Pompey-mad Sheila pledges her support for fans’ buyout plan

SUPPORT Sheila Oatley, 75, from Fareham, has put �100 into the Pompey Trust's Share Scheme.  Picture: Sarah Standing (121232-8533)

SUPPORT Sheila Oatley, 75, from Fareham, has put �100 into the Pompey Trust's Share Scheme. Picture: Sarah Standing (121232-8533)

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SHE’S followed Pompey for more than six decades. So Sheila Oatley didn’t think twice in joining hundreds of others in a bid to buy her beloved club.

The 75-year-old, of Fairfield Avenue in Fareham, has donated £100 to the Pompey Supporters’ Trust community share scheme.

The initiative calls on fans to pledge an initial £100 to find out if a community buyout of Pompey could be possible.

If enough fans pledge £100, they will have the chance to buy a full share for £1,000.

Sheila, a season ticket holder in the upper North Stand, has been watching her beloved Blues for more than 60 years.

She said: ‘I did it because I want to help and want Pompey to survive.

‘It would break my heart if they ceased to exist – it’s not worth thinking about.

‘The scheme is a great idea. I will be pledging £100 first and if it goes ahead I will have one share.

‘I’m a pensioner and cannot afford any more.’

Her love affair with Pompey started when her father Albert took her to Fratton Park to watch Pompey fall to a 2-0 defeat against Sunderland.

They travelled over from the Isle of Wight – her birthplace – for the match and, although it was raining, Sheila caught the Pompey bug and has been an ardent fan ever since.

Her favourite ever player was the legendary Len Phillips, who passed away last year.

The checkout operator, who works at the Asda supermarket in Fareham, said she will be dipping into her savings to support the trust’s scheme.

She said: ‘I’m well-known as a Pompey fan around Asda.

‘I work part-time and when Pompey play on Sundays they are very helpful in swapping my shifts or giving me the day off.’

She added: ‘It’s really important for me that Pompey survive.

‘I am very hopeful this scheme will work.

‘I don’t know if the fans could run it completely on their own but hopefully we could do it in partnership with someone else.

‘But please God let it happen.

‘It takes a lot of money to run a football club these days and to get it up and running.

‘It’s difficult to say all fans should do it because lots cannot afford it but they can get a syndicate together and have a share, that would be a nice idea.’

Sheila said she will be travelling to St Mary’s Stadium tomorrow for the derby clash with Southampton, branding it a ‘special’ fixture.

Not only has she pledged her support to save Pompey, the committed fan has always dreamed of investing millions of pounds into her team.

She added: ‘I always say to my brother in America that if I won the Euro Millions lottery I would put £5m into Pompey straight away!

‘I don’t need that much money at my age.

‘I’m an ardent supporter – I go to away games and as many matches as possible.’

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

FANS wanting to take part in the trust’s scheme need to make a £100 pledge as it gauges support for a fans bid.

If enough sign up, they will be asked to commit to a share for £1,000 as the trust makes its takeover bid.

The money will be put into a secure account, but will be returned minus a 2.5 per cent charge if fans opt out at any time or a takeover attempt is not made.

Trust spokesman Scott Mclachlan said: ‘Whatever money you put into the account, you will be charged 2.5 per cent if you want it returned.

‘It’s only £100 to have a look into the share scheme.’

To find out how to sign up, visit communitypompey.co.uk

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