Gosport Borough disappointed at friendly cancellation having 'consistently bent over backwards' for Portsmouth in past

Gosport Borough have expressed their huge disappointment next week’s friendly with Pompey has been cancelled having ‘consistently bent over backwards’ to help out in the past.

Saturday, 17th July 2021, 8:39 am
Updated Saturday, 17th July 2021, 9:25 am
Privett Park. Picture: Malcolm Wells

A Blues XI were due to travel to Privett Park on Wednesday but the game has been scrapped.

The decision follows bosses at Fratton Park launching an ‘immediate investigation’ into racist messages uncovered in an under-18 academy group chat.

The messages refer to the three black England players who failed to score penalties against Italy in last Sunday’s Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

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A number of academy players would have been involved for Danny Cowley’s side against Gosport.

Pompey have apologised for the inconvenience caused, but stressed their commitment to play the game at a more suitable time.

However, Borough feel the decision could have been taken earlier and say they will lose a ‘vital source of income’ if it is not rearranged.

A Gosport statement said: ‘Gosport Borough FC is extremely disappointed to learn of the cancellation of our friendly with a Portsmouth FC XI scheduled for July 21.

‘While here at Privett Park we have every sympathy with the situation Pompey are dealing with, on Thursday evening we had received confirmation from the Pompey management team the core of the team would be players who hadn’t featured at Bristol City the day before.

‘On that basis we had gone ahead and made arrangements for the Pompey game, which are now for nothing, leaving us with a big gap in Head Coach Shaun Gale’s pre-season preparations.

‘The decision to cancel could and should have been taken earlier in our view.

‘Not only is a game against Pompey highly anticipated by fans and players alike, but to a club like Gosport Borough it is a vital source of income.

‘We would like to apologise to our own fans for the disappointment this cancellation will cause but they can rest assured we are working hard to find an alternative fixture. It is also always a pleasure to see many old friends among Pompey fans, so we appreciate the disappointment will ripple still further.

‘As a club, Boro’ have consistently bent over backwards to help Pompey, most recently hosting two development XI fixtures for them last spring, as well as helping out the women’s team at short notice hosting a game against Southampton.

‘Many of us at Privett Park have close associations with PFC going back many years and it is to be hoped Pompey will be able to make good on the huge well of goodwill here at Gosport this cancellation has put at risk.’

Pompey remain fully committed to playing the game later in the pre-season calendar.

A Blues spokesman said: ‘A number of academy players would have featured in the pre-season friendly at Privett Park.

‘However, we have a duty of care to all our players and due to the ongoing investigation – and the requirement for proper process – over discriminatory messages originating from an U18 private group chat, the club decided there was no choice but to postpone the match.

‘Portsmouth Football Club understand that our friends at Gosport had worked hard in their planning of the fixture and we would like to apologise to them, as well as all supporters who were planning to attend, for any inconvenience this has caused.

‘We are fully committed to working with Gosport to try to arrange for the game to be played at a mutually convenient later date.’