Fans welcome a bright new dawn

THIS IS FOR THEM Fans applaud their team during Pompey's clash with Sheffield United at Frattton Park on Saturday. Picture: Sarah Standing (131084-299)
THIS IS FOR THEM Fans applaud their team during Pompey's clash with Sheffield United at Frattton Park on Saturday. Picture: Sarah Standing (131084-299)
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POMPEY Supporters Trust chairman Ashley Brown was right when he described the break of Saturday as ‘How fitting, a beautiful sunny dawn’.

Mr Brown used the desciprion on social networking site Twitter on Saturday morning – and for Pompey fans, the sun just wouldn’t stop shining.

Because despite it being only four days since Pompey had its relegation to League Two confirmed, fans were having their biggest party since the FA Cup parade in 2008.

It all began at 8pm on Friday, when the deal was done between Pompey administrators BDO and the Pompey Supporters Trust to buy the club.

It was the culmination of 14 months of hard slog, a battle fought on all fronts.

At times it felt as if the deal was stagnating, as if its opponents would nudge ahead in the race for the keys to the football club.

But once an out-of-court settlement was reached between former club owners Portpin and BDO to allow Fratton Park to be sold to the PST, it was just a question of how quickly the paperwork could be turned round.

Many fans woke to the news the takeover had been completed on Saturday morning, just a few hours ahead of the final home game of the season at Fratton Park against a promotion-hopeful Sheffield United side.

And then almost better news came from the Football League: Pompey’s a 10-point deduction for remaining in administration for two seasons would be applied this season.

The deduction was met with joy, because there had been a real fear that the penalty would be applied next season, leaving Pompey starting at a disadvantage.

The Football League decision meant Pompey – already relegated – would be able to begin in League Two with a clean sheet.

For the next five seasons the club will have restrictions on playing budgets, future borrowing and loan repayments.

But that’s fine, because as far as the fans are concerned, the days of Pompey being run into the ground financially are over.

So, from the moment the Portsmouth Football Club Player of the Year trophy was awarded to the fans as a whole, rather than a single footballer, the party in the park had begun.

And the players rose to the occasion on the pitch, for the first half at least.

The singing hardly stopped, and as first one, then two, and finally a third goal was scored, the chant was taken up of glory, glory Portsmouth city – and what a glorious day it was.

Fan Alex Macanally, 56, from Stamshaw, had tears in his eyes as he left Fratton Park after the match.

He said: ‘The last time I cried at the football was when we won the FA Cup. I don’t really know why I’m crying now – probably just relief that we won’t be going under after all. For a long time it looked to me like we might. It’s just a big, big relief.’

The chant ‘we will never, we will never, we will never die’ rang out around Fratton Park during the match, as of course did the Pompey Chimes, urging the Blues to play up.

Another fan, Brian Esher, 43, from Southsea, said: ‘We couldn’t have asked for a better end to everything, with the result today.

‘It was fantastic.’

As is tradition at the end of the final home game of the season, the players and their families came back out on to the pitch to do a lap of honour, applauding the cheering, standing fans as they did so.

Pompey boss Guy Whittingham dedicated Saturday’s win to the fans, saying: ‘This win is our ‘thank you’ to the fans, plain and simple. They have stuck with us through thick and thin. The fans have never, ever stopped.

‘This is for them.’