Passionate Sylvia could be Pompey’s oldest fan

BIG FAN Sylvia Tooes with her Pompey shirt and scarf.  Picture: 'Sarah Standing (120837-1091)
BIG FAN Sylvia Tooes with her Pompey shirt and scarf. Picture: 'Sarah Standing (120837-1091)
Isla Prothero, aged seven

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SHE may be weeks away from her 100th birthday but Pompey fan Sylvia Tooes is still as passionate as ever for her beloved Blues.

Fratton Park season ticket holder Mrs Tooes, 99, hits the magnificent milestone on May 15 and has called on her fellow fans to keep the faith through Pompey’s latest plight.

Her love for the club blossomed after her Pompey-following husband Bill Tooes, a former city councillor and MBE, passed away in 1992.

She has been attending home games ever since with her grandson Richard Thompson, 52, and 11-year-old great-grandson TJ.

She savours fond memories of watching Pompey lift the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium in 2008, and returning to the famous ground again two years later for the final against Chelsea.

Mrs Tooes, who was a bus conductor during the Second World War, said: ‘I enjoy going to games and the atmosphere when Fratton Park is full.

‘I wear a telescopic lens because I’m partially sighted and listen to the game on my Walkman.

‘I have a cushion for my seat too. I wrap up when it’s cold so I look like the Michelin Man!’

Although she cannot remember the first game she watched, Mrs Tooes has a soft spot for former players Matty Taylor and Gary O’Neil.

‘I will always stick by the club and I am just sorry all this is going on,’ she said.

‘Fans should fill every game at Fratton Park!

‘If everyone gave £10 to the club, it would be a great help, but can people afford it? Money is tight for everyone but I would be happy to do it.

‘It’s something I’m passionate about and I want to see the club survive.

‘How many more years can I go? That’s the million-dollar question. TJ says I’m going to live until 130!

‘My message to the fans is to continue supporting the club and Play Up Pompey!’

Her son Brian Thompson, 77, lives in Cyprus but regularly returns to the UK to watch games with his mother.

He said: ‘She is quite a remarkable woman.

‘I think she must be one of the oldest season ticket holders at Fratton Park. When I go to the games with them, we almost double the years Pompey have been in existence!’

Meanwhile fans are continuing efforts to pack Fratton Park for the Bristol City match on Saturday through the Pay4aPal incentive. The scheme, which was launched by the Pompey Supporters Trust and Pompey’s 12th Man campaign, calls on fans to buy tickets for fellow supporters who do not usually go to games.

Trust spokesman Scott Mclachlan said: ‘Fans’ generosity through Pay4aPal has made a real difference to people’s lives through the power of Pompey.

‘We already have a great start to our total for Bristol City through online donations from fans like Sue Till and Viv Goward who, while selling 50/50 tickets around the ground, have collected £1,000 from fans through bucket donations.’