The good, the bad and the winning ugly

By Dan Brett

Pompey’s 1-0 win over Bolton should’ve offered a crumb of confidence to the beleaguered fanbase. However, the cyclone surrounding Kenny Jackett’s tenure continues to swirl. 

Many supporters have seemingly taken a dim view over the “papering over the cracks” victory, with interactions between fans and players after the match showing the fractures between the club and its ‘customers’ is growing. 

In truth, the frustration around Ronan Curtis’ would’ve likely been more aimed towards the manager’s tactics and substitutes – which have been lacking this season – however with Curtis taking to Twitter to air his frustrations about his perceived lack of fan backing, it begs questions over the mentality of the squad. 

Christian Burgess also tweeted his take on the match, calling out his belief at better play during the second half. True as that may be, the frustrations with Jackett-ball have worn thin and narrow home victories against clubs in situations such as Bolton simply aren’t cutting it. 

I do feel sorry for Curtis. The winger – who excited during early months in royal blue – has faded this season as he continues to struggle in the formation which plants him on the wing, but sees him continuously cutting central to make his own luck, given the lack of creativity around him. 

And then there’s the Marquis equation. A striker who proved his goal scoring mettle at Doncaster last season continues to struggle, ostracised in attack and coming deep to move the ball on. He’s the type of forward who will run through walls for the shirt, but needs support (and quality delivery) from wide which has been staggeringly below-par. 

Reading through my Twitter timeline yesterday and you could see same repeat statement: “Jackett doesn’t know his best starting XI”. Whilst all fans will have their own take; Pitman starting, which fan gets a go at centre-half this week, for example, it’s clear this stems from Jackett, the indecision and the lack of a settled state across Pompey’s camp. 

I’d thought the 0-4 against Southampton would’ve been the closing scene for the manager. Despite the ever-infamous home support cheering their side through a humiliating defeat (but improved performance), the silence from the Eisner camp is deafening as the unwavering support, despite sitting narrowly above the relegation zone, poses far more questions than answers. 

Of course, I’ve never felt the club’s owners should use their social media accounts for football purposes. It seldom works unless you’re in a position to offer more background and commentary to add to a quality relationship. Piecemeal nods to unimpressive performances and uninspiring results questions how involved Tornante will be when the going gets tough.  

Commercialising the business, flogging Nike shirts and moving floodlights is one thing and necessary steps to grow the business. But, that’s just half the story. I have full faith in Mark Catlin and his stewardship over the club absolutely cannot be questioned since he took post. 

However, it’s unclear how Michael, Eric and co will respond to a flailing campaign, dissolving relationship between players and fans and, more importantly (seemingly), the vision and direction fans can buy into having heavy-heartedly placed the keys of Fratton Park to the group who promised much, but so far, are delivering (some) of their off-field promises. 

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