Midway through a troubled season, a confused Steve Morgan unburdens his soul
Be careful what you wish for.
As a Portsmouth season-ticket holder, I feel well-qualified to comment.
I tap this out in the second week of January, and the slow death to which we seem condemned has almost exactly five months to play out.
Although I havenÃ¢ÂÂt yet abandoned hope of some miraculous salvation, IÃ¢ÂÂm reduced to hunting for omens, like finding the face of Jesus when cutting into a piece of fruit.
Everything points to our relegation, less than two years since we enjoyed the best day of our sporting lives with FA Cup success.
A little over a year ago we had no fewer than four current England internationals on our books.
Without wanting to call his credentials into account, Michael Brown isnÃ¢ÂÂt exactly what anybody at Fratton Park had in mind as the must-have midfield accessory for 2009/10.
James, Campbell & Johnson celebrate FA Cup success
Aha, you cry, this is nobodyÃ¢ÂÂs fault but our own.
Paying huge wages, on crowds of 20,000 a week, in a stadium resembling nothing so much as a museum exhibit entitled 'how football grounds used to be': what were you thinking of?
Valid questions, granted. But people, you canÃ¢ÂÂt have it both ways.
When King Harry RedknappÃ¢ÂÂs court was in session, people couldnÃ¢ÂÂt get enough of us.
Urchins at the top table with unwashed hands and grubby necks, using the soup spoon for dessert and what-not, we were cheered to the rafters for muscling our way into the Premier League party. Good old Ã¢ÂÂArry.
Well, "Good old 'Arry" isnÃ¢ÂÂt a phrase you hear often at Fratton Park these days Ã¢ÂÂ his undue haste off a ship that hadnÃ¢ÂÂt even started sinking when he jumped wonÃ¢ÂÂt be forgotten.
While the Pompey tribute act he has assembled at Spurs is lauded, how joyfully the press have further trashed the spiritual home he has so shamelessly pilfered from.
"Meet you up the Lane, yeah?"
One respected football writer Ã¢ÂÂ I wonÃ¢ÂÂt embarrass him here Ã¢ÂÂ suggested last week that what we had done with our finances was no better than diving, or drug cheating.
YouÃ¢ÂÂve got to love the moral high ground people take (as well as wondering why Liverpool and Manchester UnitedÃ¢ÂÂs debts are never the subject of quite so much disgust).
So, we maxed out on the plastic Ã¢ÂÂ admittedly a bad move with a global recession round the corner Ã¢ÂÂ and after living the dream, weÃ¢ÂÂre locked in what seems like a slow-motion car crash.
Tongues clucked at us by all and sundry, weÃ¢ÂÂre roundly mocked from pillar to post.
Someone even made a gag about us on Radio 4 the other day. EveryoneÃ¢ÂÂs a comedian when youÃ¢ÂÂre down and out.
DonÃ¢ÂÂt get me wrong, itÃ¢ÂÂs not that I crave sympathy. IÃ¢ÂÂve seen us win the FA Cup, after all, something I can say with a fair degree of certainty that fans of about 88 clubs will never live to see.
IÃ¢ÂÂve also seen us play in every division already, so if we disappear down the leagues, que sera sera.
I can take the shame and I can do it without blubbing like a Geordie.
What I canÃ¢ÂÂt stand is the whipping-boy status, so indicative of the easy targets in football that miss the wider picture. The little guy always gets the grief.
For what itÃ¢ÂÂs worth, I donÃ¢ÂÂt think our fall from grace is a straightforward matter of over-spending, either.
The figures just donÃ¢ÂÂt seem to stack up. And then thereÃ¢ÂÂs the labyrinthine nature of the ownership of Portsmouth, which makes about as much sense as a Dan Brown novel.
IÃ¢ÂÂve neither the time nor the brainpower to unravel that.
Board rigid: Exactly who owns Pompey?
However, I think weÃ¢ÂÂre quite entitled to ask where all the money has gone, much as I think the Premier League ought to give up making money hand over fist for five sodding minutes to take a long look at how it regulates those who govern its occupants.
At present, Pompey remind me of Tony in that brilliant final scene of The Sopranos, surrounded by a circling mob, all of whom seem to have some interest in comeuppance.
That hurts. All I ever wanted to do was watch my football team Ã¢ÂÂ I didnÃ¢ÂÂt want to have a degree in politics to be able to understand it.
But what upsets me most is that those currently on the playing staff Ã¢ÂÂ a team, incidentally, with which I feel far more affinity than the Cup winners Ã¢ÂÂ are suffering for the sins of others.
I feel sorry for the deposed Paul Hart, more of a man than the self-serving Redknapp could ever hope to be.
I feel sorry for Jamie OÃ¢ÂÂHara, Younes Kaboul and Frederic Piquionne, because theyÃ¢ÂÂre giving every ounce of effort they have and are rewarded with three late monthly salaries.
Nobody wants us to stay up and weÃ¢ÂÂll probably go down, but if we do, weÃ¢ÂÂll do it loudly and weÃ¢ÂÂll do it with dignity.
We wonÃ¢ÂÂt allow ourselves to be embarrassed by the deeds of others, or let our shoulders droop because of what others say about us.
The integrity of the fans is one asset of which we canÃ¢ÂÂt be stripped.
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