THE Fratton faithful have rallied round once again, this time to raise £5,000 to help Pompey Ladies.
And chairman Mick Williams is hoping other generous supporters can follow suit as they bid to hit their target.
Every little help is appreciated, it can make such a difference, and our fans are brilliant at this sort of thing. The response has been massive so far and hopefully we can keep goingMick Williams
Perry Northeast’s team were crowned FA Premier League Southern Division champions last term, while star striker Ini Umotong won a World Cup call-up for Nigeria.
However, players are each asked to pay monthly subs of £20 to represent the Ladies, in addition to funding their own travel.
The situation alarmed Williams, who stepped down from Pompey’s board in March.
This summer he became chairman of Pompey Ladies, while his company Williams & Co are shirt sponsors.
His solution has been to seek season-long sponsorship for the 40 players from the first-team and development group at £200 a head.
So far 25 players have been taken up, with sponsors including Pompey Online.com, Northern Blues, South West Blues and Facebook groups Fratton Faithful, SOS Pompey and All Things Pompey.
And Williams and his wife, Ann, are driving the fundraising to ensure the remaining 15 can follow suit.
He said: ‘These are the FA Premier League Southern Division champions and are asked to pay to represent our club.
‘The first thing we decided was that is not right, so wanted to do something about it.
‘There are teams out there which pay their players and, in our desire to retain our best footballers, asking them to pay to play is not really helpful.
‘Our players are mostly Pompey girls and love playing for the shirt – and we love having them as part of this club.
‘So this year we are determined that none of them should be left out of pocket.
‘The club will meet travel expenses through shirt sponsorship, with Bishops Printers having their names on the back of the shirts.
‘We have also asked the Pompey fans to pay £200 to sponsor a player – and they are once again coming up trumps.
‘Every little help is appreciated, it can make such a difference, and our fans are brilliant at this sort of thing.
‘The response has been massive so far and hopefully we can keep going.’
Anyone wishing to help can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Ann on Twitter @oldpeoplerock