On Tuesday of this week Portsmouth announced that they would be taking part in a lottery scheme that will help boost the funding of the club’s academy.
The initiative encourages supporters to pledge just £2 per week and in return they will be entered into competitions such as weekly cash prize draws, and draws to win amazing experiences that wouldn’t otherwise be available to the general public.
Pompey are hoping that this will enable them to invest a significant amount more into their youth system, and with the players that arch rivals Southampton have produced over the past few seasons, it’s no wonder Portsmouth want to capitalise on the huge array of talent that is developing down on the south-coast.
The 2008 FA Cup winners wrote a new chapter in their prestigious history last April when the supporters finally succeeded in their pursuit of fan ownership. The fans have turned the club around, especially off the field of play.
The club’s finances are in the best state they’ve been in for many a year and the club is now focusing on being as self-sustaining as possible. This is the reason that it’s so important that fans buy into this academy initiative. Extra investment into the south-coast side’s youth system the club will help to produce much better young players.
This is not to say that the current crop of youngsters aren’t up to scratch, the likes of Jack Whatmough, Jed Wallace and Dan Butler are all top youngsters with significant potential. However this system can help the academy take that extra step and help it to further develop players with great potential.
The long-term benefits could really be huge for Portsmouth; the first is that you’ll have more quality youngsters pushing for a place in the first team. This helps the club improve on the field, as Andy Awford will have more capable players to select from. It will also create a real challenge for places within the team that will help the whole squad up its game.
PR & Communications Consultant to Pompey, Colin Farmery reaffirms this point, he said: “Ultimately developing your own players is very important to the football club and we see it as something that we want to support as far as we can.
“We very much see young players as being key to success because if you get young players coming through and we’ve got two or three that are either in the first team or are knocking on the door at the moment.
“That in affect means you don’t have to go outside of your club to sign players, so it’s a very important thing.”
The second benefit is simply that top quality youngsters can be extremely valuable to clubs with little financial muscle, especially if they are tied into long-term contracts. No one should beat around the bush with regard Pompey’s finances anymore, yes they are stable, but that’s really as far as it goes. Although the wage budget is competitive, the transfer kitty isn’t so significant; therefore there are limitations as to what players the club can sign.
If ever the club was looking to cash in on a home grown player then it would allow for investment in other areas of the team, or other areas of the club’s infrastructure, which would benefit the club going forward. Lets take young centre-back Jack Whatmough as an example, he recently signed a deal that will keep him at the club until 2017, and he’s currently 17-years-old. He will be 20 by the time he’s due for a renewal and if he continues to develop at his current rate his value will skyrocket. The scenario would be the same if Jed Wallace decides to renew his contract that expires this summer.
PR & Communications Consultant to Pompey, Colin Farmery said that the early signs of people signing up are very encouraging after reaching approximately 100 signups within the first few days.
“It was officially launched on Tuesday, so we had a launch event at Fratton Park and we had a very good turn out. We were very encouraged by that because over 80 per cent of the people who turned up actually signed up on the night.
“Also many of the fans were taking away leaflets and forms to give to their friends and families to get them involved. We see this as a thing that will capture the imagination of Pompey fans.
“At the moment we’re probably approaching 100 so far, I think it’s a very good starting base but it’s only day one so we’re hoping as the days go by that fans will continue buy into it.”
Let’s put this into a little bit of context, if 100 people are pledging to pay two pounds every week, which means £104 a year, that already guarantees the academy £10,400 of investment.
This figure will grow significantly, that you can be sure off. The spirit and loyalty of the club’s supporters almost guarantees that this figure will increase dramatically. Just look at how many individuals bought shares or bought into a share syndicate, that number is estimated to be around 12,000.
The club has run a lottery scheme before, all the way back in the 1970’s when Eric Coleborn, who is now a club president, started up the scheme when he was working in the commercial department.
This time round though chief executive Mark Catlin told the Portsmouth News that he hopes the Pompey Lottery will eventually raise a six-figure sum. This is certainly a realistic prospect, the club will need just 1,000 signups to reach six figures, so if one-twelfth of the people who bought into the share scheme sign up to this too the club will be there.
For any Pompey fan that wants to find out more about the scheme and see some of the fantastic prizes the lottery has to offer, they can do so by clicking this link.