Pub loved by Pompey fans puts itself at the heart of community

REGULARS From left, 'Smudger' Smith, 70, 'Lofty' Churchill, 41, with his son Leo Churchill, two, William Cooper, 25, Landlord Adi Manning, 42, with Brian Hunt, 66, John Churchill, 67 and Pete Sumner, 69.     Picture: Malcolm Wells (111829-4694)
REGULARS From left, 'Smudger' Smith, 70, 'Lofty' Churchill, 41, with his son Leo Churchill, two, William Cooper, 25, Landlord Adi Manning, 42, with Brian Hunt, 66, John Churchill, 67 and Pete Sumner, 69. Picture: Malcolm Wells (111829-4694)
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FOR many thirsty football fans, the Good Companion is the first port of call.

Just a short walk from Fratton park, the large traditional pub on Eastern Road, Milton, welcomes Pompey and away supporters alike and still manages to maintain a friendly atmosphere.

Fans of all ages mingle on match days among old-fashioned pictures that show city landmarks, and pictures from when trams were the only vehicles on the roads.

And a log-burning fire keeps happy punters warm in the winter. The pub is also a meeting spot for other organisations, including war veterans and the MS Association.

And it’s not an unusual sight to see the building surrounded by hundreds of Harley Davidsons – the Eagle Riders visit once a month and congregate in the car park during their ride around the area.

Landlord Adi Manning has an eagle statue behind the bar, which was given to the pub by the group of bikers.

Adi, 42, has run the pub for just under two years and aims to put the pub at the centre of the community.

Since taking over he has organised a range of children’s fun days in the beer garden with bouncy castles, face painting, games and stalls and live music.

Earlier this month for Blue Day he booked a bad taste DJ who played cheesy music. Punters were asked to make a donation to the Tom Prince Cancer Trust to change the song.

Adi also held a street party in his car park to celebrate the Royal wedding with traditional games, races, competitions, a bouncy castle and a DJ.

Adi said: ‘Everyone loves it when we do events in here.

‘The party for the Royal wedding was particularly good, the kids really enjoyed themselves and the adults were all asking us when we would have another one, so I’m going to try to organise one each month.

‘It’s important to do these sorts of things because a local pub used to be the heart of the community but now so many of them are dying out, that’s why I really want to keep the community spirit alive in here.’

Neighbouring the pub are lots of nursing homes, and relatives who visit their residents will often pop into the bar for a meal.

Frank Mullan, 65, of Moorings Way, Milton, has been drinking in the pub for 10 years since moving to Portsmouth with his job in the gas industry.

The now retired regular said: ‘It’s a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere in here. Everyone knows everyone and there is always something fun going on.’