United in support – how the internet has helped the Trust’s ownership fight

The Pompey Supporters' Trust's Mick Williams, right, accepts a cheque for �16,000 from internet syndicate duo Steve McLenaghan and Steve Pearse
The Pompey Supporters' Trust's Mick Williams, right, accepts a cheque for �16,000 from internet syndicate duo Steve McLenaghan and Steve Pearse

They have been branded the noisy minority, derided as dreamers and sneered at for desiring to drive out the ghosts of ownerships past.

Nonetheless, some Pompey fans have raised almost £1.4m for the Pompey Supporters’ Trust in their ongoing bid to take control of the Blues.

In addition, those six high-net-worth individuals – of whom five are life-long Blues supporters – have contributed around £1m.

Still there are others who mock, though – followers from down the road as well as fellow members of the Fratton faithful.

There are those who will never be convinced or persuaded.

Steve Pearse and Steve McLenaghan had no such interest in sniping from the sidelines.

It was at the end of August when the website posters on Truebluearmy.com – who had never met – decided to join forces.

Their concept was to use the internet – namely Pompey messageboards and Facebook pages – to unite fans and raise funds for the Trust.

Offering Pearse’s PayPal account, the idea was put into motion.

To date, the pairing have collected more than £16,000 – effectively 16 shares in the club should the Trust complete their purchase.

Contributions have poured in from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Spain, France and Switzerland.

An envelope containing 5,000 yen arrived from Japan, while even several Southampton supporters have donated.

It is a remarkable show of faith which has staggered McLenaghan and Pearse.

McLenaghan, from Cosham, said: ‘There are some out there with an ulterior motive and agenda against the Trust.

‘This so-called silent majority haven’t got together and tried to do anything to my knowledge.

‘If someone else came up with another idea then good luck to them. But the Trust have achieved a lot more than those people.

‘Some of us have worked so hard to get to this stage.

‘It is so easy to sit there and tap a keyboard having a moan about the Trust.

‘Why don’t you get down to these meetings, get involved and have your say?

‘You’ve clearly got a big voice and opinion.

‘We set up this share syndicate for people online unable to give £1,000 but who wanted to contribute.

‘There is no minimum or maximum amount, just give what you feel you are able to.

‘I think it’s a common sense way of doing it and an ideal opportunity for people to jump on board and feel they have contributed to their football club.

‘Now we have more than £16,000. Hundreds and hundreds of people have put in money and it reflects the community spirit which exists.

‘The knockers of the Trust have almost assisted us because we have also been able to use messageboards to answer questions and explain things about the Trust.

‘It stands to reason some are worried about the Trust not having enough money, but it is down to us to solve that problem.

‘It’s money into your football club. Finally, after 30-40 years we now know there are people who are going to run this club thoroughly and properly.

‘Your money going straight back into your club – what more can you want?’

While it was McLenaghan’s idea to form a syndicate, it was Pearse who had the PayPal account for fans to utilise.

The 56-year-old, from Gosport, has since publicised his account via Truebluearmy, Pompey online.com, the Fratton Faithful (portsmouth-mad.co.uk) and on several Pompey Facebook pages.

The money subsequently handed over to the Trust has then been deposited into an Escrow account overseen by North Harbour solicitors Verisona, who have been acting for the Trust throughout.

Headed by Pompey fans Ian Peach and Mike Dyer, they have been dealing with the acquisition of the club, as well as carrying out all legal work in the long-running attempt to take it out of administration.

The Escrow account also contains pledges fulfilled by 1,300 of the 2,000 initially pledged by supporters.

Once a Trust takeover is completed, many others are expected to complete the £1,000 share option.

In the meantime, the Pearse and McLenaghan syndicate is still going strong across messageboards as it strives for a 17th share.

Pearse added: ‘There has been a ridiculous amount of people who have got involved. The generosity of these people blows me away every time.

‘We started off looking to raise £1,000 – now I’m targeting £25,000.

‘A guy I hardly know came round my house with a cheque for £500. I’ve had 5,000 yen which works out as £34.64. Some people have also made multiple contributions.

‘I have even got money off Southampton fans. Not a lot, one at work gave me £2.50, but they have given £40-50 so far.

‘We’re well aware with every piece of good news that there is a rush of people wanting to donate. When details of the Trust exchanging contracts came out we collected £2,000 in a few days.

‘There are a lot of anti-Trust people. There are also those who want to go on a Saturday afternoon for a shant and a swear and to walk away moaning about the referee.

‘Forget somebody charging round the corner on a white stead, that’s not happening. We need to find a new way going forward.

‘I have met some of the Trust board and been very impressed with them.

‘They are very professional and mad Pompey fans with the club at heart – like us.’

Anyone wishing to contribute to the duo’s syndicate can e-mail pearsey657@hotmail.co.uk – with the paypal account under the same user name.