McInnes: We have won over our critics

Pompey chairman Iain McInnes. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13997-3)
Pompey chairman Iain McInnes. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13997-3)

Iain McInnes believes Pompey can walk proud after winning over their Football League critics.

The Blues chairman and Mark Catlin head to Faro on Thursday, June 5 for the Football League’s AGM.

The two-day event in Portugal will be attended by chairmen and chief executives from across the 72 clubs.

For McInnes it will be a return to the scene of last year where he felt the newly-formed community club were not welcomed in some quarters.

Pompey’s financial plight amid two administrations won them little sympathy in the game, an attitude he believes was reflected at the previous gathering.

Yet a year on, the Blues have impressively stabilised off the pitch with greater than anticipated commercial results – and lower than expected budgeted losses.

In addition, they are ahead of their legacy debt repayments.

And McInnes is convinced the football world have started to respect the club once more.

He said: ‘I don’t turn up anywhere with a Portsmouth badge on and hold my head down.

‘But last year was a bit difficult because we were a club that – to be fair and I was told quite straight by some of the chairmen there – they didn’t really want to be in the league.

‘They didn’t believe we deserved to be there because of all the things that had gone on and we had been seen to have got away with.

‘They weren’t all welcoming with open arms. We will go there this year with our heads held high because we’ve bought so much of the credibility that Portsmouth deserves back into the football industry.

‘Whereas last year we were guests, slightly pleased to be invited to the party.

‘I don’t think there was a lot of sympathy for us but certainly at the end of the season there would have been a lot of good will which wasn’t there before.

‘I’ve had a lot of good correspondence with some of the chairmen who have said they are so pleased Portsmouth are back and so pleased there are people running the club they can relate to.

‘Although by the same token, with 18,000 home crowds, a competitive budget and a good manager we are going to be a bigger threat next season!’

This year’s AGM will see member clubs debate the controversial B team plans.

And McInnes has dismissed the notion the annual event represents a Football League knees up.

He added: ‘It’s a good event and I know the average fan will say “why the hell are these guys jetting off at great expense to Portugal?”.

‘Well we don’t pay for that, the Football League does.

‘I have asked the same question and it is a darn sight cheaper than holding it in the UK.

‘The two days are pretty much taken up by meetings – it’s not two days by a pool.’