Southampton have hit back at a Portsmouth fan after he was left ‘disgusted’ at being refused entry into England’s game against Kosovo this week.
John Westwood is known across the country for donning his club’s colours and his wacky large hat, but was surprisingly turned away at the turnstiles of his side’s rivals stadium after he arrived in a Portsmouth shirt and jacket.
"Every England match I go to, I've worn my #Pompey shirt."
"I offered to turn the shirt inside out."
"Even the police said it was out of order."
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) September 11, 2019
As quoted by The Sun, Westwood said: I had a Pompey shirt on underneath a long black leather coat and was wearing and England hat.
“The stewards said, ‘You can’t come in wearing a Pompey shirt.’ I was disgusted. It is discrimination.
“All I want to do was watch my country play. It was not a Southampton game and host the national team they cannot discriminate against fans of any club.
“I said I would turn the shirt inside out but they said I was too well known so could not guarantee my safety.
“I have been watching England since 1979 and the only time I have missed a home game is when Pompey are playing on the same day or when my brother got married.
“I have watched them at Wembley, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Leicester and abroad and this is the first time I have had any trouble whatsoever.”
“I had to bite my lip because I did not want to cause problems for my club.
“The police were very good and gave me a lift back to the station in one of their vans as I was stranded at the ground. I didn’t find out the result until I got home.
“The ticket cost me thirty odd quid and another twenty pounds in train travel. I am going to get in touch with the FA and ask for compensation for a wasted evening.
“It was a nightmare. I think it is just wrong.”
Southampton FC however have hit back by defending their stewards’ actions, claiming that the Pompey fan was informed prior to the game as to their security concerns.
In a statement, the Premier League side said: “The police and safety plan around the game stipulated that any fan in this scenario would not be admitted for safety and security reasons.
“This was communicated to the fan in question on multiple occasions ahead of his arrival at the stadium.”
They were also made to remove flags with the club crest from inside the stadium.
It’s fair to say there wasn’t much sympathy towards John on social media, with many Saints fan having their day but also many said he knew what he was doing – see those tweets on the next page.