If the many promising youngsters we’re seeing emerge into the Pompey team wanted to learn a lesson from Tuesday’s encouraging draw with MK Dons, they could have done so from the crowd.
Was there ever a better demonstration of what fans like to see – and don’t like to see – from a player in the royal blue than the chants directed at Izale McLeod?
Here was a man who remains our top scorer for the season – by some distance; a man who scored 11 goals in half acampaign in what most would admit was a very poor team.
Yet here was a man who got grief from the moment he emerged from the tunnel. Every touch was greeted with boos – every effort at goal with chants that can’t be repeated in this or any other newspaper.
It was harsh, but it wasn’t coming from just a few. It appeared to be the popular view.
The reason, of course, is that McLeod was perceived as a player who, particularly towards the end of his Fratton spell, who didn’t really care about the club and who wasn’t giving 100 per cent.
I’ve no doubt Jermain Defoe, for all the goals he scored in his 11 months at PFC, would get just as hostile as reception were he to tread the Fratton turf again. For the same reason.
There are players who have contributed fewer goals – or less to the cause overall – who will be fondly regarded by the fans, both now and in the future. David Connolly has scored only one goal so far for the Blues, yet has already won a lot of fans.
I hope those younger players take note. They may not be at a top club, but they are at one where commitment counts for an awful lot.