Portsmouth head coach Danny Cowley and CEO apologise to Gosport Borough for cancelling friendly amid racism probe
Pompey head coach Danny Cowley and chief executive Andy Cullen have both apologised to Gosport Borough after cancelling Wednesday’s pre-season friendly.
A Blues XI were due to travel to Privett Park which would have been a money-spinning game for the non-league side.
However, Pompey were forced to cancel the clash following 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.
A number of academy players would have been involved in the encounter.
Gosport were left extremely disappointed by the decision when it was made last Friday but appreciate both Cowley and Cullen getting in touch to explain the situation.
Former Pompey chairman Iain McInnes, who is now supremo at Privett Park, said: ‘We appreciate both the genuine nature of the apology and respect it conveys especially coming at such a challenging time, if not baptism of fire, they are currently experiencing
‘It goes without saying. to own and manage such a great club such as Pompey is a huge honour and massive responsibility to boot. Relationships with local clubs which were at an all-time low when Pompey became community-owned in 2013 and we figured it was a major priority to heal that. We remain confident that spirit still prevails.
‘My love, support and service to Pompey over 62 years needs little commentary and when friends have a spat now and again, we need to know how to put things right. Football is a cut-throat business and it's vital that local clubs remain supportive of each other.
‘We look forward to entertaining a strong Pompey side in due course and hosting a huge number of fans. I'd like to wish Pompey and their supporters every success and some much-needed fun in the season ahead.’
Gosport manager Shaun Gale knows Cowley from when he was Concord Rangers boss.
The Blues chief is well aware of how much Borough would have benefited financially from the clash.
Gale said: ‘It was good of Danny to call and explain the situation from his side. We were obviously very disappointed when the game fell through, but the fact Danny had the good grace to contact me over the weekend meant a lot.
‘I know Danny and Nicky from their time at Concord Rangers and I knew they would know the score. A fixture like this is vital to clubs at our level.
‘I had a very constructive chat with Danny and I hope we will be able to get a game on with Pompey at some stage.’