Hampshire Premier Leaguers Harvest searching for a new home back in Portsmouth

A Hampshire Premier League club have changed their name, introduced a reserve team for next season, and have stepped up the search for a permanent base in Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 2:06 pm
Aiming to return to the city - Harvest Home (lime green) pictured during a home game at the Langstone Harbour ground on the Eastern Road in the 2019/20 season. Picture: Kevin Shipp.

Harvest Home - named after the pub on Copnor Road on Portsea Island - stepped up into county football last summer after winning the Mid-Solent League title.

Due to lockdown, they have only played eight Division 1 games, winning five of them.

The club have now dropped the ‘Home’ part of their name while, slightly ironically, looking for a new home pitch at the same time.

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Officials felt the name ‘Harvest Home’ carried negative connotations of being labelled a ‘pub’ team.

‘I get where they are coming from,’ said boss Steve Harris.

‘We’ve had it a couple of times this season from teams we’re playing - ‘oh, you’re just a pub team’.

‘It would be nice to get away from that.

‘I’m a Spurs fan and I said we should be called Harvest Hotspurs to carry on the double H, but the committee didn’t go for that!’

Harris admits Harvest have ‘big plans’ and the introduction of a reserve team - that will apply to play in the Mid-Solent League in 2021/22 - is just one of them.

At present, the club is just the first team and the boss remarks: ‘We need a reserve team, we need youth teams, but you don’t want to run before you can walk.

‘Part of the club’s vision is also getting the team back playing in Pompey.

‘Baffins and Moneyfields have got what we’d love to have - their own grounds.

‘I’m not saying we’ll end up like them, but we need to start somewhere.’

Harvest have so far played their HPL home games at the Hampshire FA-run Front Lawn 3G pitch in Havant.

‘The facilities there are second to none, but it doesn’t feel like home,’ said Harris.

‘There’s nowhere that says ‘Harvest’ anywhere.

‘We want to find somewhere that feels like home.’

During their Mid-Solent League days, Harvest played at a variety of venues in and around Portsea Island.

‘We bounced around a bit,’ said Harris. ‘We played at King George V, but I hated playing there, I didn’t think the pitches were of a good standard.

‘We played at Rugby Camp, which was good, and we played at Langstone Harbour and on the 3G at Furze Lane.’

Due to lockdowns, Harris has only had two games in charge since replacing Ray Ogilvie in the autumn.

The team have 20 Division 1 games left of 2020/21 and, to play them all, would need to play twice a week from mid-April until mid-June.

Harris is hopeful of a return to competitive action in April, even if Harvest’s league campaign is null and voided.

‘We voted to play each other team once.’ Harris revealed. ‘I’m baffled as to why anyone would vote for null and void.

‘We’re all football clubs, surely everyone would want to play? I just want to get out of my house!

‘Even if we are null and void, we’re going to contact all the teams we haven’t played yet and see if they want a friendly.’

'We’re 100 per cent hungry to play games.’Harvest’s reserve team, meanwhile, will be run by three former players with Paulo Chiviarni the main man assisted by Josh England and Billy Hall who are both planning to carry on playing.