Cricket chief wants to join forces with Pompey

Hampshire Cricket Club chairman has held talks with Pompey chief Iain McInnes
Hampshire Cricket Club chairman has held talks with Pompey chief Iain McInnes

Rod Bransgrove wants Hampshire Cricket Club and Pompey to join forces.

The Hampshire chairman was in contact with the board members of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust throughout their takeover of the club.

He was later invited to Fratton Park as a guest of Blues chairman Iain McInnes for the final home game of last season against Sheffield United.

That convinced Bransgrove to stump up for his own share in the club.

He is also eager to cement a new relationship between the sporting bodies in a bid to share knowledge and pool some of their resources.

That includes the possibility of sharing training facilities in the future.

Bransgrove explained: ‘I have been speaking to Iain McInnes for some time about establishing closer links between the clubs. It’s an exciting development.

‘We spoke quite a lot during the administration period and passed on a few of our own experiences and talked about ways to forge stronger links.

‘We need to embrace our local sports clubs and make more of the fact that we have a real sporting pedigree around our area.

‘I really like the ownership model at Pompey and for the fans to own their club is a fantastic opportunity. I will be buying a share myself very soon and I have a real soft spot for Pompey now.

‘Iain invited me down and I was knocked out by the crowd they had for that last game of the season against Sheffield United. It was close to a full house for a team that had already been relegated and the atmosphere was sensational.

‘There was a real feel-good factor.

‘If we get that kind of passionate support down to the Ageas Bowl, we would be laughing!

‘But we are looking at things like crossovers between season tickets and membership.

‘And there are a few other things in the pipeline, which I can’t comment on at the moment.’

Bransgrove, a Spurs fan from his youth, previously had close ties with Southampton in his role at Hampshire.

But those links are no more after he became disillusioned at the treatment of some of Saints’ former figures by the St Mary’s regime.

‘I haven’t been to St Mary’s for a long time,’ said Bransgrove.

‘I don’t want to make a big issue out of it but I don’t feel inclined to go when some of the club’s great players and managers have become virtually ostracised – people like Francis Benali, Matt Le Tissier and Lawrie McMenemy.

‘I don’t feel comfortable about that. I think clubs should embrace their history and embrace the people who made their history.

‘That is what sports clubs are about and I think the PST totally understand that. We are all guardians of our clubs for the future generations.’