THE DAUGHTER of a man who took his own life is calling for fans to unite with a minute’s applause to mark his love of Pompey.
Mark Webster would have been due to celebrate his 63rd birthday on Saturday 26 – the same day his beloved Pompey are due to play Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup.
Sadly Mark, who had a season ticket for the Fratton End, took his own life on June 1 last year after personal difficulties.
Heartbroken daughter, Emma Bryant, is hoping fans will join her in a minute’s applause in the 63rd minute to mark what would have been his 63rd birthday.
‘My father loved Pompey,’ said Emma. ‘He had a season ticket for many years and would often go to home and away games. He started following the football club as a boy when his scout master, also a Pompey fan, would take him to the games. After moving to Baffins he would go to every home game.’
Since the passing of her father, Emma has taken on his season ticket seat.
‘We would often go to the match together where we would start the afternoon with a drink in the Shepherds Crook. I already had a season ticket but since my dad’s passing it just feels right to sit in his seat – even though it is still heartbreaking whenever I go to Fratton. I’m forever catching ghosts, thinking he will join me in the stand at any point,’ added Emma.
One of Mark’s favourite games of recent times was the League Two promotion clinching match in 2017 against Notts County.
‘My dad would often talk fondly about that game,’ said Emma.
‘He would also talk about going out to Gibraltar to watch Pompey in a friendly. He was born in Gibraltar and so really enjoyed that trip.’
As well as commemorating her father, Emma also wants to use his sad passing to increase awareness of men’s mental health.
‘The applause is to remember him but also to act as a reminder to people that if you are feeling down then not to bottle it up and to talk to someone. I don’t think my dad realised how much he was loved and how much he would be missed. I would urge anyone having suicidal thoughts to contact organisations such as the Samaritans or Mind,’ explained Emma.
Mark’s time as a Pompey supporter is already commemorated by a plaque on the North Corner Memory Wall. He also leaves behind two grandchildren.