Fratton faithful’s support at odds with on-line groans

Guy Whittingham
Guy Whittingham
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Apparently, Pompey fans are already calling for Guy Whittingham’s head.

Boos filled Fratton Park as the biggest gate League Two had seen, in its current guise, were left frustrated by the 4-1 defeat to Oxford.

Well, actually, national reports of the reaction to the opening-day loss were greatly exaggerated.

Not a single cat call was heard in earshot of the press box after the loss to the U’s.

Nor was there any haranguing of Pompey’s manager or coaching team.

A muted response to the full-time whistle? Definitely. Fans leaving their seats with 15 minutes left? For sure.

But cries for Whittingham to get the boot? Absolutely not. Not from the Fratton faithful, anyway.

There has incredibly, however, been online mumblings of discontent after Pompey’s first three results.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that’s the case, though, with the demands for instant success in the modern football world.

And, sadly, we aren’t shocked to see the flak flying around on social networks and messageboards days into the new campaign.

That doesn’t mean we have to endorse or accept that behaviour, though.

With everyone afforded a voice, but not necessarily a clear or visible identity, keyboard warriors are rampant on Twitter.

Pompey’s promising teenagers, Jed Wallace and Dan Butler, have been two of their targets.

The pair will be the first to admit their form hasn’t been what they would have hoped for in the first throes of the season.

But some of the vitriol aimed in their direction has been nothing short of shameful.

Wallace has now indicated he’s going to step back from interacting with the Pompey online community.

That’s the sad result of a useful platform for engaging with supporters being abused. Those posts and tweets doubting Whittingham two league games into the campaign are treated more with bemusement.

Every single boss I’ve known in a professional capacity has been branded ‘tactically naive’ at some stage.

This is usually by people who have honed their knowledge of the game playing Football Manager rather than operating on a training pitch.

Well, Whittingham can now add himself to that long list after having the temerity to chase a result with 10 men against Oxford.

The feeling is virtually all fans in the same position would have twisted rather than stuck with the Blues 2-1 down and without Johnny Ertl at home against the U’s.

The fact the game went away from Pompey on that occasion saw some attempt to tar Whittingham with that tired, old brush.

There was more of the same at Accrington at the weekend, too.

That was after a narrow Capital One Cup defeat to a Championship side was painted as another cause for grumbles in some quarters.

Sure, not bagging three points from a winning position was frustrating on Saturday.

On another day, however, Pompey would have won at a canter after carving out 27 (yes, really 27) shots on goal.

The real fear would have been if the creativity, which was clearly evident at the Crown Ground, was absent.

An inauspicious start is manna from heaven for the prophets of doom when it comes to Pompey’s fan-owned era.

You can’t help but wonder about the thinking behind some supporters you feel would love to see it all go belly up just for the chance to say ‘I told you so’.

But scratch beneath the opening three results and there is enough evidence on the pitch to suggest they won’t get their way.