Ward vows to fight for fans

120536-001_POMPEY_IPSWICH_SR_14/2/12'Pompey vs Ipswich at Fratton Park.''Joel Ward and Jason Pearse salute the Fratton End.''Picture:Steve Reid (120536-001)
120536-001_POMPEY_IPSWICH_SR_14/2/12'Pompey vs Ipswich at Fratton Park.''Joel Ward and Jason Pearse salute the Fratton End.''Picture:Steve Reid (120536-001)
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

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Joel Ward spoke of the unique relationship between Pompey’s players and fans and promised them: We’ll fight to the death for you.

The hometown boy paid tribute to the Fratton faithful after their show of defiance following last night’s 1-0 defeat to Ipswich.

There were emotional scenes following the final whistle when fans stayed and made a vocal stand, with their club again battling to stay alive.

Blues players and staff then returned to the pitch and gave an impromptu salute in a moving show of unity, followed by manager Michael Appleton.

Ward and Jason Pearce, who both stayed at Pompey in the face of continued interest from Ipswich, led the way on that front.

The 22-year-old from Emsworth explained the players wanted to acknowledge the followers who are again ready to answer the club’s latest call-to-arms.

And he vowed they would scrap to the bitter end to keep their club in the Championship this season.

Ward said: ‘We wanted to show our gratitude to the supporters. They have shown tremendous loyalty and what they are all about – and we want to repay them.

‘We want to show them we’re there for them as well.

‘We are going to fight, pick up points and do it for them now.

‘They are superb. They have been with the club through thick and thin but still support us.

‘They stick with us week-in, week-out. They are the best fans in the country and every club knows that.

‘It’s tremendous to see them making their point clear.

‘It was disappointing not to give them some points, but we’ll keep on fighting for them.

‘We could have got something out of the game with the disallowed goal, but we are going to fight all the way.

‘We have to move forward, stay together and stay united. We know we’ve got the fans with us.

‘We’ve got a special connection with the fans. They are the loudest and the most passionate and are staying behind us.’

Hungarian hitman Marko Futacs admitted he’d never seen scenes like those which followed the full-time whistle.

Pompey’s players and staff are still waiting to receive their wages, with the High Court hearing to decide whether the club will go into administration set for Friday.

The striker insisted that wait for payment had no impact on his pride in being part of Pompey’s fight to stay in the English game’s second tier.

Futacs said: ‘It’s the first time I’ve seen something like that from supporters. It’s amazing, so now we have to give that something extra for them.

‘I’m very, very proud to wear the Portsmouth shirt no matter what the situation is with the club right now.

‘I don’t care. We are staying together as a team.’