The people who made the difference for Pompey

Steve Pearse (56), from Gosport, and Steve McLenaghan (42), from Cosham, are just two of the loyal Blues fans who helped save Pompey with different ways of raising money to purchase shares ''Picture: Sarah Standing (131084-485)
Steve Pearse (56), from Gosport, and Steve McLenaghan (42), from Cosham, are just two of the loyal Blues fans who helped save Pompey with different ways of raising money to purchase shares ''Picture: Sarah Standing (131084-485)
Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

VERITY LUSH: Leave me to browse the make-up counter in peace

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Three different tales. Three different insights into Pompey’s we-will-never-die spirit.

And three rousing examples which are echoed across the club’s fan base, telling us why the Blues are today the biggest supporter-owned club in the United Kingdom.

Saturday was one of those special occasions which will live long in Fratton folklore.

And it wouldn’t have arrived if it wasn’t for people like Ryan Hicken.

Hicken’s story is one which is rousing and heart-warming in equal measure, as he fought to raise the money to keep his club alive.

The 15-year-old from Clanfield wasn’t prepared to see the team he loves go to the wall – so he did something about it.

The community shares – which have been a lifeline for Pompey – were, surprise, surprise, out of reach for the teenager.

So he set about raising the funds a different route – a sponsored bike ride.

Along with friends and family, Hicken jumped on his BMX and pedalled out 31 miles which saw him collect £1,150 to purchase a share. Awe-inspiring stuff.

Then there’s Josh Nunn, at 87 years young, an all-together different type of star-and-crescent follower to Hicken. But, then again, exactly the same.

Nunn remembers the day in 1939 when Jimmy Guthrie held the FA Cup aloft at Wembley and Jack Tinn’s men sent Wolves’ legion of stars packing.

He can recall tales of Harris, Scoular, Flewin, Froggatt, Reid, Phillips and Dickinson conquering the English game in successive seasons.

The Gosport fan hadn’t been to Fratton Park since 1963 but, when the club’s hour of need arrived, his £1,000 was there waiting.

The same can be said for Steve Pearse and Steve McLenaghan. And then some.

The pair set about raising their share money with the help of Pompey’s thriving online community.

Using Pearse’s PayPal account they utilised the likes of truebluearmy.com and Facebook to raise funds for a share.

What happened next summed up the passion and far-reaching impact of the club’s plight, as money poured in from across the planet.

Crucial funds arrived from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Spain, France, Switzerland and Japan.

After laying down the target of purchasing a single share last August, the group are now on the brink of collecting their 20th as they near £20,000 in funds raised.

All of the dedicated Blues were among the 18,433 who rejoiced in the fans’ victory on Saturday, capped off by a 3-0 win over Sheffield United.

They were guests of the Trust at the game, as they looked on from a directors’ box jam-packed with Pompey lovers at the break of a new dawn.

Their stories are special examples of the drive which is underpinning this brave era.

But the beauty is there could have been others there. So many others.

There are literally scores of tales which stir the emotions like Hicken, Nunn, Pearse and McLenaghan’s.

They symbolise the fans who have now converted their pledges and raised £1.85m to keep this proud club breathing after 115 years.

And the good news is that figure is rising, with those who waited for the outcome in the High Court now acting – to the tune of £250,000.

There may have been a few very special invited guests in the directors’ box against Sheffield United.

But there were thousands of very special people sat proudly backing their club knowing they had made a difference.