Portsmouth Football Club are delighted to welcome Vicky Lamb as the new 'Her Game Too' ambassador.
Formerly part of the women's team as a youth player, she started playing football with a group of older boys in the street outside her house at the age of six and immediately became hooked on the game.
Vicky recalls: “My mum went straight out and bought me a Pompey top so I would fit in with the boys.
“From that moment on, I was Pompey through and through and was fortunate enough, from the age of eight, to play for the Portsmouth women’s team in the youth set-ups.
“That was only possible due to my mum and my nan encouraging me no matter what – taking me training whatever the weather.
“They didn’t drive, so would stand with a tea to keep them going and if they couldn’t take me, they made sure I could get there.”
It was Vicky’s mum who took her to Fratton Park for her first Blues game and she was instantly swept up in the noise, excitement and camaraderie of being part of the crowd.
Her highlights of supporting Pompey over the years include seeing them lift the FA Cup in 2008, winning the League Two title on her birthday in 2017 with a 6-1 home victory over Cheltenham and securing promotion to the Premier League in 2002/03.
But alongside the memorable cup runs and trips to places like Anfield and Old Trafford, there have also been difficult times.
She said: “It’s very well known that the main low for fans was the time when we nearly lost our club and were on the verge of liquidation.
“I’m so thankful to the Pompey Supporters' Trust and the fans who clubbed together to buy our beloved club, as there would have been a big hole in the city if it had gone.”
Vicky wants other women and girls to have the opportunity to enjoy football as she has done since childhood and has joined Her Game Too to help create a welcoming environment for all within the sport.
"I feel everyone who is part of Her Game Too wants to see the end goal of sexism being eliminated from sport and a safe space for all being created."
She said: “I had my mum taking me to games so I could go and enjoy everything Portsmouth has to offer, but if you don’t have that it can be daunting. Unfortunately, I have witnessed sexism and been a victim myself.
“My latest experience was a couple of years ago – I had not long been with my partner, now my fiancée, and we drew Southampton in the cup.
“She wasn’t a football fan then, but knew it was a big game and meant a lot to me. She bought tickets for me as a surprise and Tweeted about it, as she knew how happy it made me.
“That Tweet caused online abuse containing sexist and homophobic comments. Luckily since then, I’ve managed to show my partner the good in football and the joy it can bring.
“She’s now a Pompey fan and joins me at games, which is really nice. She loves the atmosphere and how loud the fans can be when they get behind the team.”
Vicky hopes to help organise a dedicated Her Game Too fixture at the club this season and to hold a coffee morning for female fans to interact and build friendships.
She said: “I have lots of ideas, so a meeting with the club is a priority to see what we can achieve together.
“I feel everyone who is part of Her Game Too wants to see the end goal of sexism being eliminated from sport and a safe space for all being created, so I’m really excited to be a part of that.”
Lina Small, head of people and EDI at Pompey, said: “We are pleased to have Vicky on board and trust that together we will continue our journey of making a difference.
“We have already had our first meeting and discussed what can be done to further inclusion at the club.
“Being a part of our community is important to us and we aspire to be a safe space for everyone who wants to enjoy or take part in football.
“Here at Portsmouth FC, we believe that the game belongs to everyone and we’re committed to building an environment where we embrace our differences, and Her Game Too has a big part to play in our journey of promoting equality, diversity and inclusion at the club.”