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Pompey fans ejected for “Taking the Mickey”

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood is arguably the best known football fan in England. Not only does he follow Pompey week in, week out but – as you might already have guessed – he even changed his name by deed poll just in case you couldn’t work out who he supported. But news reaches us that on Saturday he was thrown out, along with five or six other Pompey fans, during his team’s home game with Spurs.

And the reason given to Westwood for his eviction? “Taking the Mickey out of the stewards.”

That’s right – not swearing, not pitch encroachment, certainly not violence. Taking the Mickey. Call the cops!

As most will already know Portsmouth’s weekend tie saw ex-manager Harry “I’m Portsmouth ‘til I die” Redknapp returning to Fratton Park for the first time since his move to Spurs. Given that this was the second time he’d jumped ship from the club, the first time to Southampton lest we forget, the Pompey faithful are understandably less than happy with Harry.

So a few fans got together and produced posters with ‘Judas!’ written across an image of Redknapp. They sold them at a few local pubs for a quid a pop with all profits going to local charity the Tom Prince Cancer Trust.

Now let’s not forget chants of ‘Judas!’ have echoed across football grounds for decades – this is a word with a fine tradition among supporters! It’s a tongue-in-cheek insult that Redknapp is more than capable of taking on the chin. No one really thinks Redknapp is Judas Iscariot. Judas chose money over loyalty while Redknapp left Portsmouth for the second time in four years. We can’t see the similarity at all.

The stewards and police at Fratton Park were less than amused though.

During the first half Westwood’s group held up one of the posters they’d smuggled in. Stewards spotted it and demanded they give it up but it quickly disappeared only to reappear once our yellow jacketed friends had moved on. This is repeated a few more times before stewards swoop on the group and eject Westwood from the stadium where they tell him he’s been kicked out for “taking the Mickey.”

In a show of support and defiance towards the end of the game those around Westwood pass round the picture again, are spotted on camera, and chucked out as well.

It’s a worrying trend as more and more stewards seem to be dictating what is or isn’t morally acceptable. No one’s condoning racism, homophobia, or the type of insults Redknapp says he received to his phone. Those people are nuts, we don’t want them near the game, and they deserve whatever punishment they get.

But calling someone Judas – is that really unacceptable? Of course not, it’s just banter and as soon as you put a stop to that you kill off one of the main reasons why people go to games. Winding up the opposition, a few beers, and a bit of crack with your mates. As long as it’s within the law why should it be up to stewards to decide what is or isn’t morally acceptable?

How sterile do Pompey want their ground to be? This is a club famed for its atmosphere after all – if they’re not careful they might just alienate the very people who make it in the first place.

Clashes between Pompey’s more boisterous supporters and stewards at Fratton Park have been a running theme over the past couple of years. We hear that the Portsmouth FC hierarchy is meeting with the club’s fans over the next few days to talk about Saturday’s events and previous stewarding issues.

This is a step in the right direction and credit to the club for that.

Let’s hope common sense prevails and the Pompey faithful can get back to supporting their team without having to worry about whether a steward thinks the joke is on them.

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