Portsmouth FC League One title win: O'Neills bar in Southsea severely damaged after triumph with staff member racially abused

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Police called to packed pub amid claims of thefts and criminal damage after Portsmouth FC’s title win

Celebrations turned sour at a pub in Southsea following Pompey’s League One title win.

The interior of O’Neill’s bar in Albert Road, Southsea, was severely damaged on Tuesday night after fans packed out the venue. Portsmouth FC players were seen in the thick of the crowds which overwhelmed the venue.

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Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary received calls just after 11pm of disorder, with roughly 300 people in the venue. The force said they received reports of thefts and criminal damage, with a staff member behind the bar being racially abused.

Fans outside O'Neills in Albert Road, Southsea, on April 16 celebrating Pompey's League One title win against Barnsley. Police said various incidents of disorder took place at the bar and elsewhere, including a staff member being racially abused.Fans outside O'Neills in Albert Road, Southsea, on April 16 celebrating Pompey's League One title win against Barnsley. Police said various incidents of disorder took place at the bar and elsewhere, including a staff member being racially abused.
Fans outside O'Neills in Albert Road, Southsea, on April 16 celebrating Pompey's League One title win against Barnsley. Police said various incidents of disorder took place at the bar and elsewhere, including a staff member being racially abused. | Contributed

NationalWorld’s sister title The News understands several light fixtures were smashed, an air conditioning unit was damaged and the fire alarm started blaring and continued for at least an hour. Police said disorder spread across the nearby streets, with clusters of supporters moving in smaller groups and heading into other establishments.

Police added that a man was assaulted in Palmerston Road later that night and reports of criminal damage inside Drift Bar, where fans had gathered to celebrate with the players. The News understands police were called to the venue after it was due to close, with players and supporters still inside. Officers asked people in the bar to leave.

Police said their enquiries have continued, with statements being made, evidence being seized and CCTV footage being reviewed to identify all the offences being made. Chief Inspector Paul Markham, district commander for Portsmouth, said Pompey fans had every right to rejoice after the 3-2 win against Barnsley - which secured promotion to the Championship - but these festivities were spoiled by a minority.

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“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 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.”

CI Markham added that matchday plans are being reviewed for the Blues’ last home match of the season against Wigan Athletic on Saturday (April 20), with yesterday’s disorder forming a review of resources for the match. Police said anyone with information about what happened should call 101, quoting 44240159965, or submit a report online.