Portsmouth loses out in City of Football bid

JUDGES  Sport England looked over Portsmouth from Portsdown Hill as they considered the city to become the first City of Football   Picture: Malcolm Wells
JUDGES Sport England looked over Portsmouth from Portsdown Hill as they considered the city to become the first City of Football Picture: Malcolm Wells

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PORTSMOUTH has lost out to Nottingham in a bid to become the first City of Football, it has been announced.

Sport England revealed the east midlands city is to receive £1.6m to get more people playing the game.

It comes just a week after officials visited Portsmouth to judge its bid.

Clare Martin, chief executive at Pompey in the Community, said: ‘I’m disappointed and quite shocked.

‘I think when everybody knows in their hearts that football is embedded in the city and only your city can win, and it doesn’t, it hits hard.

‘The city put on such a show for the judges on Monday – there could be no question that there could be anywhere more motivated.’

‘I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to take that, bottle it, and use that passion.’

She added she hopes much of what the city’s bid hoped to achieve can be done without the prize money.

And she said that people have taken to Twitter to show a ‘Pompey resilience’.

People have been posting messages of surprise and support on the social networking website.

Steve Baxter, coach of Portsmouth powerchair football, said: ‘Really disappointed that Portsmouth missed out. All those involved in the bid should be very proud of their efforts.’

David Harris said: ‘Can’t believe we didn’t win! It’s been an honour to be involved with @PompeyCOF and the support has been phenomenal, you guys are awesome!’

Sport England said both Portsmouth and the other finalist Manchester showed an ability to change behaviour and work with people to increase the number of people playing football.

The organisation said it will continue to work with Portsmouth.

It added that Nottingham won after showing it worked with the private, public and voluntary sector to focus on people aged between 14 and 25. The east midlands city also worked with its creative quarter.

Phil Smith, Sport England’s director of sport, said: ‘Nottingham has an exciting and inventive response to the challenge of getting more people to play the game and we will look forward to working with them to make this happen.’