The current dire situation down the road at Fratton Park has been well publicised. Two other small local clubs are both seemingly facing tough times as well, each for different reasons.
Andover FC’s current financial situation is, relatively speaking approaching the level of trouble Portsmouth are finding themselves in. The club have a debt of around £15,000 and have recently had to tell the players and management that they would be unable to pay their travel expenses. From a supporter’s point of view, the rumours that have been floating around the Portway Stadium seem to suggest the club’s plight has been a gradual one over the course of the season. With the recent announcement, understandably, players that have not been prepared to travel to Andover two or three times a week from (amongst other places) Southampton, Portsmouth and Newbury, have moved on to other clubs. The excellent commitment from the management staff and remaining players has been plain to see with some very encouraging performances on the pitch. But it’s the situation off the pitch that is the greatest worry, with talk of voluntary relegation popping up in the local paper. Without investment and outside parties coming in and rescuing the club, worse might be yet to come.
Onto Winchester City, where supporter unrest is the problem. Ironically it is the consortium that effectively rescued the club from near extinction just over a year ago that is being targeted. Supporters have become disillusioned with the running of the club and many have since boycotted attending matches, some opting to attend the games of local neighbours Alresford Town. The Hampshire Chronicle featured an article last week outlining how owner Paul McCarthy and his board have set their sights on improving the club’s image in the town and attracting more supporters through the gates after spending a reported £10,000 on a new club website. However, an unofficial supporters forum has seen a huge backlash from fans slamming the new website and the current regime, with some stating that there wouldn’t be the need for this PR exercise if the club was being run correctly in the first place.
Two clubs, who in previous seasons have held a fierce rivalry, with two very different but quite serious problems.