Up until the age of 25, I didn’t really ‘get’ football.
I’d watch the odd game on TV and wonder why everyone was so passionate about a group of people kicking a ball around.
I never understood why fans were spending lots of money travelling around the country and buying random items of merchandise, getting football related tattoos and then crying on live TV when their team lost.
My questions and criticisms were endless until I became a ‘Pompey Fan’.
For me personally, being a Pompey fan is so much more than just supporting a sports team. It’s introduced me to a large friend network on social media, who I affectionately refer to as my ‘Pompey Family’.
I also have a new hobby, the opportunity to write about my Pompey views. This time however, instead of it being all about my thoughts, I’ve directed a question to my Twitter followers and asked “What does Pompey mean to you.”
It’s clear from the responses I’ve received that Pompey is part of a family tradition and family bonding activity.
Oliver Ferguson Villalobos from Cambridge said “Supporting Portsmouth has given me something in common with my dad (as he lives in Portsmouth and I don’t) so we can relate” he added “We deal with the club’s highs and lows together and it gives me the opportunity to feel at home when I visit”.
Another fan who has special family memories forged from supporting Pompey is Ali (@diaryofadetour) who stated that “For me and my late Dad, supporting Pompey was our special thing”.
Ali shared her memories with me advising that she attended matches with her dad for over 40 years until he sadly died two years ago. Her fondest memory being the trip to Wembley for the FA Cup final in 2008 “I think we were the last to leave our seats”. Ali hopes that her son has the same enthusiasm and is still going to attend with her for many years to come”
Feeling Close to Home
I’m amazed at the number of fans who support Pompey from further afield and feeling close to home is a reason for a lot of Pompey fans as to why the club means a lot to them.
Reece Finnigan (@Reecejf95) advised that “Living away from home you realise how unique our island culture is sometimes. I used to get really homesick living in York”.
Reece was lucky enough to have a Pompey game near to him though “When 2000 Pompey fans turned up when we played them it was like home had come up to see me. Used it to get me through.”
Rob Vaughan (@RobVaughan18) added that “Living half way up the Country, Pompey games are my link to home”.
Another follower, G (@fentonpompey) moved to “the other side of the planet” (Australia). “The Pompey games and family help me feel connected to what I left, the fan base back home and in Australia are both great.”
Coping with Health Problems
Katie (@PFCKatie) shared “the last few years have been incredibly difficult, struggling with depression and mental health in general.” Portsmouth helped Katie during these times, “For those 90 minutes, nothing else matters, you just forget about all your troubles and the only thing that matters is Pompey.”
@missfrattonend also shared a very personal account of how Pompey has helped her. Miss Jackson’s daughter suffered a brain injury during her birth and is severely disabled due to this. “It might be hard for some to understand given that Pompey like to do things the hard way but I actually find my time at home games (and the odd away game) as a mini respite and distraction from my day to day life”. Miss Jackson’s daughter has also attended a few home games so that they can “share the experience with her”.
I feel Miss Jackson’s final hashtag sums up how we all feel about Pompey – #itsmorethanagame
Thank you to all of my followers who have kindly shared their stories with us and allowed me to publish them.
Photo: Andrew Hurdle