Paul Jewell left impressed by Pompey chimes
PAUL Jewell might be savouring three consecutive wins for the first time this season.
But the Town boss still spared a thought for the supporters of Portsmouth who raised the Fratton Park roof before, during and after their side’s 1-0 defeat to Ipswich on Tuesday night.
The South Coast club are due to go into administration by the end of the week – with a points deduction that could see them plunge into the bottom three.
But following a call to arms by the club, fans voiced their support during Tuesday’s defeat and remained singing in the ground for an hour after Michael Chopra’s winner.
Speaking after the impressive Town performance, Jewell said of the Pompey fans: “Supporters are the heartbeat of football clubs and they were brilliant. The players are out there applauding them and I’ll probably go out and join them.
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“Football clubs are about fans, sometimes they get a raw deal and Portsmouth fans have probably had more of a raw deal than most over the last few years.”
And the noise from the terraces certainly transferred itself onto the pitch as Town attacker Lee Martin explained: “There was a stage when we couldn’t hear anything on the pitch, in the middle of the second half. The atmosphere was brilliant. But we rose above it and came away with the win.”
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Jewell’s comments are particularly telling in a week where his club have come under fire from their own supporters following Saturday’s abandonment after 37 minutes of action against Middlesbrough.
But the criticism has been forgotten a little by Tuesday’s impressive win, a more comfortable victory than 1-0 suggests, and the first clean sheet in 10 matches.
Not that Jewell doesn’t realise the importance of his own supporters who have largely stayed with the team during a difficult first full season for the manager.
Speaking about the abandonment, he said: “Without the fans the club doesn’t exist. We had a nice crowd there (on Saturday) and they were looking forward with a bit of anticipation to a good game.
“For a lot of people that’s their whole week, coming to the game, and that was taken away from them. I understand their disappointment, I really do, and hopefully we can reward them with some decent performances at home going forwards.”
For the home fans at Fratton Park, Tuesday’s match was played against the unwelcome backdrop of administration. And on the day Glasgow Rangers also went down the same financial path, as did Ipswich in 2003, Jewell believes football needs to take note.
He explained: “Rangers have just gone into administration, it looks like Portsmouth are. I just think it’s a lesson for football that it’s got to keep its house in order.
“Sometimes fans want people to spend money they haven’t got but that can end in situations like this one.”
n Meanwhile, Josh Carson has been named in the full Northern Ireland squad that will face Norway on February 29. The match will be Michael O’Neill’s first match in charge since taking over from Nigel Worthington.