FOOTBALL fans are being called to help pay tribute to one of Pompey’s most staunch supporters after his sudden death.
Steve Keyte, of Carisbrooke Road, Southsea, had been a Blues fan all his life and watched in excess of 2,000 home and away games during his lifetime.
However, the 70-year-old granddad of two died unexpectedly on Saturday following a kidney operation days before at Queen Alexandra Hospital, leaving his heartbroken family devastated.
Now his loving wife, Sheila, has issued a rallying cry to all the fans at Portsmouth Football Club to give her husband a one-minute standing ovation on the 70th minute of Pompey’s game against Scunthorpe United on Saturday.
The plea has already been shared on social media by Steve’s son, Ben, who has been inundated by messages of support.
Ben, 38, said: ‘This has been amazing for all the family to see. I’ve had messages from people I don’t even know saying what a lovely guy my dad was.
‘It gives us great comfort as a family. It really shows us just how much he was loved.
‘We know that it would have meant the world to him to see Pompey fans giving him a round of applause at the game.’
Lifetime season ticket-holder Steve had been involved with Pompey for the best part of 50 years, both as a fan and as a key figure behind the scenes.
In 1968 he founded the Portsmouth Football Club ladies’ team, supported by Sheila – who was a player.
During the 1960s he was also part of the action group at the club which raised money to support the Blues.
Then, in 1976 he was part of the SOS Pompey campaign trying to save the club from administration.
More recently, Steve was among the hundreds of fans who dug into their own pockets to form the Pompey Supporters Trust to pull the club from the brink of collapse in 2013.
Mick Williams had known Steve for the best part of 50 years and was crushed by the death of his pal.
Mick, who was the club’s director until 2015, had worked alongside Steve and his wife throughout his time at Pompey, helping to set up a women’s football club as well as staging countless of the club’s community events in the city.
‘Steve was a staunch Pompey fan,’ said Mr Williams. ‘He has been for 50 years. He was without a doubt he was one of the club’s biggest fans.
‘We’ve got thousands of fans that love Pompey so much but there are none like Steve.
‘He was incredibly funny and just a nice guy.
‘His death is a real loss for the club but hopefully the fans will show their appreciation on Saturday – I know I certainly will.’
Pompey’s next game is kicking off at Fratton Park at 3pm.
A spokesman from Pompey said: ‘Portsmouth Football Club were very sorry to learn about the death of Steve, who was a committed Pompey fan.
‘We’re sure that fellow supporters will get behind his family’s request for a minute of applause on Saturday.’
Steve leaves behind his wife, Sheila, sons Mark and Ben, daughters-in-law Debbie and Alex and his two grandchildren, Callum, 15, and Josh, 13.