‘Portsmouth? There’s really nowhere that I would rather be...’

PRIDE Pompey's commercial director Lucius Peart.     Picture: Allan Hutchings (111250-687)
PRIDE Pompey's commercial director Lucius Peart. Picture: Allan Hutchings (111250-687)
Students at the merged Havant and South Downs College receiving their results this morning Picture: Tamara Siddiqui

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In the first of a series of stories by prominent city figures, Pompey brand manager Lucius Peart tells us why he has a Passion for Portsmouth.

If I had to explain why I have Passion for Portsmouth I would give three reasons: Our people, our past, and our potential.

I have worked in Portsmouth for four years and they have been the most interesting and exciting years of my life.

In that time I have been involved with two FA Cup finals, one administration and one rebirth, so it has certainly been eventful.

Football is a very emotive issue, so we’re always going to get strong opinions. Our fans are rightly seen as the most passionate in the country.

And that passion is hard to deny when you see us go to Reading and out-sing the home supporters.

It always makes my working day interesting – in the more than 1,000 days I have been working for Portsmouth FC no two have been remotely the same.

After the football club won the FA Cup there was a five per cent increase in the birthrate 10 months later, so that shows just how much passion it inspires.

People in this city are also fiercely loyal, and have never turned their backs on us through all the tough times.

As for the city itself, there is such a rich heritage here.

There are huge cultural figures like Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Charles Dickens and even Pompey’s most famous goalkeeper, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

That’s before you even get on to the naval dockyard and the Mary Rose.

I think you would struggle to come up with so much amazing history for most cities in the country. When you talk about Portsmouth it’s not a question of what do you mention, but what do you leave out?

And there is so much more we have to look forward to in the future.

We have two new aircraft carriers being built, a football team which is growing and becoming more stable, new business and education programmes being set up in the city and amazing events like Southsea Carnival and the Great South Run.

One of my biggest frustrations is that people from outside can form a negative view of the city, but when you ask them if they’ve seen the historic dockyard or had a picnic on Southsea Common, they often just look blankly at you.

Wonderful as it is, I don’t think you can form a view of Portsmouth just from visiting Gunwharf Quays.

When I’m standing in Fratton Park in October, with all the fans looking into the low sun, or enjoying a cold beer on a hot day down near Camber Docks, or coming over Portsdown Hill on a clear day with the city shining in the sun, there’s nowhere I would rather be.