THEY’VE been through thick and thin with their beloved football club.
But last night Pompey fans raised their glasses to the future following yesterday’s landmark High Court hearing, which gave the Pompey Supporters’ Trust the chance to take over the Blues.
The Shepherds Crook, near to Fratton Park, was packed to the rafters with supporters who were overwhelmed by the news that they now have an even closer connection with their club.
With beaming smiles they chanted ‘Blue Army’ and ‘Let’s All Have a Disco’ like it was Pompey’s 2008 FA Cup Final win all over again.
Summing up his feelings about the occasion, SOS Pompey member Bob Beech said: ‘It means everything to me. We started this process in June 2010 with an organised protest march with SOS Pompey.
‘We never wavered in our belief that today would come, we just didn’t know when that day would be.
‘We can’t change the past, but we can change the future.’
Following the court hearing The Shepherds Crook announced on Twitter that it would hold a celebration for Pompey fans.
All of the profit made, which was about £400, was donated to the trust and thirsty fans drank 320 pints of beer in the space of three hours.
Trust director Mark Trapani and Pompey boss Guy Whittingham also came through the doors and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Of those mingling and singing with the fans was Pompey Supporters’ Trust board member Mick Williams, who was part of the trust’s bid team.
He said: ‘All of the fans here are a part of it.
‘This has been a true community bid.
‘It means we are going to work towards making this a successful club and make it respectable again, because it hasn’t been respectable in the last few years.
‘We are going to include the community.’
Lifelong Pompey fan Dan Waldren, 31, of St Mary’s Road, Milton, Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s amazing, not just for Pompey but for the whole of football.
‘We have shown that football is still pure and still the local man’s sport. The working men have taken over.
‘Today is the start of the revolution.’
Yesterday was a proud day for Jake Payne, 55, of Cosham, because he was one of the founder members of the trust.
‘I am a very proud man,’ he said.
‘It’s a great feeling that all the hard work that was done at the start has been worth it.’
Scott McLachlan, 44, of Southsea, who returned from his epic 92-stadium walking challenge on Sunday, described the emotions he felt.
‘Relief, elation, and really optimism that we (fans) now have a duty of responsibility, because today wasn’t just about Portsmouth Football Club,’ he said.
‘It was about giving others the opportunity to recreate football clubs around the country.’
Talking of the tasks which now face Pompey, Scott said: ‘It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but it will be enjoyable hard work.’
Towards the end of the evening landlord Steve Hudson, 44, served free food to those who had been left worn out by their singing and excited chatter.
‘It’s been really lovely,’ he said.
‘When Guy Whittingham came in everyone gave him a standing ovation.’
Steve said waiting for the court’s decision was agony.
‘I was in bits all day,’ he said.
‘The only sound in my house was my trembling hands and lips.
‘The atmosphere here has been incredible.’
Don’t miss The News today for comprehensive coverage of a momentous day for Pompey fans