Schools’ final ‘confusion’ as Blues wait for court case

Priory School under-15s enjoy their cup final success at Fratton Park last year
Priory School under-15s enjoy their cup final success at Fratton Park last year

Young Portsmouth footballers have been left confused over being handed their dreams of playing at Fratton Park.

Pompey have opted out of pencilling in the schools’ cup finals at their home as they wait for their future to become clearer.

And that could mean heartache for many children hoping to walk out on the same turf as their heroes.

The News Trophy, Supporters’ Cup and Stokes Cup finals have traditionally been staged at Fratton Park for decades.

With youth football facing reform from next season, it will be the last time some of these competitions can be held on an 11-a-side pitch.

Pompey have stated they are only honouring contractual commitments at the stadium, as they wait for the outcome of next month’s High Court case which is crucial to their future.

Administrators PKF will go to court on April 10 or 11 to attempt to release Balram Chainrai’s charge over Fratton Park – the final obstacle to Pompey Supporters’ Trust taking over the club.

Portsmouth Schools’ Football Association (PSFA) are happy to pay to hire Fratton Park. And they are also willing to be flexible over dates to stage the finals.

But they are now being forced to turn to Moneyfields FC for help, with the Blues deciding not to make any offer to stage the event at present.

Schools’ spokesman Graham Bryant said: ‘There is a lot of confusion about what is happening. We know there are problems at the club with the court case but there has been no suggestion they could look at it. We don’t really understand why.

‘We are more than willing to pay our way and we don’t demand any dates other than what is available.

‘It’s important for Portsmouth’s future, their support and the community.

‘These children will never forget the day they played at Fratton Park.

‘And there will be their friends and family who go along to lend their support.

‘With the cost of going to matches these days, it may be the only chance they get to go to the ground.

‘In future we won’t be able to play the final at Fratton at a young age because of the change in rules in youth football.

‘At the moment we are confused about what is going on.’

Pompey are hoping they will be able to look at their decision after the court date next month.

A club spokesman said: ‘Until the court case is settled the club cannot commit to anything beyond the end of the season.

‘This could be open to review depending on what happens next month.’