POMPEY in the Community’s fast-growing walking football club has been given a £9,500 shot in the arm.
And the outfit are set to receive a new recruit – in the shape of Blues chairman Iain McInnes.
The group’s emergence has been boosted after the National Lottery agreed funding which will help secure their future.
It’s recognition for the progress made by the outfit and the benefits they are now offering since their formation.
There’s been huge progress over the past year with their first competition success arriving and sessions going from strength to strength.
The club are now attracting around 30 people up to the age of 70 each week.
The games take place at Pompey’s Roko training base each Monday but, with the additional funding, another session is now in the pipeline for Thursdays.
The cheque is set to be presented at Fratton Park against Carlisle on April 2.
Chairman Alan Scott explained why the funding is so important.
He said: ‘It’s brilliant news and a big boost for us.
‘The money is going to enable us to pay for the cost of coaching, new kits and putting on a second session.
‘We are getting lots of extra people involved and drawing people in.
‘Pompey in the Community and the study centre have been fantastic. So supportive.
‘They have helped in the mechanics of organising and showing the funding will be to the benefit of the community.
‘We showed why it was so beneficial to the people of Portsmouth.
‘It’s so important to have that help and expertise.’
The work of Scott and treasurer and secretary Giorgio Colombi have been key factors in seeing the walking football club getting established.
Scott told how seeing the impact the team is having on its members makes those efforts worthwhile.
The club are working closely with Hampshire FA, who are establishing themselves as a leading county association for walking football.
And the Pompey hierarchy has also shown its backing for the work they doing.
That includes chairman McInnes, who is ready to dust off his boots and shin pads.
Scott said: ‘We have people of all ages get involved.
‘We had a guy come down who was 43 but is recovering from major heart surgery.
‘He heard about what we’re doing and we told him to come down. Suddenly he’s a different person with a twinkle back in his eye again.
‘That shows people are receiving real benefits.
‘The bottom line is people come along and are sometimes a bit wary.
‘But once they see the camaraderie, exercise and social side they get involved.
‘Iain McInnes has also been very supportive.
‘He’s said he would like to be involved and keeps threatening to play!’
– JORDAN CROSS