ARREST rates for Pompey fans are among the worst in the country, new figures have suggested.
The club’s supporters have been ranked the fourth-worst behaved in all the nation’s football teams during the 2017/18 season.
The revelation comes after four fans were hauled in front of the court and punished for violent disorder offences following a clash between Pompey and Oldham fans at Fratton Park on September 30, 2017.
Official stats released by the Home Office and seen by The News, show 59 Pompey fans were arrested during the last season.
Only Birmingham, Sheffield United and Sunderland were worse, with 95, 62 and 60 arrests recorded, respectively.
However, Blues supporters have since rallied in defence of their club and feel they have been hard done by.
Spencer Green, committee member with London branch of Pompey Supporters’ Club, which represents hundreds of fans - said: ‘To rank Portsmouth as one of the worst-behaved fanbases in the country is rubbish.
‘They had a bit of a spat with Plymouth (last year) that was blown out of proportion.
‘But I can’t believe that Portsmouth’s fans were the worst behaved in the country. I don’t agree with that at all. I think it’s made up.’
Almost all the Pompey fan arrests were made during home games, with 88 per cent taking place at Fratton Park.
That compares to 72 per cent, 40 per cent and 77 per cent for the top three teams. While the fifth-worst team, Aston Villa, notching up a third of its 48 arrests at Villa Park.
Almost half of the total arrests made of Pompey fans (28) were for violent disorder offences, which was roughly in line with other clubs.
Del Pulley, chairman of the Chichester branch of Pompey Supporters’ Club, felt the figures had been ‘skewed’ by overzealous police action at Fratton Park.
He said: ‘I feel police and the judicial system in our city has gone way overboard. That’s why the figures have been distorted.
‘Pompey fans are boisterous and like everyone we do have an element that can misbehave but I don’t we’re worse than any other club.’
Lifelong Pompey fan Bob Beech, 51, of Milton also stood up for Blues’ supporters.
‘There seems to be a vendetta going on against football supporters at the moment,’ he said.
‘Anybody who knowingly commits a criminal offence has got to be dealt with. But it’s got to be proportionate. I don’t believe that’s happening with Pompey fans.
‘They’re being targeted and that’s skewing the figures. I don’t think it’s any better or worse in Portsmouth than anywhere else in the country.’
As previously reported, Hampshire police has been clamping down on football hooliganism.
The force claimed its hardline approach, which in September saw eight yobs jailed for violent disorder during the match between Pompey and Plymouth.
PC Stuart Dickerson, Hampshire police’s dedicated football officer, said: ‘In 2017 we were faced with significant levels of violence and disorder at Portsmouth football matches, and this game was no exception.
‘We have worked tirelessly to target the main offenders and bring them to justice, and as such we have seen a statistical increase in the number of arrests made and football banning orders given to Pompey fans.
‘On paper these statistics may look troubling, but what it actually demonstrates is the success rate of the force’s work in tackling football-related violence.
‘As a result, the level of disorder and violence we have seen at matches in the last year has noticeably reduced, and we are pleased to see this.’