Appleton: The fans will never give up the fight

Michael Appleton, pictured right with coach Stuart Gray yesterday, has backed Pompey's fans to help them through their latest crisis Picture: Malcolm Wells

Michael Appleton, pictured right with coach Stuart Gray yesterday, has backed Pompey's fans to help them through their latest crisis Picture: Malcolm Wells

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Michael Appleton got set for Pompey’s ‘biggest fight ever’ and insisted: The fans won’t let this club die.

The Blues face a court hearing on Monday, February 20 following a HMRC winding-up petition over an unpaid tax bill of £1.6m.

That could spell the end of the club.

As ever, it is not a fate accepted by the Fratton faithful, who have swiftly united.

The Pompey Supporters’ Trust is leading the way with The 12th Man initiative.

That has been enthusiastically backed by fans across the city in the club’s time of need.

It’s a general reaction which has buoyed Appleton.

And ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Peterborough, the Blues boss has spoken of his admiration for supporters who refuse to give up without a fight.

He said: ‘The reaction of the supporters doesn’t surprise me. When I first knew about the interest of Portsmouth in me, like anything, you do your homework.

‘I have played at Fratton Park before as a player so I know how important football is to the people of Portsmouth.

‘From their point it’s literally the be all and end all.

‘I don’t like people who sulk and moan – I can’t be doing with them.

‘There is no guarantee everything is going to be hunky dory and everyone will live happily ever after all of this. But if the worst happens – which I don’t think it will – but if it did, it certainly won’t be without the biggest fight ever from those fans.

‘You only have to look at the Southampton game when we played a top-of-the-table side.

‘They were playing very, very well coming into that game – and the atmosphere of the place was rocking.

‘The players couldn’t hear you talk, shout, scream at them because the atmosphere was so good.

‘That’s what the fans of the club are like.’

The News have this week joined forces with Pompey and the Trust to launch the ‘Pack the Park’ campaign.

Home matches against Hull (February 4) and Ipswich (February 14) both fall ahead of the court hearing.

Fans are being urged to turn out in their numbers for both matches.

And Appleton has given his support to the show of strength.

He added: ‘If the fans really want to do something and do something positive, it is to fill Fratton Park every week.

‘That is the biggest thing they can do because that will give us the biggest opportunity to win the games.

‘From our point of view, it is about getting the message across that the more people we get through the gates it makes a better opportunity to win the game.’