Jubilation for fans and pub landlords in Portsmouth as England win first Euros match
JUBILANT cries of ‘it’s coming home’ could be heard in pubs across Portsmouth today as fans and landlords alike celebrated the one-nil victory of England and a return to near-normalcy after Covid.
Football lovers showed up to city venues in their droves, and enjoyed the first opening game victory in the Euros that England has ever seen.
The Lions did not disappoint with a win against Croatia, clinched by a goal in the second half from Raheem Sterling.
Father-son duo Bob and Adam Beckett from Goldsmith Avenue in Southsea booked a table in the Shepherds Crook beer garden, in the same road, to watch the game.
Bob, 64, said: ‘This is the best place to be for the game. The weather’s great and it’s brilliant to be back in a pub.’
32-year-old Adam agreed. He said: ‘We have high expectations for the match. It’s really nice to be back though. We’re trying to get back to normality and to see people brought together to support venues is really good.’
The pub’s youngest punters - eight-year-old twins Jude and Lenny Wright from Southsea - were looking forward to what was to come.
Jude said: ‘We are very excited to see the England match.’
Lenny added: ‘Our favourite players are Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Tyrone Mings.’
Excitement was building around the pub - which had Covid-safe measures in place - prior to kick-off at 2pm.
Baffins resident James Robinson, 19, said: ‘There’s lots of anticipation for this game - three years in the making.
‘We’ve all been looking forward to this not just for the game but it’s fantastic to be out and enjoying the social element. Watching the game at home is not the same as being here.’
Jay Tull, 35, from Milton, came to watch the game with his family. He said: ‘To come here with friends and family and watch England is great. We’re trying to get some spirit back after what we have all been through.’
His mum Karen Tull, 59, added: It’s been brilliant to be out - just to see people who haven’t seen for ages.’
Pub manager Lawrence Hall, 25, described the atmosphere as ‘electric.’
He said: ‘It’s really good to have people back in the building as well as sat outside enjoying themselves.’
The same sense of excitement could be felt in the Southsea Village, in Palmerston Road, as the game was underway.
Landlord Rodney Watson, 45, said: ‘It’s a really awesome atmosphere, everyone’s enjoying themselves drinking beer and watching the football. It’s amazing to have people back like this.’
Emsworth resident Rhys Little, 22, said: ‘I’m excited to be out in a pub, being back to somewhat normal.’
And 28-year-old Tim Shaw, travelled from the Isle of Wight to watch the game. He said: ‘It’s really nice to be here, I wouldn’t want to be at home watching this.’
During half-time customers of the Jolly Sailor by Southsea Common reflected on the game so far.
Chris Diamond, 51, from Southsea said: ‘It’s not as busy as it usually would be but it’s better watching here than at home.’
Fellow Southsea resident Dave Endean, 59, said: ‘I didn’t realise how much I missed a nil-nil score at half time. It’s just great to be out.’
Over in Albert Road, friends Biola Kudus and Ben Gash watched the game in The Kings pub.
Biola, 35, from Baffins said: ‘It’s been fantastic. The football has started off not so well but to be able to catch up with people while watching is great.’
And Ben, 36, from Southsea said: ‘I’m enjoying both being in the pub and the football. But I had a bet on Foden to score the first goal and that’s not looking likely.’
But patrons couldn’t hide their elation when the first and only goal of the match was scored.
John Southern, 50, from Southsea said: ‘We are having an amazing time, We’ve met a new friend - Lamin - and the football has been amazing.’
Southsea resident Lamin Dampha, 34, said: ‘It’s been beautiful.’
And their friend David Aggar, 50, from North End added: ‘It’s the first time I’ve been in a pub in over a year because of the restrictions. It’s been great.’
21-year-old David Harrison, who is based in Gosport with the navy but originally from Northumberland missed the goal while he was having a toilet break.
‘It’s coming home,’ he said.
‘It’s been absolute quality. Being here and watching the football with the boys in the pub is just the best.’
Jane Traquair-Clark, 37, Southsea said: ‘It’s been a really good atmosphere. As soon as we walked in the pub England scored. I’m looking forward to watching Scotland as that’s where I’m from.’
Her neighbour Kate Wilkinson, 55, said: ‘It’s been brilliant coming in here, it’s so nice to be out after lockdown.’
The pub’s landlord Sean Muns, 41, said: ‘The atmosphere has been great and it’s just nice to feel the business being a bit like it used to again.’
Next up – Scotland on Friday night.