Everybody knows that finances are tight at Pompey. The club is still trying to find a buyer and generating income is key. Fans understand that.
But we think the vast majority of those who follow the Blues will be dismayed by the club quoting more than £1,500 to the family of Pompey legend Len Phillips to hold his wake at Fratton Park.
We report today how we understand they were told it would cost them £500 for use of the Victory Bar and £1,075 for a buffet following Len’s funeral at Portchester Crematorium on December 28.
Friends say the family weren’t looking to get anything for free, but the club’s attempts to charge them so much seem insensitive to say the least.
This isn’t just any ex-player we’re talking about. Len Phillips is considered to be one of the all-time Pompey greats, an England international and the last of the League Championship-winning side of 1948-49. He was also a great ambassador the club and the city. Yet it appears that history and past achievements don’t count for much at Pompey these days.
Former Pompey and England star Ray Crawford, a close friend of Len, uses the words ‘disgraceful’ and ‘disgusting’ when talking about how the club has behaved. He won’t be the only one to feel that way.
Len deserved to have his final send-off at the Fratton Park he graced so many times. But it’s hardly surprising that the family, upset at the way they have been treated, have decided to go elsewhere. The city’s other, much smaller, football club, Moneyfields, has offered the use of its hall free of charge.
Is it really the case that the people working at Pompey these days have no appreciation of the club’s past? Or were the ramifications just not realised?
Either way, former Pompey goalkeeper Alan Knight has got it spot on when he describes the whole thing as a ‘PR disaster’.
Surely the club has now got to come out and admit they got this one badly wrong and apologise to Len’s family.
Or they risk alienating all those who hold dear the long and proud history of the Blues.