Williams: Pompey saved us from folding

Mick Williams
Mick Williams
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Pompey Ladies would have folded had the Blues’ not intervened.

Mick Williams has revealed the precarious position faced by the Ladies as he battled to win inclusion under the Fratton Park banner.

Williams, who is in the process of handing over his role as chairman, believes he has ploughed in approaching £70,000 since taking over the club’s helm in March 2015.

However, this summer he was faced with closing down the Ladies unless Pompey could be persuaded to take them on board.

On Friday, a Ladies’ life-saving deal was agreed, bringing them under the Blues’ umbrella, with Mark Catlin to implement a ‘cost neutral’ restructure.

However, Williams will still contribute a lump sum over the next three years to ease the transition.

And the former Pompey board member admitted it had been a tough process.

He said: ‘We would have folded without Pompey, Ann (his wife) and I couldn't do it any more.

‘If you have an expensive hobby and are enjoying it then great, but if it is stressing you out, then what’s the point?

‘As it was, we would have folded before the season’s start – but that was never going to happen as far as I was concerned.

‘Since becoming chairman in 2015, we have spent between £60-70,000.

‘My wife has done brilliantly to get sponsorship for almost every player, but sometimes our gates don’t even cover the cost of the ground hire.

‘Mark Catlin has been brilliant, a massive, massive help, and while the reserves have been cut, which is a great shame, the cementing of the relationship between the ladies and the men is immense.

‘It has been hard work, I’ve enjoyed it until the last little while, but it became too much for us.’

As part of the deal, Pompey Ladies will now play home matches at Baffins Milton Rovers.

Last season saw them host opposition at Bognor, Havant, Petersfield, Littlehampton, Fratton Park, Gosport, Portchester and Furze Lane.

And Williams believes that uncertainty affected attendances.

He added: ‘I think we’ll probably get 150-200 gates regularly now.

‘We were often scratching around for a ground to play on – and the fans didn’t know where to watch us.

‘At Havant we averaged 170 over the opening five matches, but at Littlehampton and Bognor the gates were 50.’​​​​​​

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