Protesters are ‘not fans’ says Pompey’s under-fire owner

ANGRY: Protesters outside Fratton Park on
ANGRY: Protesters outside Fratton Park on
Gaffer for a day Stuart Hardman would start Jack Whatmough in defence Picture: Neil Marshall

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POMPEY fans have hit out at owner Balram Chainrai after he said people who protested against his ownership of the club are not real supporters.

More than 100 fans staged a protest outside Fratton Park ahead of Saturday’s match against Derby County.

But the Hong Kong businessman, who has come under fire for not meeting with fans’ groups and a lack of signings in January, maintained he has the backing of ‘all the people of Portsmouth’ and dismissed protesters as not being proper fans.

‘There is a small group of fans – approximately a dozen – who are on their own planet and not the fans of the city of Portsmouth,’ he told the South China Morning Post.

Mr Chainrai’s comments have angered the already disgruntled supporters and online message boards were buzzing with furious posts yesterday.

Bob Beech, chairman of fans’ group SOS Pompey, which organised Saturday’s protest, said: ‘To dare to say that we and other people who do not agree with him are not proper fans is beyond belief.

‘In terms of customer care, I think Mr Chainrai went to the Gerald Ratner school of business.

‘We care passionately about this football club and that’s why we want him to go and go now.

‘To be honest, I don’t take a lot of stock in what he has to say – the only thing I want to hear him say is goodbye.’

Mr Beech said SOS Pompey is growing in size and has around 1,300 fans signed up to its Facebook group.

‘I think he’ll find there’s more than a dirty dozen,’ he said, adding: ‘If he thinks we’ll go away quietly in the night he’s got another thing coming.’

In the article, Mr Chainrai maintained he has ‘all the people’s support in Portsmouth’ and cited his recent attendance at a civic black tie dinner event at Portsmouth Guildhall, which was at the invitation of the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Paula Riches.

Fan Mike Hall said: ‘Whether he’s got the backing of Portsmouth people or not is irrelevant. Mr Chainrai ought to stop personalising this – it’s not about him, it’s about the future of the club.’

Mr Chainrai was unavailable for comment yesterday.