Fratton schools’ finals reinstated as Birch steps in

City of Portsmouth Boys' captain Asa Hooper, left, is presented with The News Trophy by chief sports writer Neil Allen at Fratton last season

City of Portsmouth Boys' captain Asa Hooper, left, is presented with The News Trophy by chief sports writer Neil Allen at Fratton last season

Nathan Thompson was unveiled as Kenny Jackett's first signing yesterday Picture: Colin Farmery

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Administrator Trevor Birch has instructed a Pompey U-turn and re-admitted the Portsmouth Schools’ finals to Fratton Park.

Former Blues chief executive David Lampitt scrapped the hosting of the long-standing event back in January.

At the time, it was claimed the club couldn’t cope with requests to use the ground during the post-season.

That decision has been described as ‘madness’ by Birch, who has now given the go-ahead for the four matches to take place next week.

Pompey’s administrator played in a schools’ final as a youngster up in Southport.

Now The News Trophy and the Supporters’ Cup will take place at Fratton Park on Monday from 5pm.

On Thursday, the two Stokes cups will be staged.

And Birch insists it was the right decision to make.

He said: ‘I think it is wrong that a community club does not support its local community.

‘To deprive young kids of the chance to play in a big stadium is not right and I wanted to do something about it.

‘The club should be doing this sort of thing. The community has to take precedence.

‘I don’t understand how this decision was taken. For me, it was madness.

‘So I have reintroduced it, which is entirely the right thing to do.

‘As a schoolboy in Southport, I played in the local finals and know what a fantastic occasion that was.’

Lyndhurst will contest the under-11s Supporters’ Cup with St Jude’s on Monday.

That will be followed by Milton Cross taking on Priory in the under-15s News Cup.

And Portsmouth Schools’ Football Association treasurer Peter Sykes is delighted the long association with Fratton can continue.

He said: ‘We are very grateful to Trevor Birch.

‘It seems a new approach has been taken after the departure of David Lampitt.

‘We were fed a lot of nonsense and self-justification about why we couldn’t play at Fratton.

‘They wouldn’t even talk to me so we had written it off. Then, out of the blue, Mr Birch offered us the chance to return and it is absolutely fantastic for the kids.

‘He appreciates what this occasion means to the children and we are very thankful.’

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