‘I think we have a real chance of saving Pompey’

SUPPORT From left, brothers, Forhad and Jaf Ahmed have pledged to buy Pompey shares.  Picture: Allan Hutchings (121253-141)
SUPPORT From left, brothers, Forhad and Jaf Ahmed have pledged to buy Pompey shares. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121253-141)
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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THEY’VE dished out curries to Pompey fans, players and staff over the years – and now two brothers want to give something back.

Forhad Ahmed and his brother Jaf run the Akash Indian restaurant in Albert Road, Southsea, and have been regulars at Fratton Park since they were too short to see over the barriers.

So they didn’t need to be asked twice to support their team by pledging £100 each towards the Pompey Supporters’ Trust community share scheme.

It calls on fans to pledge a minimum of £100 to gauge opinion over a fans-backed takeover bid before having the chance to acquire a full share for £1,000.

Forhad said he and his brother were pledging because they couldn’t bear to see the club they grew up supporting go under.

‘We were born in Portsmouth and the football club is very close to our hearts,’ he said.

‘We used to go to Fratton Park when it was all terraces and take milk crates to stand on because we were too short to see.

‘Working with the restaurant, and in my other job as a photographer, I’ve had a close relationship with the players, the staff and ex-staff members. They come into the restaurant quite a bit.

‘They even brought the FA Cup here and that helped raise £5,000 for a Bangladeshi charity.

‘It brought a lot of good to a community which is very far away. It’s where my mum and dad are from. They will be able to use that money for an incubator because they don’t have one at the moment.

‘So Pompey winning the cup has actually saved a lot of babies in Bangladesh.’

Forhad said he that he hoped the trust’s plan for community ownership could put some power back in the hands of fans.

He said: ‘Most definitely we need an actual loyal fan in charge who is not in it for the money, because in previous days we were none the wiser about what was going on.

‘Even the second time round when things went bad we were the last to find out.

‘We should be more aware and it should be more open with what it actually going on.’

The restaurateur added that while £1,000 might be a lot for a family or individual person to donate, many medium-sized businesses should be able to afford it.

‘We have supported the team life long and it is a significant part of our community,’ he said.

‘Me and my brother were more than happy to pledge and more businesses could do the same.

‘It’s hard for an individual in these difficult times to give that much, but for a business £1,000 might not be too much to ask.

‘If more businesses could get involved, we could have a real chance of doing this. I have a good feeling about it.

‘After all we all benefit on match days when more people come to Southsea. I’ve had customers from as far away as Derby come into the restaurant after games.

‘But more than the money we want the club to survive and we don’t want to keep going through this over and over again.’

Full details of the community buy-out initiative are available at communitypompey.co.uk