A HISTORIC pub on Hayling Island has welcomed a couple as its new landlords as they open an outside bar.
The Olive Leaf, in 48 Sea Front, is being managed by Gary and Sue Disdle, with Enterprise Inns retaining ownership of the pub.
The pub-chain estimated start-up costs would be approximately £12,250, but the couple has already spent £16,000 on the pub, opening an outdoors bar in the garden.
Gary said: ‘It will be great in the summer when we can have barbecues.’
The role of co-landlord will be a departure from Gary’s previous careers as car salesman – and a physiotherapist for Pompey.
The 62-year-old, who also runs GE Autos in Havant, found himself at Fratton Park from 1984 to 1987 after a back injury led to an interest in sports therapy.
And the landlord is now expecting some previous players to judge his pint pulling skills.
He said: ‘I’m still friendly with former Pompey players Billy Gilbert and Vince Hilaire.
‘Vince has promised to come down, so we're looking forward to that,’ he said.
It was Sue’s ambition to take on a pub, having worked in public houses and hotels intermittently for more than a decade.
The 55-year-old said: ‘It’s the social life that comes with running a pub that I’m looking forward to.
‘It will be a chance to meet lots of different people.
'And we know how popular Hayling Island is with dog walkers – and we plan to run a very dog-friendly pub.’
Sue added: ‘A lot of people have asked if we are planning on staying long term.
‘Local people said they don't want it turned into flats.’
The Ei Group has 4,000 pubs and properties across the country, including eight across the Solent region.
The founder of the pub, who built the premises in the 1860s, founded and sailed on the island’s first life boat – also named the Olive Leaf.
The couple have said business has been ‘good’ during their first two weeks, with an official welcoming party to celebrate their arrival on Friday.
The evening is free to attend and will feature live music from Haying-based band The Back Beat Duo.