'˜Clubs could learn a thing or two from Pompey', say disabled fans

DISABLED Pompey fans had the chance to meet their idols during an event at Fratton Park yesterday afternoon.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 6:00 am
William Leaning, left, gets a football coaching session from Gregg Baxter, a Portsmouth Powerchair Football Club player Picture: Allan Hutchings (160409-097)

The club’s Victory Lounge was a hive of activity for the Pompey For All session, where players were there to sign autographs.

The action, staged by the Portsmouth FC Disabled Supporters’ Association, was a chance to highlight all the help offered by the Blues to its disabled supporters.

In attendance included the club’s powerchair, amputee and walking football teams who were showing off what they get up to.

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Rob Martin, of Cheltenham Road, Paulsgrove, came to the event with his disabled daughter Maddie, 11, and siblings Bryony, six, Sammie, seven, and Robert, four.

The 55-year-old, who is a Pompey season ticket holder, was stunned by all the activities and help on offer for fans.

He said: ‘Events like this are really putting Pompey at the fore of all league clubs.

‘Honestly, other clubs – not just in the UK but across the world – could take a leaf out of our books on how to support their disabled fans.’

Gregg Baxter, 14, and friend Tom Kerry are both part of Pompey Powerchair Football Club and were showing other youngsters the ropes.

Gregg’s dad Steve is head coach with the team – which is the only one of its kind in the county.

He said: ‘Days like today are vital. It’s a fantastic chance for kids to come down and try the chairs and see that it’s not an easy sport – there’s a lot of skill involved.

Among those at the event included volunteers from Pompey’s new match day audio description service that launched this season.

It provides free commentary for blind and partially-sighted fans.

BBC journalist Niall McCaughan, 21, who commentates for the service during matches said: ‘Football is for all people and not just for people who can see.’