A fantastic way to bring Fratton to a close

Three Pompey fans enjoy their day out at Fratton Park
Three Pompey fans enjoy their day out at Fratton Park

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Here’s a date for your diary – Monday, May 2.

Now you may find Pompey’s fixture with Norwich already occupies that slot on the calendar.

Never fear, though. Get the Tip-ex out and it’s problem solved.

After all, there are far more important matters happening on May 2 than a football match.

Granted, Norwich does represent the final Fratton Park fixture of the current campaign.

What a long, hard season it has been, too.

Although, thankfully, there is no relegation at the end of it.

Still, it is time to look at the bigger picture and not a meaningless dead rubber for the Blues – namely the Fans’ Day.

For the first time, Pompey followers have launched an event to commemorate their support for the club.

After a year in which Portsmouth Football Club tottered at the brink of being liquidated, it is a day of celebration.

A time to rejoice in the fact that there is still a club to follow, an occasion to embrace the unique community spirit this city has to offer.

The inaugural Fans’ Day is by the fans for the fans.

It was hatched by those present at a recent Pompey fans’ conference.

It was subsequently implemented by a host of eager volunteers, devoting their spare time.

The result will be the first of its kind ever seen at he club, with enough entertainment to delight everybody.

Inflatable rides, a bouncy castle, giant slides, trampolines and a table football competition will be some of the fun on offer.

There will be a stage built providing live music throughout the day, with Express FM carrying out a broadcast on one of the Pompey buses.

Ash Randall, a free-style footballer, will be carrying out demonstrations and teaching people the secret behind his tricks.

And if you get peckish, there will be a burger bar, a hog roast, sweet stalls, candy floss stalls and cake stalls to chose from.

What’s more, this is not a club event – it is a fans’ event.

And that really is the unique selling point.

Not that Pompey haven’t backed the concept. Far from it.

They have generously donated plenty of raffle prizes, such as season tickets, signed balls, signed shirts and even the chance to be a mascot for a match.

In addition, they have allowed some events on the day to be staged in the ground.

Even Sacha Gaydamak has kindly given the nod for a quarter of the Fratton end car park to be used.

And entirely free of charge.

Still, the Fans’ Day is about the community uniting to celebrate a football club at the heart of it.

An excellent reason for us all to turn up and show our support.

It is the fans who are the lifeblood of Portsmouth Football Club, not this procession of owners who have sunk it to its knees.

And, on May 2, there will be the greatest show of strength yet among the true supporters of this football club.

Taking place from midday to 6.30pm, there will be a wide variety of events for the family to enjoy.

What’s more, it’s on a bank holiday.

And one of the organisers, Tom Dearie, is urging people to come along and enjoy the day.

He said: ‘First and foremost, this day is to try to bring everybody together and celebrate the fact we still have a club to support.

‘It is the last home game of the season and we want to have a little bit of fun.

‘This is about getting the supporters together, taking part in a variety of events and then all going to the game at the end of it.

‘The feedback has been amazing. Everybody is really enthusiastic about what we want to achieve here.

‘There are plenty of sponsors on board and the football club have also kindly helped.

‘We had a little bit of an issue with the car park but Sacha Gaydamak has cleared that up.

‘We are getting it free of charge – he thinks it is a good idea.

‘Everything made on the day is then going to go direct to two local charities, so there is also a good cause involved.

‘Obviously, there is still work to do, but we cannot thank people enough for how things are progressing.’

Club sponsors Jobsite lead a growing number of local businesses getting involved.

They have donated a four-figure sum which has enabled organisers to turn the Fratton end into a sea of blue and white.

Every seat in that end of the ground will have a banner to hold up before kick-off.

Once synchronised, it will become a wave of colour with ‘1898’ written across it.

Elsewhere, Greene King have supplied two kegs of lager, two kegs of IPA and six crates of becks.

That is the equivalent of 355 pints and 144 bottles.

All free of charge, it will enable organisers to donate the proceeds to charity.

Earlier this week, Ridgeway Motor Group donated a four-figure sum to the occasion.

Warings, The Directory Group and Chichester Haulage have also stepped forward with sponsorship.

In addition, Biscoes are sponsoring the inflatable table football tournament and will be providing trophies for the adult and kids’ tournaments.

Unquestionably, the community has pulled together magnificently.

What’s more, two local charities will also reap the benefits.

The Tom Prince Cancer Trust and the Pompey Sports and Education Foundation have been earmarked to receive all the proceeds raised.

It is a magnificent gesture and a way of giving back to the area following the troubles of recent times.

And Dearie has been delighted with the response.

He added: ‘The community is really pulling together on this one to show what a great football club this is.

‘Special thanks have to go out to Ashley Brown, Scott Mclachlan, Kev Ryan, Steve Tovey and Mick Williams and everyone else from the fans’ conference involved.

‘Also, Mark Mudie deserves a mention for all his hard work, as well as Angela Hayward, Clare Martin and Johnny Moore at the club.’

On Monday, May 2, it will be over to the fans to give their backing.

Too many people have let this football club down over the past few years. But the Pompey supporters never have.

And on May 2 expect them to turn out in force for what should be a wonderful occasion.