A DAD has told of being racially abused at a Pompey game for wearing a hat from Pakistan – the third racist incident at the club in five months.
The man, who does not want to be named, took his sons to the match against Leyton Orient at Fratton Park last Saturday.
What was so shocking was that everyone who passed me and looked in my direction while I had my hat on gave me a starePompey fan
Pompey have condemned the comments and say they take a zero-tolerance policy towards racism.
The victim, who is white and British, was wearing a hat from the Peshawar region of Pakistan which was given to him as a gift.
He said he was left ‘flabbergasted’ by comments made to him as he walked into the ground with his 13 and 14-year-old sons.
The 42-year-old, who works in education and lives in the west country, said: ‘As we started to walk round the stadium, which was a slow process against the press of fans, I noticed that my fellow Pompey supporters passing me were looking aggressively at me, with snarled expressions, giving me the eye.’
He said a man in his 50s with short hair and a stubbly beard shouted an expletive at him, asking why there was a ‘Muslim’ in the grounds.
He added: ‘To this, another walking with kids in front of him punched his fists saying, “There won’t be after the match”.
‘More murmurs were heard. I looked in faces of those following, hoping to see shock at this abuse, but their faces were as stony and harsh as ever.
‘Feeling seriously threatened, I took my hat off and sat with a cold head throughout the match.
‘What was so shocking was that everyone who passed me and looked in my direction while I had my hat on gave me a stare’.
The man has not been to police because he said it happened so fast he would not be able to identify those involved.
Colin Farmery, Pompey’s head of inclusion and safeguarding, said: ‘We have a zero-tolerance approach to any incidents of racist or homophobic comments at Fratton Park.
‘We are very sorry to hear of this supporter’s experience. The club contacted him at once when he e-mailed us on Monday to offer our support to help track down the culprits.
‘To do this effectively we need a complaint to be made to the police, as we are looking at a potential criminal offence here, so we can work with them and him to make a positive identification and seek witnesses to the incident.
‘If any other fans saw this incident, we’d encourage them to contact the club with the information so we can collect the evidence together. At the moment though it is difficult for us as there has been no complaint made.
‘As a club we encourage fans to report behaviour of this kind as only with their help can we eradicate this type of behaviour from a tiny minority.’
Pompey worked with police on both the recent racism allegations at the ground – at the Reading game in August and the Barnet game in September. A man is due in court over the Barnet allegations.