Chris Rann is back with some more thoughts #SaintsFC
You have to give Pompey fans credit (bear with me reader), only our delusional poor relatives along the M27 could watch their team torn to pieces by their arch rivals, watch Scummers celebrate in the Fratton end, punch a horse and attempt to claim some sort of moral victory.
We are a week on now from a very entertaining night in all manners of the word. I don’t mind admitting that in the build up I felt a little detached from it being exiled out here in the Middle East, but once the game kicked off, and there was a decent little gathering of Dubai based Scummers, all the associated feelings that ‘that’ game can bring came flooding back.
Nothing needs to be said about the game itself. We didn’t crumble in their ‘famous atmosphere’, we didn’t lose our bottle. We are superior. End of story. But as is always the case, the fall out of these games is often as entertaining as the match itself. Many more ‘Portsmyths’ were born, the Scum didn’t sing, there was no ‘limbs’ when they scored etc. All as accurate as the nonsense they talk about dock strikes that never happened. Special shout outs go to the horse puncher (not only did this prime specimen of human intelligence think he could fight a horse, he also believed he could outrun it) and to the pound shop Alan Carr who treated us to the most perfect rant aimed at showing us he wasn’t bothered, buy clearly demonstrating how bothered he was. The level of bitterness that came our way was at an all-time high, but that is to be expected, and I’d not have it any other way. To the Pompey fans we are like the older brother who is good looking and proficient at everything, while they are the little brother, wearing hand me down trousers, languishing in remedial maths and covered in snot. My favourite twitter moment though came when a Pompey fan seemed to confirm that they had pumped crowd noise through the PA system on the night. The mere mention of this frothed more mouths than that time Southsea Sea Life Centre closed the touching pool. See you in another 9 years.
As is typical of Saints, we followed up a superb rabble rousing victory with a lacklustre missed opportunity at Spurs. Just as we thought we were passed Ralph’s use of centre halves at full back, Cedric pulled up in the warm up and we were back to square one. Realistically we aren’t expected to beat Spurs away, but I hope it wasn’t an indication of things to come.
In the lead up to the game, nothing was more important than beating Pompey, and it seemed like the manager had taken that on board. Full backs playing full back. Basic formation. Ings up top. 4-0. Now, while I appreciate, your average Premier League game is never going to be as easy as a cup game with League One relegation fodder, we cannot now let that win be the pinnacle of the season. As important as it was, we need to start picking up more league points, and showing that we aren’t going to be in another basement battle come April. I’m still a big fan of the manager, but Bertrand and Cedric/Valery is the way forward at full back, and if one of them does go down injured, Vestegaard is not the answer, and neither is Danso.
I actually believe we have a run of winnable games coming up. Chelsea at home, Wolves away & Leicester at home. If we go back to basics and play players in the right positions, and not play Vestegaard against anyone who will play expansive football then there is no reason we can’t get a decent return before a scintillating double header at the Etihad. For a while now it’s felt like we are a top 10 side masquerading as relegation candidates, but for every lesson not learned, the opposite will start to be true. Ralph showed us last season he has what it takes to take us higher, I just hope he isn’t trying to over-complicate it.
Keep the faith.