham.
From their point of view (and that of Hampshire’s blue line) that’s well timed as a few weeks ago the possibility of them being relegated at St. Mary’s was very real.
Who is laughing now, indeed?
No money, hardly any players and quite possibly no club in a few months makes for difficult reading if you’re from the PO post-code area.
Now, very few people would ever actively seek for a football club go out of business but I must confess to having very little sympathy with Pompey fans as very few seemed willing to question how they bankrolled the success they enjoyed four years ago.
Likewise, I’ve been a bit worried about Saints' cash future, but the news this week that the money loaned by the Liebherr’s has been turned into equity really does mean Saints fans can sleep easy, and, without wanting to tempt fate, if we go up, you’d like to think the Premier League money will mean the £11m annual shortfall will be plugged.
The question I always ask the handful of Pompey fans I know is: Was it worth it?
Would you forego the FA Cup in 2008 and the draw with AC Milan if it meant the last two years hadn’t been marred by two administrations and the prospect of not existing?
I’ve yet to meet a Saints fan who thinks the financial decisions behind our play-off bid in 2007 were worth the administration in 2009, but Pompey reached far higher - and look to be falling far harder.
Now, I try not to gloat – after all, we’ve been there and in football you’re never far from it all blowing up in your face – but it’s hard not to let a wry smile form when “Is this the way to Amarillo” is turned back on the Fratton faithful. All seven of them.
So, as Pompey loom on the horizon and their bubble gets ready to pootle up the M27, I can’t quite decide how to view the game.
Saints have nothing to prove and even a loss wouldn’t really mean much as the league table clearly shows who are top dogs in the south.
It’s not a case of not being bothered, it’s more fact we’ve got bigger fish to fry.
That’s how I approached football pre-2003, as prior to then Pompey were never really on my radar as a Saints fan - for fans around my age, we'd hardly ever played them so it was a bit of a surprise to find out someone really didn't like us.
So it’s nice to see that after years of the world being turned upside down for Saints supporters, things are finally back to how they should be – with us on top once again.