POMPEY fans can give the beleaguered club a vital boost by joining a show of strength at its famous home.
The News today makes its ‘Pack the Park’ call alongside Pompey and the Portsmouth Supporters Trust.
Together we are urging supporters who have drifted away this season or who are not always able to get to Fratton Park to ensure they do so for the next two home games and beyond.
Those matches against Hull City on February 4 and Ipswich Town on February 14 are vital because they fall ahead of the February 20 date for Pompey’s court appearance to face a winding-up order sought by the taxman over an unpaid £1.6m.
The Pack the Park push is launched on the day when club officials, business people, politicians and fans’ groups come together for a crucial meeting at The News in Hilsea to try to save Pompey.
The trust has launched its 12th man initiative as a way of getting every fan to stand up and be counted.
In the meantime, it is joining Pompey and The News in urging fans to buy tickets for the next two home matches.
This season Fratton Park has had an average attendance of 14,500 in a 21,000-capacity stadium.
If all the spare seats were filled at both games, at an average of £20 per ticket, a full Fratton Park would give Pompey an extra income of about £250,000.
Pompey stress that this money would stay with the club – it would not find its way into the pockets of Balram Chainrai or the administrators of Pompey’s parent company, CSI.
Pompey manager Michael Appleton has called for fans to ‘stand united’ in the face of the current financial adversity.
He said: ‘It’s important at times like this that we stand united for the sake of this great club.
‘Supporters, staff, players and coaches – we are all in this together, feeling the same emotions and working for the same outcome.
‘Come along to Fratton Park, buy a ticket, buy a programme – whatever you can do, however big or small, it will all matter. With your support we will get through this and emerge the other side stronger than ever.’
It looks likely that Pompey will face Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs at the High Court on February 20, after being handed a winding-up petition over an unpaid £1.6m tax bill on January 3.
If the club owes money to other creditors, they too could enter the fray – and Pompey’s mounting debt does little to encourage a new buyer to emerge.
That’s why the Pompey Supporters Trust has set up pompeys12thman.co.uk, as a means to gather every Blues fan in one place.
Trust chairman Ashley Brown said: ‘Once again, Portsmouth Football Club is in crisis, and, this time, many fans are saying enough is enough, it’s time for the people who care most about the club – its loyal supporters – to play a real role in the running of the club and safeguard its future.
‘Pompey fans – united and proud – have a powerful voice and by standing together, we have a greater chance of influencing the future of the club.’