This weekend throws up a very interesting fixture indeed. Portsmouth travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday to face their former manager Harry Redknapp and their former striker Jermaine Defoe for the first time since they jumped ship to Tottenham.
The atmosphere should be fairly electric inside the ground with there already being a frosty relationship between the two teams after ‘inappropriate chanting’ was aimed at Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell earlier in the season.
This was before Defoe and Redknapp moved on, so ahead of this weekend’s game, both clubs have appealed for calm and have urged supporters not to chant anything offensive at the opposition players.
However, this is not a view shared by Portsmouth goalkeeper David James who believes that fans are ‘entitled to their opinion’. He then went on to say that because the fans pay their money, they should be allowed to ‘give stick’ whenever they feel appropriate.
James did admit that ‘racist or homophobic’ chanting was unacceptable, but that anything else would be part of the game. By saying this, I presume he is happy for Pompey fans to chant ‘Judas!’ at Defoe and Redknapp all game? Perhaps with a few four letter words to go along with it?
These type of comments send out mixed messages. Fans may now think that they have a right to be offensive because they have paid their money. If anyone complains they can point to the fact that James, a professional footballer himself, believes that it is part and parcel of the game.
As for the match itself, there is no doubt that the football odds will be expecting a Tottenham win. Portsmouth have struggled of late, but Redknapp’s new side haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders themselves. Therefore, it may be a lot closer than many people think.
Hopefully it will be the football that this game is remembered for though. If not, then James can probably take a fair share of the blame.
By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about football betting