Shameful web abuse wrongs Wallace

Jed Wallace. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jed Wallace. Picture: Joe Pepler

You’d go a long way beyond Fratton Park to find a more honest footballer than Jed Wallace.

So it arrives as no surprise to hear of his embarrassment at receiving the sponsors’ man-of-the-match award against Mansfield.

Wallace did not play very well on Saturday. His manager knew it, the Pompey fans knew it and, most importantly, he knew it.

The frustration he showed at being subbed in the second half wasn’t because he was removed. It was because he should have played better.

No matter how he performed, or what the conditions are when it comes to his future, there is no justification for the abuse meted out to him in the wake of the game.

Any proper Pompey fan taking a look down Wallace’s Twitter timeline on Saturday night would have been embarrassed at what they read.

They would have seen a 19-year-old footballer making his formative steps in the game subjected to abhorrent tweets.

Seeing the continued nature of the abuse of a player who is a few days over a year into his league career, would have been shameful to real followers.

In fairness, that was borne out by wave after wave of supportive responses Wallace received once the issue came to light.

These weren’t random internet trolls, however, but people purporting to be Blues fans. That was saddening.

The reaction to Wallace being given the award was unprecedented. Widespread boos rang across Fratton Park as his name was announced.

What was apparent was many were delivering an incredulous response to the decision rather than making their feelings known to the player.

It has since become clear that came to be so after a group of female fans made the decision. Perhaps the motivations there were things other than Wallace’s football ability.

Some suggested he should hand back the award after the game. He actually refused to accept it. Sonny Bradley stepped into the breach in the end and the girls got their picture.

Many fans remained a tad shocked at how the whole incident played out but it is unlikely to happen again.

A man-of-the-match shortlist is likely to now be presented to sponsors to choose from moving forward.

Whatever the overriding sentiment of fans at the game, there were those who had it warped enough to make it personal with Wallace.

With the midfielder undoubtedly Pompey’s prized asset some have painted a picture of Wallace as a cocky upstart. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, he’s a confident character but one who doesn’t make the transition into arrogance like so many of his young predecessors.

Perhaps one of the criticisms Wallace would have taken most personally, is a suggestion of a lack of commitment.

With his contract up at the end of the season it’s been levelled at the player he is marking time until he moves on to better things.

From Richie Barker down, it’s pretty unanimous at PO4, Wallace is likely to be plying his trade elsewhere next season.

This isn’t Jermain Defoe going through the motions at £90,000-a-week, picking up a mysterious injury and then pitching up at Spurs, however.

This is a young, hungry professional who wants to be the best player he can be – and will give everything to his team in doing so.

His performances have had more downs than ups of late but it seems there are some who have mixed the peaks and troughs a young player’s form goes through with a lack of effort.

Those who know the player would know that not to be the case.

And they join all Pompey fans in condemning the actions of a vocal few.