Legacy of the bid will live on forever

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THE legacy of this bid will live on forever.

That is the hope if Portsmouth is successful in its bid to become City of Football.

Portsmouth has been shortlisted as a finalist against Manchester and Nottingham in a bid to win the title and £1.6m to help increase the number of people playing football, especially 14 to 25-year-olds.

But from teenagers playing five-a-side football to over-30s teams playing in tournaments, the money will be used to get more people involved at all levels.

And for those involved in grassroots football, only positive things can come from the title.

Martina Heath works for the Hampshire FA as women, girls and disability football development officer. She said the money is an amazing prize but the bid itself will be remembered most.

‘The legacy of the bid, put together by the different groups in Portsmouth, will live forever,’ she said.

‘It has been great so far because everyone is working together to achieve the same thing.

‘But for us, the money would mean we can try and get more diverse groups into football. This includes ethnic minorities, over-50s and people in the navy.’

The money could also help improve grassroots facilities.

For under-14s manager at Pickwick Tigers Nick Hughes, the title and money would make a huge difference.

He said: ‘The title would give the city and its grassroots football the exposure it needs.

‘It also means we can get that extra funding which wouldn’t normally be available.’

He added: ‘Portsmouth deserves to win because we are dedicated to the club here.

‘When kids turn up for training and don’t have a team training top, around 70 per cent of them are wearing Pompey shirts because they feel passionate about their club and their city.’

Although the bid is concentrating on players aged 14 and over, Craig Pearce, head of sports and coaching at Pompey in the Community said it would still help younger children.

‘A bid like this will help grassroots football at all levels,’ he said.

‘With the money and the support of all the different organisations, we can improve standards at grass roots football so the youngsters coming through the under-14 teams in a couple years will benefit from the improvements.’