Tag: Portsmouth

Policing Football Fans: Civil Liberties Or Taking Liberties?

‘Football fans have been exposed to the type of policing historically that is probably unfair and untargeted. I think it’s evolved, I think it’s moved on. My football unit police with the best interests of football fans that are around safety and that’s our principle driver. It’s not you and us at all. We want to work with you. I’m really happy to work with football fans on this.’ Supt. Rick Burrows, Silver Commander, Hampshire Police Football Unit. In stark contrast to the Hampshire Commander’s rhetoric, recent reports of over-kill by West Yorkshire Police and heavy-handed stewarding by Leeds United belie the idea that policing of football fans has evolved.  Cardiff City, Portsmouth and Coventry City fans have made complaints about their treatment at Elland Road. Policing tactics may have changed  but 1980 attitudes are still to the fore. If you are an away fan in particular it is very much a case of ‘you and us’. At the Football Supporters’ Federation ‘Watching Football Is Not A Crime’ meeting in Portsmouth on October 20, this issue was raised. Supt. Burrows admitted that there seems to be a degree of partisanship in both stewarding and policing of away fans. He observed that when you have officers lining up between two sets of fans, ‘if you don’t tell them what to do, they all face the away fans. I think it is because...

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Supporters’ Trusts: Some Hard Questions

This weekend the saga of Trust ownership at Wrexham extends. Plymouth Argyle struggle to find an ownership solution to coming out of administration. In the tales of duplicity and ineptness that abound behind these stories, the arguments in favour of the Supporters Trust movement are strengthened. Supporters’ Direct have made clear and cogent points that substantiate these arguments in their recent briefing papers. Yet are Supporters’ Trusts always best placed to take over at their clubs? The current state of financial governance in football does not make for an even playing field for supporter owned clubs. It takes tough customers to have the tenacity to stick with the principles of the Supporter Owned Model when the financial structure of the game allows your business opponents a head start in the competition, despite the fact that they often put the very existence of their ‘business’ at risk, as Supporters’ Direct’s analysis shows. The recent government enquiry into football governance opened its evaluation of supporter ownership with the bald statement, ‘The examples of bad ownership are sufficiently numerous to point to systemic failure. A case can be made that, rather than tighter regulation, a more fundamental ownership change is required.’ The report continues,  ‘The supporters trust ownership model appears to us to be one of the positive developments in English football.’ This is encouraging but the recommendations of the enquiry do little...

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In Praise Of Mediocrity – A Video Special: Portsmouth FC, 1989/90

We could, if we lived in a vacuum in which we only communicated with the mass media, be forgiven for thinking that football is all about the winning, the glory and the silverware at the end of the season. For a good many football supporters, however, whole seasons can pass by without a hint of anything exciting happening whatsoever. So it was, then, that Portsmouth spent the 1989/90 season in the Second Division, barely troubling the top or the bottom of the table. Indeed, their end of season record hinted at an entire campaign of mists and mellow fruitlessness, although their supporters could be forgiven for being quietly pleased for an improvement on the previous season, when they finished just two places – albeit with a comfortable nine point cushion – above the relegation places and for the fact that they had overcome the worst of financial difficulties which had, not for the first time and certainly not for the last, threatened the existence of the club. [table id=2 /] Where, you may well be wondering, is this going? Well, sometimes, footballing tropes collide with such force that we cannot help but enjoy the moment. The season of very little happening – and you can usually spot the supporters of such clubs at the end of the season, exuding a zen-like calm coupled with absolute bafflement as to why...

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Peter Storrie, Al Fahim and Pompey’s Unbelievable Level

This article first appeared on Pompeyonline in March 2011 and is part of a series aimed at chronicling the history of the club’s fall into administration. “One point two million pound a year, Peter? You’re havin’ a laugh, mush!” Immortal words, captured by Sky on 26 February 2010. A lone fan persuses Peter Storrie as he arrives at PFC offices on the morning the club was put into administration by Balram Chainrai. One fan speaking for Pompey fans everywhere that morning. As Chief Executive Officer of PFC, Peter Storrie was one of the highest earners in the Premier League. In August 2009 he drew down a bonus of £500,000 despite the club being in financial meltdown. His justification – ‘In January 2009, we were in a mess financially and I brought in an awful lot of money so Sacha gave me a £500,000 bonus.’(1) Helpful, when within a month, he was saying that the club had been, ‘very close to administration for nine of the last ten months.’ (2) Yet Mr Storrie maintained he was ‘just an employee’ doing as he was told. So you have to ask, is a CEO really ‘just an employee’? In most businesses, the Chief Executive Officer is employed to be responsible to the Board of Directors for the carrying out of the strategic plans and policies established by that board. As a member...

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Football’s Values: Unethical, Dishonourable or Ill-Advised?

Currently appearing in the high court are an ex-Pompey director, past owner and recent manager on various charges of tax-evasion. Charged with fraud and unfair trading practices at  court an ex-Cardiff City director and Plymouth chairman, whilst at Wrexham a consortium containing a solicitor debarred on eighteen counts attempts a take over. That’s just so far this month. Not to mention the shenanigans at Port Vale and Plymouth reported by m’colleagues elsewhere on this site. The values demonstrated by the West Ham trio of Gold, Sullivan and Brady with their ‘tactful and understanding’ management style also made interesting reading this week. One comment on Phil McNulty’s blog after the insensitive manner of the sacking of Avram Grant by this conglomerate shows the esteem in which they are held. It suggests that Sullivan’s ‘abuse of the players … is typical and it won’t be long before he gets stuck into the fans who, in his mind, never appreciate his largesse and mastery of the football business.’ I gather fans at Birmingham (what IS going on there?) nurture the same level of affection for their ex-owners. That the largesse so described is derived from the porn industry is a matter often used to deride any team they are involved with and often seems more of a joke than a moral issue. Meanwhile at Pompey in recent times we have had...

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