Market House Tavern, Gosport

BOSS Landlady Ann-Marie Titcombe with her husband Cliff.    Picture: Malcolm Wells (113234-6689)
BOSS Landlady Ann-Marie Titcombe with her husband Cliff. Picture: Malcolm Wells (113234-6689)

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Sports fans couldn’t find a better pub to walk into than the Market House Tavern.

Trophies, certificates and signed shirts line the walls of the Gosport pub as far as the eye can see.

And it’s not just the more traditional games like darts and pool.

You will also find evidence of the pub’s involvement in rugby, netball, cribbage and Australian rules football.

After taking over the pub last year, landlady Ann-Marie Titcombe and her husband Cliff wasted no time in sharing their love of sports with the pub’s regulars.

The pub, in Forton Road, is now a thriving sports bar.

Ann-Marie, 56, said: ‘It was already a community pub so we wanted to carry that on although our emphasis is on sports.

‘When we came back there weren’t really any teams but now we have darts, pool, rugby and a new cribbage team.

‘We don’t just have teams here either, because we like to get out and into the town.

‘So we’ve got netball and Australian rules football which we organise out and about.’

A friendly rivalry between Ann-Marie and her husband is played out on the walls of the pub.

Cliff, a Harlequins rugby fan, proudly displays his club’s flag above the bar – directly opposite that of rivals the London Wasps, which Ann-Marie passionately supports.

She said: ‘There’s a little bit of rivalry goes on there.

‘My son and daughter support opposite teams too so it’s quite funny.’

Keen to boost the pub’s sports credentials, Ann-Marie is looking for enough players to start a regular football team at the pub.

But it isn’t just sports memorabilia which covers the walls.

A violin, an historical map of Gosport and a giant print of the New York Times from the day the RMS Titanic sank are all dotted around the bar.

Most of the quirky items are a mystery, having been left by previous owners and regulars.

Ann-Marie added: ‘People like looking at the things we have on the walls.

‘They are always asking about them.

‘Some of the things were here when we took over last and we’re not sure where they came from but it’s all quite interesting.’

In an effort to find out more about the pub’s past, Ann-Marie is now working on a list of former landlords.

MEET THE LANDLORD

ANN-MARIE Titcombe and her husband Cliff have lived in Gosport for 28 years.

The pair have run the Market House Tavern in Forton Road since July 2010.

But it wasn’t the first time they had set foot in the pub, as they were the landlords 24 years ago.

Ann-Marie and Cliff quit the industry to bring up their children but returned to their former pub to start again.

Ann-Marie, 56, said: ‘It’s a way of life, not just a job.

‘You meet some interesting people and also make some new friends.

‘We had this pub 24 years ago and we left it but we came back last July.

‘We came out of the business because my kids were little and came back with the aim of making it a real local.

‘It was different when we came back but a lot of old faces were still here.’

The couple’s love of sports is played out for all to see on the walls of their pub and pictures of vintage racing cars are a tell-tale sign of Cliff’s occupation as a mechanic.