People pledge support for city of football bid

TITLE BID Portsmouth is hoping to be named City of Football
TITLE BID Portsmouth is hoping to be named City of Football

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FANS and businesses have pledged their support for Pompey to become an official City of Football.

Sport England is offering to fund one city with £1.6m in a move to increase the number of children aged 14 and over playing the game.

The Portsmouth bid is being run by Pompey in the Community (PitC) and now it is ready to be submitted. Portsmouth’s application needs to show how the supporters will boost player numbers.

Clare Martin, director of community projects for PitC, said: ‘The support we have received from the city is phenomenal. It’s been amazing, especially for everybody to come together in such a small timescale.

‘The message got out there because the letters have poured in.

‘It reminded me of how the city got together to sort the club out. The city saved football and now we want to give football back to the city.’

The money would go towards increasing the number of people playing football in all different forms, from five-a-side teams to full teams.

A total of 46 letters of support have been received by residents and businesses across the city.

Those who have signed up backing the bid include Portsmouth City Council, Faith & Football and Goals Portsmouth.

At this stage, the city had to submit an Expression of Interest in the bid.

Clare added: ‘Portsmouth is the city of football.

‘People love their football club – it’s at the heart of the city. There are few cities where it is so integrated. Even if you are a fan of a bigger club you are still a Pompey fan at heart.’

Clare said she has been overwhelmed by the responses of the general public.

‘Some of the letters from fans are amazing,’ she said.

‘People have been saying how much they want the city to get it because they know how passionate the city is and how much of a difference it will make to the moral and health of the city.

‘It will make a huge difference. It’s got Pompey written all over it.’

Southampton has also submitted a bid to win the title.

Sport England will announce the shortlisted cities at the beginning of next month when they will be invited to submit a full bid.