WATCH: Friends taking over Portsmouth pub say: ‘We’re just three lads trying to make it’

Picture: Shaun Roster

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THREE friends from Portsmouth are embarking on a new venture by taking ownership of an historic pub.

Alexander Handley, Andy Hobbs and Sean Barnes have decided to team up and take the opportunity to run the formerly closed Eldon Arms in Eldon Street, Southsea

The Eldon Arms has reopened with new owners Alexander Handley, Andy Hobbs and Sean Barnes at the helm. 'Picture : Habibur Rahman PPP-180316-185237006

The Eldon Arms has reopened with new owners Alexander Handley, Andy Hobbs and Sean Barnes at the helm. 'Picture : Habibur Rahman PPP-180316-185237006

The trio have known each other since they were eight years old and have always dreamed of running their own business.

Andy said: ‘We’ve always wanted to do everything together. In the back of our minds we knew the pinnacle would be running a sports bar.’

Three months ago Alex, a teacher, Sean a teacher and football entertainer, and Andy, a chef, decided to make their dream a reality.

Andy said: ‘We contacted Enterprise Inns and thought we’d be waiting until 2019, but they said they could get us into the Eldon Arms in three months.’

As result the pub underwent a huge refurbishment and opened on Thursday.

It comes after it previously shut. Regulars had feared the pub would be lost and were devastated following losing a bid to have the pub listed as an asset of community value.

Since then, the three entrepreneurs have been working tirelessly, urging locals to try the new-look pub.

Andy added: ‘We’re a well-designed pub that combines great food with great sports viewing.’

Fellow owner Sean said: ‘Just before we found out about the Eldon Arms I was offered more than £10,000 to travel to Hong Kong for 30 days and perform my football tricks.

‘I turned it down because I’m confident in our team and passionate about this business.’

The area was rocked last month following a near-fatal stabbing on a nearby street.

Andy said: ‘We know what has happened here recently but we’re all from Leigh Park and we won’t be dominated by fear. If you concentrate on what you’re doing wholeheartedly then nothing can bring that down.’

On opening night, local pub landlords and former Eldon Arms managers popped in to show their support.

Sean said: ‘Everyone has been tremendously supportive. We’re just three local lads trying to make something of themselves.’