Fan forbidden from watching England at Southampton's St Mary's - for wearing a Portsmouth shirt
A football fan was refused entry to England’s clash with Kosovo – for wearing a Pompey shirt.
John Westwood last night travelled to St Mary’s, the home of south-coast neighbours Southampton, to watch Gareth Southgate’s side play a Euro 2020 qualifier.
However, he was prevented admittance by stewards on account of sporting the colours of his beloved Pompey.
Westwood, familiar among football supporters for his outrageous clothing, tones down that distinctive look for international matches.
On this occasion, he wore an England hat, a long black leather jacket with a small Pompey badge and the club’s purple-coloured third shirt.
Despite offering to turn his shirt and coat inside out to hide Blues affiliation, the Petersfield Bookshop owner was prohibited using his £35 ticket.
In 40 years of following England, including two World Cups and two European Championships, he insists never before has he been turned away for wearing Pompey clothing.
Westwood told The News: ‘I was queuing up to enter the ground when a steward told me: “Sorry, I can’t let you in with a Pompey shirt”.
‘I called over another steward and offered to turn my shirt inside out and she pointed to my coat, so I offered to do the same with that, it’s only got a badge on it.
‘Then I was told I was too well known and they couldn’t guarantee my safety. I replied that I wasn’t worried about my safety, they didn’t have to don’t worry about me.
‘Next they said they couldn’t guarantee the safety of people around me!
‘I was even asked why I wear a Pompey shirt to England matches? Well, I also had an England hat on. I was showing my allegiance to my country and my allegiance to my club, what’s wrong with that?
‘I have been dressing in that style of attire to watch England games for 40 years.
‘This is was an England home game, nothing to do with local rivalries. I have been across the country to other grounds where rivals mix together.
‘I didn't want any problems, I just wanted to watch England play.’
According to the FA, the match-day crowd safety operation was led by Southampton.
A Southampton FC statement said: ‘The police and safety plan around the game stipulated that any fan in this scenario would not be admitted for safety and security reasons.
‘This was communicated to the fan in question on multiple occasions ahead of his arrival at the stadium.’