Sorry saga has split Pompey’s best asset - the fans

Balram Chainrai is poised to return as Pompey owner
Balram Chainrai is poised to return as Pompey owner

COMMENT: Bandstand event is a victim of its own success

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So it has come to this.

The kingdom is set to be claimed by Portpin after an often-bitter battle.

They will be inheriting a barren land long ravaged by mismanagement and breath-taking incompetence.

A club scrambling around in the dark desperately seeking a solid crutch to drag itself up on.

And a fanbase reduced to civil war.

Forgive the dramatic description but the latter is precisely what Pompey supporters have been reduced to after more than three-and-a-half years of watching their club systematically ripped up and destroyed.

They have craved salvation, a guiding light to deliver them into a prosperous future, the answer to all their prayers.

Instead, the result will be the return of figures who have been involved in the club twice previously.

It’s a recurring Fratton Park tenancy from Portpin surely nobody can have enjoyed so far.

This time around they bring more promises and election-winning pledges. They speak of judging by actions rather than words.

They speak of no longer being ‘reluctant owners’, reformed and realigned they want to run the club for the long term, returning it to former ‘glories’.

And they wag an accusing finger at the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, proclaiming ‘in-fighting’ among their ranks and thereby rendering them an unstable alternative.

It is not without irony then that the only in-fighting at present is among the Fratton faithful.

A situation created by Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir and the prospect of their Pompey comeback which delights and disgusts so many.

No matter which side you have chosen to line up behind, there can be no ignoring the fractured atmosphere around the city at present when the issue of their third coming is raised.

These are times when a group of fans wanting to save the club they love receive vicious abuse on message boards and social media.

When Mark Mudie is leapt upon and savaged for reading out a Portpin statement sent to Express FM.

When we are seeing three generations of Pompey fans announcing at the Trust’s AGM on Thursday night they would not return to Fratton while Portpin are in charge.

When anyone asking questions about the Trust are labelled anti-Trust – and those answering them are described as bullies.

And when there are even confrontations among the media at the training ground on the press day this week.

With sad inevitability, those moments centred on Portpin.

This is Portsmouth Football Club fragmented, divided and torn apart by a procession of owners not fit to have served as its caretakers.

Sadly, that will remain entirely the case as long as Portpin are still hanging around.

The fact of the matter is that, irrespective of Portpin’s motives, they have been involved in this football club since October 2009.

It is an association which has coincided with the Blues’ plummet towards liquidation and dark, dark days.

Puzzling then that, in the opposite corner, the Trust continue to receive damnations from fellow Blues supporters who, instead, favour those who have twice been at the helm in recent times.

In two generations of boards, the Trust has started from scratch to rise and collect £3.5m in pledges and donations.

Such has been their impressive progress, back in July, Portsmouth City Council agreed to loan £1.45m if the Trust were the only chance of the club not being liquidated.

These Pompey fans – and every single one of them are – have dedicated their spare time to a crusade of trying to return the club to the supporters.

Their drive is motivated by the desire to remove the noose which remains around Pompey’s neck.

Yet there have been many fellow fans content to snipe and criticise from the sidelines, heaping scorn while unwilling to work towards a solution themselves.

Tom Dearie was the subject of vile accusations over the summer by two people in particular on Twitter.

It was claimed he had dipped into Trust funds to bankroll his trip to Gibraltar to watch Pompey play a pre-season game.

A disgusting and baseless denouncement from behind a keyboard under the cowardly guise of ‘free speech’. No proof has ever been offered, despite challenges.

Other Trust board members have also suffered abhorrent comments on Twitter.

Their dastardly crime? Caring and wanting to give the club a better life. No strings attached.

Unquestionably, funding a Trust takeover was always going to be a massive ask. Similarly, taking on Portpin, whose charge over the ground has seen off other interested parties.

For whatever reason, administrators PKF have decided Portpin are a better option for the creditors – but, my goodness, didn’t the Trust and those fans behind it fight hard.

What’s more, they will continue to on behalf of around 2,000 supporters who pledged and those in no position financially to follow suit.

Forget who is right and who is wrong in the long-running and fog-filled debate.

People like Portpin and those other previous owners have created this scenario.

And the real tragedy of it all is when they return, this battle among fans will get only more bloody.