Outcry as Pompey fans asked to give up tickets

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LIFETIME season ticket holders at Pompey are in uproar after bosses at the club asked them to give up their tickets.

Blues’ boss Mark Catlin dropped the bombshell announcement in a letter to the 100 dedicated fans this week.

In it, Mr Catlin urged the supporters to ‘voluntarily relinquish’ their £2,000 tickets, purchased during the 2001/02 season.

However, fans have hit back, describing the move as ‘disappointing’ and ‘confusing’.

Keith Mapplebeck, of Fawcett Road, Southsea was among those who will be affected by the proposal.

The 53-year-old said: ‘Life to me means exactly that – life. I never believed that when I paid for the ticket they would one day try and take it back.

‘So when I got the letter it was a bit of a blow. I just don’t understand what the club can gain from something like this.’

Fellow lifetime season ticket holder John Westwood, said: ‘We have had a good run with it but it’s been a long time coming. Obviously it’s disappointing but the most important thing is the club.’

The deal was agreed in 2001, under Milan Mandaric.

But in the letter to the fans this week, Pompey is attempting to back down from the agreement, claiming the club which issued them no longer exists after its administration.

However, in the original letter to fans in 2001, the Pompey said the deal would carry on regardless of who was owned Fratton Park.

It said: ‘We feel it reasonable to expect that a life season ticket, in a similar way to a “life membership” at any other club or organisation, would be honoured by the company, irrespective of the ownership of the company in the future.’

The club’s latest letter claims all ‘contractual rights fell away on the change of ownership’.

Mr Catlin wrote: ‘Since our exit from administration as a fan-owned, community club, we have continued honouring this agreement strictly on goodwill terms, but I am sure you can appreciate the ongoing financial difficulties involved in operating a football club outside of the FA Premier League; accordingly the current board of directors have requested that I write to each lifetime season ticket holder requesting that, at this point, they voluntarily relinquish this historic agreement.