IT’S a contest Pompey Ladies simply have to win.
Thirty clubs are believed to be ready to lock horns in an effort to take the 10 additional spots on offer as part of the revamped FA Women’s Super League, starting in March 2014.
For upwardly-mobile Pompey, missing the boat is just not an option.
After winning their place in the national division of the Premier League last season, the focus is now on further progression.
On Wednesday evening, Pompey outlined their plan for securing a Super League spot with a visionary meeting hosted by partners, the University of Chichester.
Representatives from the FA, Pompey Supporters’ Trust, the Hampshire FA and Portsmouth City Council were among those in attendance.
It was a highly-successful evening, with Blues manager Vanessa Raynbird encouraged by the overriding positivity towards the bid.
She feels the club have plenty to offer if they are handed a place in what would be the new 10-team second tier.
Raynbird said: ‘The Super League are really missing the link in this area.
‘There is nothing on the south coast. There is Chelsea – who are not south coast at all and the next one is probably Bristol.
‘We need to submit our bid by March 4 and we will do it.
‘They will tell us in early June as to whether we have been successful or not.
‘I am really positive. It is so important for us to get accepted.’
Pompey may directly be up against Reading and Brighton if, as expected, they also put in bids for Super League status.
Raynbird is expecting fierce competition.
Bringing in finance will be key to the bid as, football-wise, Pompey can tick the boxes.
She added: ‘We’ve heard that probably 30 clubs are going to be submitting so it’s a big ask.
‘Two thirds of those are not going to make the grade.
‘We have to get more partnerships on board. We have got a few.
‘What we need is partners around us who are prepared to put their hands in their pockets.
‘We have to make £30,000 by next January. That will be our biggest task.
‘The facilities are in place. University of Chichester are absolutely on board.
‘This is a great facility to have and it’s not that far from Portsmouth.
‘They have got most things here. Astro pitch, gym, sports hall. Everything we need to progress and put down on our business plan.’
Hampshire FA are also key partners in the bid and it would be a big boost to their fantastic work in developing the top young players in the county.
Raynbird said: ‘Hampshire Centre of Excellence produce players and a year before they are due to go and play for a club they think “hang on a minute, I’d rather go to Chelsea or Arsenal so let’s see if I can join that centre of excellence and end up playing for a super league club”.
‘If there is something in this area – and the Hampshire FA are really keen to get this off the ground – it will help the centre as well. (Hampshire FA) chairman John Ward certainly wants to make it succeed.
‘There is a lot of money spent on producing players to level they are produced to.
‘Four players from Hampshire have been selected for the England training camp last week.
‘Those players will be good enough to play Super League in a year or two and we need to have them around.’
Pompey chairman Dave Coyle is upbeat about the bid after Wednesday’s meeting.
He said: ‘The evening went very well. Super League is the only way to go for us.
‘The financial side of the business is going to be critical to our application.
‘If we are successful in gaining a place in this league it will only be good for the club.’
To get involved with Pompey’s bid, contact Dave Coyle at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.