McInnes: Oxford gloom didn’t spoil Blues’ big day

Pompey chairman Iain McInnes, right, holds his head in disbelief as Pompey concede a third, while Jim Smith also looks on Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey chairman Iain McInnes, right, holds his head in disbelief as Pompey concede a third, while Jim Smith also looks on Picture: Robin Jones

Iain McInnes’ enthusiasm was not dampened despite Pompey’s big day ending in a disappointing defeat on Saturday.

The scene was set for a memorable beginning to life as a community-owed club in League Two, with an 18,181 crowd.

Instead, Pompey slumped to a 4-1 defeat to Oxford and had skipper Johnny Ertl sent off.

As Pompey chairman, McInnes was introduced to fans on the Fratton Park pitch alongside former boss Jim Smith before kick-off.

Yet the match didn’t quite unfold as many hoped it would – not that McInnes was feeling too downbeat afterwards.

He said: ‘The day for me was one of expectation.

‘We had a full house, we had one of our old managers in Jim Smith back, we had one of our old adversaries in Oxford to play against, hopes were high.

‘The truth of the matter is this fixture may not have happened at all. The fact it did happen is an achievement in itself.

‘Okay, it didn’t work out quite the way it was supposed to but I think we can take this one on the chin.

‘We played so well in the first 20 minutes that the emotion and the passion from the Fratton crowd was very obvious.

‘And I think by comparison, going 3-1 down there was a distinct dropping in the passion and involvement.

‘But if it does nothing but make people understand that we are in a real battle and it is a marathon and not a sprint then so be it.

‘The majority of the fans will come back because they won’t have been put off by one display.

‘I think the occasion maybe got to us positively against Sheffield United at the end of last season and maybe didn’t get to us positively on Saturday.

‘We were down to 10-men, have a new side and a lot of young players so it’s a difficult thing to deal with. But I am sure Guy Whittingham will deal with it and we’ll stick together on the pitch.

‘One result doesn’t make a season.

‘The truth of the matter is our belief is no less strong in each others’ ability and our support for each other.’