Chief executive officer Peter Storrie has issued a rallying cry to Portsmouth fans, urging them to fill Fratton Park to full capacity, at least for the upcoming games ahead.
The Blues have had gates of less than 18,000 for the first two league games this season, despite an estimated 200,000 fans appearing at the parade celebrating Pompey’s most recent FA Cup victory.
Pompey face Bolton Wanderers in a crucial league game this Saturday, with Paul Hart’s men hoping at least to pick up their first point of the season.
Yet despite this fact, there are at least 4,500 seats still available, which is shocking.
And in my opinion, it isn’t as though this match is expensive. There are many offers running, particularly for children.
‘Kids for a quid’ is the slogan being run by Pompey, if accompanied by an adult. This offer only applies to the Milton (Apollo) End, however.
Adults would still have to pay the normal sum, but even if they feel they are unable to make it, children can go in unaccompanied for a fiver.
A fiver to see Premier League football? Bargain.
On top of that, Storrie has asked the Pompey Study Centre to give away 1,000 free tickets to local schools.
These tickets will be distributed to 20 local schools who are a part of the PFC Double Club initiative.
The Pompey Double Club scheme is delivered in Pompey-themed classrooms and uses club-themed work material to help motivate, enthuse, inspire and encourage children in Portsmouth schools with learning around literacy and numeracy.
He is literally trying everything to increase the capacity, and through his interview with pfcTV, a sign of frustration seemed to appear.
He said: “We’ve listened to a lot of fans and dropped the prices.
“We did a lot in the transfer market in August and we think we’ve got a squad capable of having a go.
“I like to think that the fans will take that on board, come out in their numbers and support us.
“We understand that things are tight – that’s why we’ve dropped the prices.
“But we can’t be in a position every week where we’ve got five or six thousand tickets that aren’t going.
“If they don’t go then we’ll have to look at offering the whole of the Milton end (Apollo Stand) to some of the visiting sides so we fill the stadium up.
“We’ve done all we can. It’s up to the fans to support the team and make the atmosphere even better.”
What a sad state of affairs it is when ‘fans’ cannot even turn up to support their local team. I know we’re going through a difficult time financially, but I’m sure there are plenty of children who can afford £5 to watch the game.
And what an opportunity it is to take your son, or daughter to the game at such a cheap price?
It’s always struck me as odd how the bigger games against United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are close to or are sell-outs, when the likelihood of Pompey winning is very small.
Yet in games where we’re facing equal or lesser opposition, fans fail to show up, as though they prefer to see their team lose majestically rather than win comfortably?
Okay, so maybe I am being optimistic when I say ‘comfortably’, but playing Bolton on Saturday is as good a chance as ever to pick our first three points up of the season.
Bolton are also currently pointless, sitting one place above Portsmouth in the league.
One of Pompey’s strongest attributes in the past was it’s 12th man. Yet that man seems to be fading, no longer as an advantage but an annoying ‘ner, ner, ner, ner’ sound in the background.
I fully believe in Storrie’s words, as he and every other loyal fan knows, the club’s going to have a tough time this season and needs all the support it can muster.
It’s certainly not gaining any support from the mainstream media – particularly Shaun Custis of The Sun.
The last thing I heard Custis to say was that any player to join Portsmouth this season will ultimately regret it. Cheers for that…how are your team doing, in the Championship?
If the club’s attendances become smaller in size, it’s just another thing for the media to attack us for, something that won’t help the team at all.
The club needs it’s support; if only the ‘loyal’ fans at the FA Cup parade could take that into account…
(Edit – I do take into account some peoples’ predicaments, geographical locations etc. But I doubt 180,000 could all share one similar excuse.)
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