Permanent honour to founding fathers in Portsmouth survival

The plaque commemorating the meeting of five people from which the Portsmouth Supporters' Trust was born
The plaque commemorating the meeting of five people from which the Portsmouth Supporters' Trust was born
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The gathering of five supporters whose vision laid the foundations for Pompey’s survival has been commemorated.

It was October 29, 2009, when The Lady Hamilton, in The Hard, staged a meeting involving Barry Dewing, Mark Dewing, Tony Foot, Micah Hall and Ken Malley.

The group had come together to discuss the creation of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, with the ambition to help save the financially-ailing football club.

Supporter ownership subsequently seized control of Pompey in the High Court three-and-a-half years later, fighting off liquidation to provide a platform for the club to thrive upon once again.

Now a blue plaque has been introduced outside The Lady Hamilton to mark that crucial initial congregation.

Foot was one of the founding five and was present for Saturday’s unveiling.

He said: ‘It was all down to the late Ken Malley.

‘We were out in Guimaraes during pre-season and he asked whether I, as a lawyer, knew about the equivalent of housing associations and friendly societies. He had forming a football trust in his mind.

‘I thought no more about it until receiving a call from Ken asking to meet in The Lady Hamilton. I sat with people I hadn’t met before – and then we started having meetings all over the place.

‘In the end, so many people wanted to help Portsmouth. They all had their own different ideas, but the saving grace of the Trust was it galvanised everyone into the same channel, so the pressure could come from one rather than a scatter-gun approach.

'We were a bit naive at first. We weren’t aware of the sort of money involved, but we knew the fans were so powerful and supportive that it was a real goer.

‘The great legacy of the Trust is it got everyone working together for the common end in an efficient way.’

The plaque has been paid for by the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, with current owner of The Lady Hamilton, Ivan Lim, delighted to grant permission.

Former Trust chairwoman Jo Collins was the driving force behind the commemorative move.

She said: ‘It’s important to remember the early days because no PST, no PFC. It’s as simple as that.

‘Whatever else the PST is doing today or may do in the future or has done in the past, fundamentally it’s important every fan remembers what it did, no matter what people may think about it now.

‘Future generations should know these five people had the foresight to organise and get started a supporters’ Trust which has ultimately saved their football club.’