Watch: Portsmouth celebrations trigger police investigation after bar is ‘trashed’

Portsmouth players and fans trashed an O'Neils pub as they celebrated promotion
Portsmouth players and fans trashed an O'Neils pub as they celebrated promotion

Police are investigating Portsmouth’s wild League One title party after it triggered “mindless acts of violence and criminal damage”.

Bars were trashed after players and hundreds of supporters celebrated the club’s promotion to the Championship in Southsea, with disorder spreading across the nearby streets.

One man was said to have been assaulted and another racially abused, with the police called to try to restore order.

It followed Portsmouth’s dramatic 3-2 win over Barnsley that secured the South Coast side both promotion and the League One title. At the final whistle thousands of fans stormed the Fratton Park pitch and raised players onto their shoulders.

Portsmouth Police said in a statement: “We are investigating disorder which happened in Portsmouth last night [April 16] following the football.

“Calls were received about incidents in O’Neill’s and Drift Bar, as well as disorder in the surrounding streets.

“Officers attended and remained in the area into the early hours of the morning and our investigation has continued today.”

Chief Inspector Paul Markham, district commander for Portsmouth, said: “Portsmouth’s win against Barnsley last night was a fantastic moment for the club and for the city, and a moment everyone rightly wanted to celebrate.

“Sadly, a small number of people saw this as an opportunity to commit mindless acts of violence and criminal damage as part of the wider celebrations.

“Officers have been out in Southsea today and we are working hard to identify any and all offences committed and ensure all lines of enquiry available are thoroughly investigated to identify people responsible.

“If you do have any concerns or information which may assist, then please do not hesitate to speak with officers or contact us with this.

“The vast majority of those attending the game last night were there to enjoy the occasion and wanted no involvement in any disorder, and we know this has been the case throughout the season.

“We will not tolerate the minority who wish to use events such as this one to commit crime.

“On Saturday, there will be football in Portsmouth again, with the final home game of the season against Wigan. We consistently review our plans for all matchdays, and last night’s actions will form part of this review of our resources for the game.”

O’Neill’s Southsea also posted on Facebook: “Hello everyone, We just wanted to let you know that we will be closed until further notice, as soon as we are back open we will let you know. Thank you for your patience.”

Portsmouth’s squad had headed to O’Neill’s, around 1.5 miles from Fratton Park, where they were joined by hundreds of supporters who joined in the revelry at close quarters to the players they watch every week.

Footage emerged from inside the bar of club captain Marlon Pack’s effort to make a speech, only to be interrupted by team-mate Joe Rafferty exposing his backside.

Other players were sitting on fans’ shoulders drinking beer as the jubilant scenes continued long into the night.

Another clip showed the messy aftermath of the party, with the bar strewn with broken bottles and cans after the fire alarms were put on to empty the place out.

“O’Neills has fallen,” said the caption accompanying the video, while another tweet read: “Think the club are gonna receive an invoice for O’Neill’s btw. Gaff was absolutely trashed last night.”

Promotion ends Portsmouth’s 12-year exile from English football’s second tier, which saw the club fall as low as League Two in 2013.

Portsmouth fans –
Portsmouth fans celebrate at Fratton Park after the win over Barnsley - Getty Images/Alex Davidson
Tino Anjorin –
A Portsmouth fan embraces Tino Anjorin during the celebrations - Getty Images/Alex Davidson

They were relegated from the Championship in 2012 after receiving a 10-point deduction for entering administration for the second time in two years.

Portsmouth owner Eric Eisner, who bought the club from the Pompey Supporters Trust in 2017, posted on social media on Tuesday: “Perfectly fitting way to win the league!! Two late goals from the team that never quit all season.

“Everybody deserves this from the fans, to the staff, to the players. Let it all soak in. I have a feeling Portsmouth will be on fire tonight. See you over for the finale. CHAMPIONS!”

Portsmouth have been approached for comment.