Chainrai returns to leave fans more split than ever

DIVIDED Pompey fans at Fratton Park
DIVIDED Pompey fans at Fratton Park
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It was Abraham Lincoln who once uttered ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand’.

An apt statement in the current climate Pompey finds itself inhabiting.

The cart is hurtling towards the end of the line at break-neck speed, the yawning abyss embraced for its arrival.

All Blues fans are desperate to stop the heart-breaking smash.

Except they are currently fighting among themselves over the best solution in preventing such an untimely demise.

This is what the Pompey supporters have been reduced to.

And for that, those who have overseen the continued destruction Portsmouth Football Club should be ashamed.

The current problems are their legacy. The problems are down to them.

These supporters turning on each other, trading insults and questioning each others’ commitment are doing so because of the people who did not take care of a great club like Pompey in the correct way.

Look what they have done to this proud this institution they were once in control of.

They had responsibilities, whether it be as owner, chief executive or administrator.

They failed.

Scouring the city and you will see a passionate fan base who for 90 minutes stand side-by-side united as one.

Magnificent backing every match which earns applause and respect from opposition players and support alike.

Yet aside from that period, Pompey followers remain split and fragmented.

In agreement there should continue to be a football club in their city. In opposition how that is to be achieved.

In the past week, the familiar face of Balram Chainrai has re-emerged.

Having owned the club three times previously, the Hong Kong businessman has declared an initial interest in returning.

In one swift move the Fratton faithful has been fractured greater than ever before.

There can be no wrong or right side of the street to walk, this is not a black-and-white situation to reflect upon.

What is important to remember is the future of Pompey is an emotive issue.

Andrew Andronikou is despised by most Blues fans – yet his long-time employer is curiously seen in a more attractive light.

Chainrai divides opinion like no other who has sat at the table building houses of cards over the past few years.

He has been involved in putting the club into administration twice, been in charge three times, retains a £17m debenture and continually refuses to meet supporter groups.

Yet he wants his loan back, an approach we can all empathise with, and it is in his interests the club exists to enable him to do just that.

In that respect, Chainrai represents an uneasy alliance.

Somebody, in theory, who can keep the Blues alive while attempts continue to find a permanent solution.

On the other hand, there are those fans who do not trust the Hong Kong businessman, a result of his actions since first arriving on the south coast in October 2009.

His company Portpin have still to pay small creditors as they pledged, there remain questions over what happened to the £4m Pompey got for Younes Kaboul, while Portpin’s dominant role in season ticket price hikes continues to irk.

Some want Chainrai back. Some don’t want him back but would do if it meant the club surviving a little longer.

Some don’t want him anywhere near Fratton Park ever again.

Irrespective of the viewpoint, the fan base is fragmented and diluted. It is divided and on its way to being conquered.

And that is the real tragedy of what is happening to their club.

Take Bob Beech, for instance, suddenly the target of criticism from some.

As chairman of SOS Pompey, he has been a long-time critic of those who have overseen the club in recent times.

He led the protests 13 months ago, vocally challenging Chainrai, Andronikou and David Lampitt.

Fewer than 100 attended the Frogmore Road protest held just before the clash with Derby, nonetheless the point was made.

Chainrai labelled the protesters as ‘on their own planet’ and “not the fans of the city of Portsmouth’.

In the past week Beech was quoted in a national newspaper claiming ‘I’d rather have the Luftwaffe back in Portsmouth than Balram Chainrai’.

It was a tongue-in-cheek comment which has resulted in him being criticised in some quarters.

Some have dared to question his love for the club, others have raised doubts over his loyalty.

Meanwhile, a rogue cyber warrior has been posing as Beech and posting on message boards, prompting yet more trouble.

His dastardly crime? Caring and attempting to make a difference.

There are those who keep training their sights on the Pompey Supporters’ Trust and sniping away.

According to some highly-vocal critics, they are not doing enough to save the football club. It is an offensive accusation against a band of people who are devoting their spare time in trying to aid the club they love.

Theirs has been an exhaustive journey of meetings with prominent club figures, interested parties, businessmen, lawyers and other fans.

This week alone they have met Andrew Andronikou and Trevor Birch as they maintain their immense efforts.

Let’s bear in mind several of the Trust board run their own businesses, others hold powerful positions in multi-national companies, the majority have young families.

Yet they are working around the clock for the benefit of fellow Pompey supporters across the world.

And, if the club is liquidated, it is the Trust who are labouring away trying to construct a viable Plan B to pick up the reins.

The Trust do not want Plan B to be implemented. However, it is a crucial safety net.

And should the city possess a club in Blue Square Bet South next season, that will be down to the tireless efforts of the Trust.

Their unforgivable misdemeanour?

Caring and attempting to make a difference.

Meanwhile, the real figures to blame have long gone, returned to their day jobs, headed back to their countries.

They have left behind a football club gasping for breath and a fan base arguing.

And for that reason, they should never be forgiven.