Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spurs Fans Arrested, Charged as Pompey Issue a Warning Ahead of Sunday's Match

In the run up to Sunday's crunch tie with Spurs, Portsmouth have issued a statement to their supporters asking them not to return the abuse and vitriol that was aimed at Sol Campbell when the clubs last met...

Sol Campbell left Spurs in 2001 for arch rivals Arsenal and a large section of the Spurs faithful have found it hard to forgive this indiscretion. Campbell went on to have a successful period at Highbury while Spurs languished between mid table and relegation, and some Spurs fans have found this "betrayal" hard to take and have directed abuse at Campbell at every availability.

This abuse reached sickening levels last year as Campbell, now at Portsmouth was subjected to homophobic and racist abuse that reached new lows as far as football and society was concerned.

Police were inundated with complaint's from irate fans as they felt this abuse was particularly vitriolic. And as the Police began their investigation with the co-operation of both clubs it became apparent that a small section of the Spurs fans had abused Campbell during the match.

Officials at White Hart Lane, with the aid of the travelling supporters clubs identified many of the most fragrant abusers, and today 11 men were charged by Police with indecent chanting.

Much to Sol Campbell's credit as a model professional, he has kept a dignified silence throughout when he would have had more than enough reason to issue a statement.

The abuse that was directed at Campbell went beyond the realms of "banter" and has no place in football, no matter how much some Spurs fans feel aggrieved by his loss to Arsenal.

To add fuel to the fire of the Spurs and Portsmouth match following last years scenes, Harry Redknapp has jumped ship to manage Tottenham after Portsmouth agreed to sell him for £5m due to their financial problems.

And as soon as the transfer window opened, Redknapp was quick to take advantage of Portsmouth's plight by snapping up Jermaine Defoe from the south coast club.

Add this to the fact that Portsmouth have only won three games since Redknapp's departure and they are slipping towards the relegation zone, currently occupied by Spurs.

This match is a crucial game for both clubs as they need victories to kick start 2009. Spurs are in dire straits, having gained 10 points from the first two weeks of Redknapp's reign they are now without a league win in eight. While Portsmouth have seen their two prized assets sold as Tony Adams begins to shape the team he wants as a fledgling manager.

Portsmouth have asked their fans not to abuse Redknapp and Defoe in the manner that Campbell received when they last met, and Spurs will be eager for their fans to behave themselves. So all eyes will be on and off the pitch.

Both teams need three points badly, so don't be surprised if the rivalry in the stands spreads to the pitch.

twitter / WillieGannon