|SJ MASKELL: Tony Goodall RIP - a reminder of why Pompey is worth fighting for...|
Sun 18th Mar 2012 22:08 by SJ Maskell
I was about to write the usual diatribe about how fans are treated with contempt by football authorities, owners of clubs and those responsible for stewarding and policing games today.
Then I read of the death of Tony Goodall. Tony suffered a stroke about two weeks ago and has been in intensive care since. At 5.30am on 17 March he finally lost the fight. Which is so unlike the Tony I knew that it came as more of a shock than perhaps it should have, given how gravely ill he was.
I only met Tony in 2010, at a Supporters Direct conference when the Pompey Trust was first being set up. He talked my ears off - about Pompey of course. Since then I have met him at the many, many fans’ meetings; meetings arranged to attempt some agreement about what to do to save our club from those seemingly determined to do it harm. There was no one more involved than Tony and no one who could be said to care in any greater degree.
As an exile I kept in touch with Pompey games through Tony’s commentaries on PompeyLiveTV last season and on Twitter this. He had an incisive way of analysing the game that gave a clear and accurate picture of what was happening. We also had many a lively argument on line about the games and about fan politics over the last year. Tony never hesitated to tell it like it is, nor did he take offence if he was paid back in the same coin; a proper debater. He listened as well as talked. Sometimes what he said was hard to take. Sometimes he was wrong, more often it was I who did not understand. But always he was a gentleman.
There will be members of PISA who know a great deal more about what Tony did for the fans and the club than I do. No doubt they will write a more fitting tribute than I can. But I want to write my personal thanks to Tony for the understanding he has given me of what Pompey is all about. It seemed to me that Tony loved the City of Portsmouth and enjoyed all aspects of it. He used to Tweet about how grand the City looked at sunset and moan about the kids on scooters in his neighbourhood and describe the odd street scenes he saw. It reminded me of what I was missing.
Most of all Tony was for the people of the island and for all the things that tie the community together. He saw Portsmouth Football Club as one of those important ties. It was Tony that gave me the clearest sense of the anger created in the fans by the way the club has been damaged over the last three years and more. He knew what people on the street were thinking and saying and worked to get those people heard. He knew that a football club is more than a profitmaking business and understood the good a proper club could do in the community. It was most appropriate that he took over as Chair of the Fans Conference recently. It seemed to me that with Tony in that role there might be better unity among fans who are trying to rescue the club.
It is people like Tony whose values make Pompey worth saving, worth building into something better than it has been for the last twenty or so years. It is important to remember that this is at the bottom of what we fans are trying to do in getting involved in the governance of the club, no matter how we disagree on the surface.
Thank you Tony; I feel privileged to have known you and regret so much that I will not get to know you better.
The views of SJ Maskell are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the editorial view of pompey-fans.com.
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