Abused and pilloried every step of the way - but the Trust band of brothers proved them wrong

Prospective new Blues chairman Iain McInnes celebrates victory for the Pompey Supporters' Trust outside the Rolls Building of the High Court on Wednesday
Prospective new Blues chairman Iain McInnes celebrates victory for the Pompey Supporters' Trust outside the Rolls Building of the High Court on Wednesday

COMMENT: Victorious is really going from strength to strength

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It was George Orwell who penned it so prophetically.

‘One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.’

A phrase so deliciously apt in the long-running battle between Balram Chainrai and the Pompey Supporters’ Trust which this week was won so gloriously in court 30.

Portpin’s last-gasp search for a settlement over the valuation of Fratton Park on Wednesday signalled the release of doves into the skies above the Solent and the flowering of poppies on Southsea Common.

Plenty of blood had been spilt but finally, against all the staggering odds, peace had broken out.

Victory was with the people of Portsmouth – they had successfully grappled control of their club.

Along the way, those leading members of the Trust had been pilloried, criticised and abused for their tireless desire to save the club they love.

Most painful of all, much was from some of their own.

Social media was the lightning conductor – Facebook, Twitter and message boards the platform for often disgusting vitriol based on untruths and irrational reasoning.

There have been accusations of dishonourable intentions, a shameless desire for fame and dwelling in the realms of pathetic fantasy.

At the same time, such sneering critics championed the likes of Portpin, Laurence Bassini and Keith Harris and their purported wealth.

Questions towards bids are welcome and to be encouraged.

Through wounds which continue to fester, Pompey fans have learnt not to accept mere words as proof.

Except, the disgusting bile often spat in their direction from some with unfathomable agendas bankrupted any rational debate.

It matters not if rival fans armed with jaundiced views and possessing hatred-filled minds snipe away. As the non-target audience with ulterior motives they are inconsequential.

Yet when it comes from fellow Pompey fans, that hurts.

At 4.21pm on April 10, however, there was vindication.

These often discredited folk were as good as their words – they delivered the football club.

When Mr Justice Peter Smith signed off the landmark deal there was a round of applause, followed by tear-jerking scenes.

Mick Williams welled up, as did Jo Collins – the first-ever Trust chairperson.

Prospective Pompey chairman Iain McInnes shook everyone’s hand, before engulfing them in a smothering bear hug.

Mike Hall had, moments earlier, been the last to enter the court for the completion of the buyout having sought a quiet moment to himself outside.

Even the ever-composed Ashley Brown, with that trademark unshakable demeanour, allowed his voice to crack and top lip to quiver.

As for those other Blues fans present, fathers and sons hugged, complete strangers only hours earlier embraced and supporters for more than four decades dabbed their eyes.

And Trevor Birch, visibly emotional, reached for his mobile within the court to tell his wife.

Never underestimate the BDO administrator’s role in this. One day that full story will be told.

That is what defeating Portpin meant to these people, these doers and not cyber whingers.

It had been a bloody battle along the road to the Rolls Building. Dirty games designed to puncture the tyres of the Trust.

Hall has been subject of claims made to several national journalists he has been sectioned 12 times.

A despicable fabrication designed to humiliate a man who has spent so many years sparring with Portpin.

Spokesman Colin Farmery has been laughably portrayed as a criminal kingpin possessing bands of thugs to do his evil bidding.

Tom Dearie was falsely accused of pocketing Trust donations to fund a pre-season trip to Gibraltar.

Lucy M Carmichael, Lucille Ball’s character in I Love Lucy, popped up as a ‘budding football finance writer’ but with a penchant for blogs criticising the Trust. There have been no articles since December 11.

On Facebook, the AFC Pompey Phoenix Group was led by the faceless Sarah Cunningham.

She claimed she had raised £5,000 for a phoenix club and on December 28 wrote ‘the chances of a fan-run club are now about 0 per cent unless we go phoenix’. Nothing has been posted since December 31.

Sock puppets, plants and wind-up merchants intruding on forums and message boards. Fake Twitter accounts and new e-mail addresses stirred and attempted to disrupt.

Even whispering lies away from social media and spread in Pompey circles have tried to make their mark.

Journalists have also been targeted. On Twitter, I have been abused and threatened, recently somebody told me he was going to break my legs.

In the last week, my young family were brought into it.

My crime? For being behind the Trust’s bid and the belief Portpin and all those connected with Pompey’s destruction never returned.

On the flipside, former ExpressFM match commentator Joe Michalczuk claims his strong views on the Trust also saw him receive threats.

These have been vicious times for those Trust people and their fan backers who have had the conviction to follow their beliefs.

They shrugged off those poison-tipped arrows raining upon them, though, to march on regardless.

And there is a 115-year-old football club so very grateful they did.