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Fixture News

Andrew Cullen's Reading Programme Notes

Read the thoughts of Pompey's CEO

17 February 2024

Andrew Cullen
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep
Fixture News

Andrew Cullen's Reading Programme Notes

Read the thoughts of Pompey's CEO

17 February 2024

A very warm welcome to everyone here with us for this afternoon’s Sky Bet League One fixture against Reading, including the 2,000 visiting supporters who have made the relatively short journey from Berkshire.

This match not only features two of the recent form teams in the division, but is set to be played in front of a sell-out crowd – expected to exceed 20,000 for the first time here since January 2011. It comes hot on the heels of another magical occasion under the floodlights on Tuesday, with a hard fought 3-1 victory over Cambridge that attracted 19,445 fans, which is our second highest of the season. We are truly appreciative that so many of you turned out on a wet midweek evening to show your backing for the team. To have our supporters in all four stands around the ground added to the noise and encouragement – and was noted by many of our players in post-match interviews. Replicating a similar atmosphere this afternoon will make another massive difference, which is appreciated by everyone.

Congratulations to Sean Raggett, who on Tuesday made his 227th appearance for the club, which is a new record for a Pompey men’s player in the 21st century. The only disappointment from the game was the injury to the unlucky Tom Lowery and I know everyone – supporters, staff and players – will be rooting for Tom to make a swift recovery from this latest setback.

The Cambridge fixture was watched from the stands by Michael and Jane Eisner, Eric Eisner and Andy Redman. We were delighted they were able to witness another great night at Fratton Park. Michael and the board have spent much of the week in a series of meetings, including receiving an update from the first team staff. They also made a visit to the new cruise terminal at Portsmouth International Port on Wednesday. I am extremely grateful to the Port’s management team for making us all so welcome and showcasing the new facilities there, which are destined to make such a positive impact on our local economy.

They will be back today to watch the clash with Reading after first attending a Heritage & Advisory Board meeting earlier this morning. Tomorrow, Michael, Jane and Eric will travel to Westleigh Park to support our other table-topping team, Pompey Women, against Chatham Town. We hope that many of you will take the opportunity to join us there and boost the team as they seek to take another step forward towards promotion to the newly restructured second tier. We did introduce a range of pre-match family entertainment for the last game there against Hashtag United and will be repeating these initiatives again on Sunday, as we look to not only build our attendances, but – together with our fantastic team of players – inspire a new generation of youngsters to engage in sport and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Today’s game will be played with a unique Puma Rainbow ball, marking our support for LGBT+ History Month and reinforcing our own message that football is for everyone. For every goal scored with the ball across the EFL, Puma will be making a donation to an LGBTQ+ Fans for Diversity Fund. Also, another reminder that our partners Lalys Pharmacy are back with us again to encourage everyone in Portsmouth to consider a blood pressure check, with their stall located in the FanZone behind the Fratton End.

We travel to Charlton next weekend, joined by another incredible sold out away support, before returning to Fratton Park on Saturday, March 2 for the return fixture with Oxford. We are also delighted to confirm that our home meeting with Burton on Tuesday, March 12 sees the return of our ‘Kids for a Quid’ promotion, with those aged 13 or under, accompanied by an adult, able to buy a ticket in rows A-J of the Milton End for just £1. Naturally, these special prices are limited and can be purchased online or from the ticket office.

Finally, thank you very much for your support today and we hope you will be part of an excellent game of football played amidst another cracking atmosphere.

Enjoy the game and PUP!

Andrew Cullen
CEO


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