Fans must be involved in any new owner’s plans

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COMMENT: A business community that is simply the best

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The noise generated by Pompey fans at last night’s match against Ipswich was a reminder, as if any were needed, of exactly how much the club means to them.

Fratton Park was rocking as once again they got behind their team in a fantastic show of support, despite the defeat.

Campaign group SOS Pompey had launched a Love Pompey initiative ahead of the game to pick up on the Valentine’s Day theme and fans certainly showed the love that they have for the Blues.

After all that’s happened off the pitch, with the club deep in debt and now seemingly about to enter administration for the second time in two years, people could have been forgiven for feeling a sense of despair and dejection.

But instead we saw them put on a powerful display of passion and solidarity.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. We sincerely hope that, in Pompey’s case, the darkest hour is before the dawn.

The club is much more than somewhere people gather to watch football matches.

It is an integral part of Portsmouth and surrounding areas and the city’s prosperity and the mood of its people are directly affected by the fortunes of Pompey.

That’s why, if somehow a buyer can eventually be found to take the club forward into a new chapter of its long and illustrious history, then we believe those magnificent fans must be involved in the way it is run.

Any potential purchasers must recognise that a partnership with supporters, where they have a stake in the club that means so much to them, has to be the best way forward.

This isn’t a romantic notion, but good business sense.

In the meantime we call on the government to be much more proactive when it comes to understanding the importance of clubs like Portsmouth to their communities.

Politicians need to look at ways they can be protected from getting into a position where they face threats to their very existence.

Because football clubs are much, much more than businesses. They are part of the very fabric of local life.