Former star Rowan heads players backing fans’ Pompey buyout

SUPPORT Rowan Vine in action for Pompey in 2001
SUPPORT Rowan Vine in action for Pompey in 2001
Brett Pitman scores for Pompey in their match against and Southend at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

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A TRIO of former Pompey stars are the latest players to back a fans’ takeover of the club.

Rowan Vine, Richard Hughes and Gary O’Neil have signed up to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust’s community share scheme and pledged to buy a share for £1,000.

The star backing is sure to give the trust a huge boost after it announced last week it needs 1,000 new pledges in order for a ‘viable’ takeover bid to be lodged with Pompey administrator Trevor Birch.

Zoe Ashdown, the wife of Blues goalkeeper Jamie, confirmed Richard and Gary have both signed up to the scheme.

She has been urging her husband’s fellow professionals to follow suit, and has so far managed to spur on 11 Pompey first-team players to offer their support.

Those signed up include Joel Ward, Kanu, Ricardo Rocha and David Norris.

Rowan, 29, is a product of Pompey’s youth system and has returned to his roots to help the club’s fight for survival.

The striker, who plays for Queens Park Rangers and had spells with Luton Town and Birmingham City, said he was more than happy to help the trust’s efforts.

He said: ‘I have known about the trust and keep an eye on what they are doing.

‘I was interested in the scheme and got a letter from them anyway.

‘I made some calls to them and I’m hoping that’s the best outcome.

‘In football, a lot of people say this or that team has got the best fans and a lot of the time it’s not true, but at Pompey it’s well documented that they are die-hard fans and should have had better treatment than they have got over the last few years.’

Rowan, who most recently enjoyed a spell at Gillingham on loan, joined the Fratton Park ranks aged nine and broke into the first team as a teenager in 2000 before leaving for Luton Town in 2005 following a loan spell.

He added: ‘I didn’t want to leave at the time but Pompey has always been one of those results I look out for and one of those places that’s close to my heart.

‘I don’t think there’s any other story of fans that do everything they can to keep the club going.

‘We always look for a knight in shining armour with lots of money but that doesn’t always happen.

‘If Pompey is run by the fans it would be good.

‘They would be proud to do it – I can’t think of anything better.’

He revealed he had a trial with the club last summer under former boss Steve Cotterill and said he would like to play for the club again if the chance came up.

He added: ‘It’s a changing club. I don’t know where the future is but it needs to be sorted.

‘I have been told fans running the club could be the best option and I don’t think supporters would need reminding twice to get involved and be part of the club they cherish so much.

‘You cannot contemplate a club like Pompey going under – it would be an absolute travesty.’

To find out more about the supporters’ trust share scheme, visit communitypompey.co.uk