Guest Piece by @jackuzisps
Coming towards the end of the season, it's a time for reflection. It's been an interesting season for fans, and not necessarily for good reasons. We've had a number of racism occurrences, some horrendous European away stories, and even fans at Wembley fighting themselves. But, for every person that gives this football a culture a bad name, there's thousands that give it a good one, and at this time in the season, it feels like a good time to talk about that.
I am not a spurs fan, which I apologise for in advance. But having heard about the 1882 setup that you've got going (I've even been to one myself), I think a mutual respect is always built between sets of supporters who follow the game in the right way. That is, religiously.
Being a Pompey fan, the stats suggest that this should have been the most depressing season in modern history. However, for reasons I am about to go in to, it has been the most satisfying. It's during these types of seasons that you realise why you really love it, and why all the 4am starts the away schedule can throw at you are all worth it, just for that split second euphoria of a meaningful goal.
So why, with the worst losing streak since the war, and facing back to back relegations, has this season been what has kept my faith in football? Because, in the same way that the 1882 movement has created more excitement for the right type of spurs fans than a number of games at White Hart Lane put together this season, it's about what's done off the pitch that matters. To me, football isn't about the amount of away goals per season, or the average pass percentage of some unknown Spanish midfielder; it's about how many times you sang for 90 minutes, how many times you went away and embarrassed the home fans, and how many times the score didn't matter, because the proper battle was won in the stands. Speaking as someone who has now experienced three relegations in four years, I honestly believe that part of the magic that I fell in love with was lost in the Premiership, by a number of casual fans (and owners, which is another point entirely) getting involved for the wrong reasons.
This is not plea for sympathy, nor is it a 'look how good our fans are' shout. It's more of general rejection of the fair weather supporters that flood the premier league today. Yes they 'pay good money' and yes they have just as much right to boo as they do to watch a good performance. But what does that actually help? The spirit of the 1882 movement is what the Premiership needs. An injection of passion, of escapism. The reason everyone fell in love with the game in the first place. And that reason wasn't because you reached fourth place over Arsenal, it wasn't because you saw a particular bit of skill or a particular finish. It was because you felt part of something, part of something that seemed like it could never be crushed. So take that to every game, and make sure you sing for your shirt, because any true rivalry has never really been about what happens on the pitch.
To me, football is this thing about being part of something that is actually worth remembering in years to come. Because when you look back on it, are you going to be someone who remembers being disgusted at the exact scoreline of a random league game, or are you going to be someone who remembers backing your side the whole way and enjoying every second? I know what I'd rather be. And anyway, we're still singing 'Que sera sera' down at Fratton park. It's just these days, 'We're going to Wembley' is replaced with 'We're going to Accrington Stanley'.
So, from a happy Pompey fan to a load of (hopefully) loyal spurs fans: don't worry about the race for fourth place. Because to anyone that properly understands, you've already won.