Talks “positive” between Ports directors and fans

Shamrock Park.

Shamrock Park.

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Portadown directors took a key step towards strengthening links between the club officials and supporters on Saturday by holding a special meeting.

Club chairman Roy McMahon was joined by directors Trevor Marshall and Ronnie Stinson at Shamrock Park for the discussion with representatives of various supporters’ clubs.

The two-hour meeting was described by sources from both camps as positive and encouraging overall.

It is understood that more than 30 questions were put to the club officials by the fans’ representatives, covering a wide range of areas from the financial situation to past administrative problems.

The meeting was arranged late last week by the Board of Directors in response to the latest Irish Football Association disciplinary issue that resulted in a postponement of the scheduled opening game at Coleraine.

The IFA decision to impose a “suspension of football activities” on the club for “non-payment of disciplinary fines” dominated final preparations last week ahead of the Irish League’s first weekend.

An appeal lodged by the club against the punishment led to Northern Ireland Football League officials opting to delay the Coleraine fixture until the completion of the latest IFA hearing.

That IFA appeals board hearing is expected to take place within the next fortnight and will deal not only with the suspension but also the 12-point deduction previously delivered to the club in relation to Peter McMahon’s contract status.

Those issues - alongside a series of events off the field and diminishing returns on the pitch - have resulted in strained relations between the fans and directors over recent seasons.

It is hoped that last weekend’s meeting will mark an important forward step in creating unity between officials and fans. One proposal is to integrate the fanbase and directors on an official level by inviting a representative or forming a committee to aid club progress.