Jamie Ashdown saves shots and now tries to save Portsmouth
The season is over for Portsmouth’s longest-serving player but he is busy helping raise cash for the stricken club
When Jamie Ashdown joined Portsmouth in 2004 the goalkeeper’s chief concern, after being given a tour of the training facilities and shown plans for a new stadium, was saving shots. He did not expect, eight years on, to be joining a fight to save the club itself.
At the end of March the Pompey Supporters Trust launched its attempt to raise money in order to buy the club out of administration, with supporters asked to donate a minimum of £100 in order to register their interest in buying a £1,000 share. Two weeks ago after being approached by fans at Fratton Park, Ashdown, the club’s longest serving player, pledged his contribution to the scheme and has since been attempting to get team-mates and former colleagues to follow suit.
“I didn’t really understand it at first, so I talked it over with my wife, Zoe, we both had a look at it and got the ball rolling,” he says. “It seemed like a great idea. And we thought it would be good idea if other players wanted to get on board and start something unique, raising awareness of what is going on at the club, how the situation c ould be resolved by jumping in together. To bring the club together again, this time with the fans, we thought would be a brilliant idea.
“The response from the players has been good. There’s still a problem with understanding what it is and what’s at stake. But once they understand it they think it’s a great idea. I know £1,000 each doesn’t go a long way but everyone is entitled to put in as much as they want. For all I know, some players have put in more, but they don’t want to make it known. They just want to help out the club.
“It’s not so much about the money, it’s about getting behind it. I’ve been at the club for eight years and I you want to get involved. Not everyone agrees with the scheme, but there’s no harm in trying. I think in a year’s time we’ll look back and feel glad that we’ve done it.”
The 31-year-old Ashdown, like any striker worth his salt when asked at the start of the season, does not want to set a target, but 1 1 players have now signed up, with a fan also pledging to match all the players’ bids. With the administrator Trevor Birch last week rating the chances of the club’s survival as 50-50 and warning that it only has enough cash to last until June time is of the essence. The Football League’s 2 June meeting could prove to be judgment day.
“There’s still two or three weeks left for the Trust to get everyone’s efforts in,” says Ashdown, who is out of contract this summer. “At the end of the day it’s going to be down to somebody coming in with a lot of cash to make this work. That’s the harsh truth of it.” Read More