Fratton faithful flock to Southsea for Pompey’s title celebration

Some of the crowds at Southsea Common yesterday
Some of the crowds at Southsea Common yesterday

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A WAVE of blue descended on the seafront as thousands of fans celebrated Pompey’s League Two triumph.

Belting out Pompey classics, waving blue flags and cheering the name of every player, the crowd rejoiced in the sunshine on Southsea Common.

Following the player’s dramatic 6-1 win over Cheltenham Town on Saturday, the city turned out in force to crowd around the stage at the common where the League Two trophy was paraded to the roaring approval of the supporters.

Life-long fan Alex Radice-Gomm, from North End, was at the game when Pompey won the title.

The 31-year-old said: ‘This whole weekend has been amazing.

‘It was unbelievable winning the title the way we did, I think a lot of fans are still in shock.

Going up to League One was brilliant so to go up as champions is even more amazing

Matt Davies

‘Towards the end everyone was looking at their phones, desperate to know the other results.

‘It has been great to celebrate with the club today and see all the players enjoying it too.

‘The whole city can mark this occasion and it is great for all the fans.’

Tracy Rowett went along to the celebrations with her children Haydn, nine, and Cheyenne, six.

The Fareham family were excited to see the trophy and the players.

Haydn said: ‘It feels good to be celebrating. Pompey have done really well in the last few games and it is exciting to see them all today.’

Mum Tracy added: ‘The last couple of days have been awesome and the atmosphere in Southsea is great.

‘A few years ago we were almost down and out, so to be lifting the League Two title is brilliant.

‘It is great for young fans and older fans alike.’

The Blues secured promotion at Notts County on Easter Monday last month.

Matt Davies, 29, from Hilsea, said securing promotion was incredible in itself.

‘Going up to League One was brilliant, so to go up as champions is even more amazing,’ he said.

‘Everyone was glued to their phones at the game on Saturday and when we found out we were champions, it was absolutely brilliant.

‘Seeing everyone out today shows how much support there is in this city for the club.’

The afternoon saw everyone involved in the club, from backroom staff to the directors, on the stage and welcomed by the thousands of fans.

Outgoing Pompey chairman Ian McInnes received a roar of applause from supporters as he took to the mic.

After informing them that he’d rather shake their hands than those of ‘a hundred kings’ he said to them: ‘This city and this football club has had its tail between its legs for so long. It is time to change that.’

Long-time fan Paul Whiteaway, from Portsmouth, said: ‘It was a result that seemed like it was written in the stars for the club.

‘You do not think days like that were going to come back to Pompey, after the last few years that we have had.

‘The atmosphere today and yesterday is something that I have not seen for a long time.’

Pompey manager Paul Cook was lost for words during the celebrations after getting an elated reception from the fans.

He said: ‘It really is amazing to be here with all of them today to celebrate.

‘Football is such a big part of cities like Portsmouth and I think the players have really given the fans something to celebrate over the last week. I hope they enjoy the day.’

The event was organised by Portsmouth City Council and the club. Leader of Portsmouth City Council Donna Jones said the whole weekend was amazing and that it meant a lot to the city.

‘I’ve said this before, but Pompey is the beating heart of this city,’ she said.

‘To secure promotion and be crowned as champions is amazing.

‘I am delighted the council has been able to put on this event and support the football club in this tremendous achievement. I am pleased that so many people are here to celebrate it today.’

She added: ‘I was at the game yesterday and watching the crowd, the thousands of people on the pitch, was amazing. It has been incredible.’