Ports directors to meet with fans

Portadown manager Pat McGibbon. Pic by Pacemaker.
Portadown manager Pat McGibbon. Pic by Pacemaker.

Portadown’s Board of Directors will meet with supporters’ representatives at Shamrock Park tomorrow (Saturday) in a bid to improve relations between officials and fans.

Off-the-field issues have resulted in a string of fines, transfer sanctions and suspensions delivered to the club by the Irish Football Association disciplinary committee.

The Ports’ proposed opening fixture of the Danske Bank Premiership at Coleraine has been postponed until a forthcoming hearing with the Irish Football Association Appeals Board over a “suspension of football activities” due to “non-payment of fines”.

Those problems, aligned with a dramatic decline in form on the pitch across a number of seasons, have led to a mass breakdown in faith between large sections of the fanbase and the Shamrock Park directors.

It is hoped by officials that this weekend meeting will prove the first stage of a process designed to help repair that damage that will ultimately lead to the formation of a fans’ committee to liaise on a regular basis with club officials.

“The directors have invited supporters’ clubs to send along representatives to Shamrock Park on Saturday,” said club director Ronnie Stinson. “We will have an informal meeting beforehand, plus talk to the management and players.

“Pat McGibbon, his management team and the players have worked so hard over the summer and there is a real sense of momentum with the squad.

“The on-going support of the fans will be crucial in the club moving forward and we want to use this weekend as an opportunity to try and answer some of the questions.

“It is about moving past the rumours and speculation and trying to clear up misunderstandings over certain issues, as much as possible.

“In the long-term, we want to have a committee or group in place which will interact more often with the Board of Directors towards a growing role within the club.

“We will also hold an open meeting at some stage in the future for any other fans.”

Club sources have confirmed that, despite speculation over an investigation into the summer signings on amateur terms, no official contact has been made with Portadown.