Date: 29th October 2009 at 10:30am
Written by:

From Vital England:

Portsmouth is one of 16 cities currently vying to be one of the final 12 selected as host cities for England’s world cup bid, but what does it have to offer?

We find out, as we ask Ken, a Pompey fan born and bred, what they think it can bring to the table for the world cup bid…

1) Portsmouth has applied to be a host city, what are the pros of this?
Ask any Pompey fan and the biggest attraction to them would be a new or updated stadium – something we’ve been promised for the last 40-odd years.

But obviously a successful bid would mean much more than just a new ground. Certainly in these recession-hit times, the financial boost that this could give the city and surrounding South Coast area, would be substantial.

The area meets most of the criteria for accommodation and transport. Southsea Common is a natural site for a Fans’ Park. Culturally and historically there is plenty for visitors to do between games and the long term boost to the tourist trade would be massive.

2) And the cons?
One minor area of concern with the bid is the apparent lack of suitable training facilities for visiting teams.

And of course the major doubt is the ability to provide a suitable, 40,000 seater, stadium. Over 40 years of broken promises added to the current ownership issues, do not fill me with confidence. We seem to change owners quicker than most clubs change managers and each one seems to have less to offer than his predecessor (how did we find, not one but two Arabs without money?).

3) Is Fratton Park up to the task of staging a world cup game at the moment – if not will it come 2018/2022?
No and maybe – I refer you to the answer above.

4) What is Portsmouth most famous for?
Sailors!!!!

Seriously, anything nautical. In particular Nelson and HMS Victory, the Mary Rose, Gypsy Moth IV and Sir Francis Chichester and the Royal Naval Dockyard.

But Portsmouth was also the birth-place of Charles Dickens, Peter Sellers, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and James Callaghan. Athletes Alan Pascoe and Roger Black were also born here. Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and H G Wells all lived here.

There are approximately 3 miles of seafront with all the usual touristy things like mini-golf and model village, sea-life centre and D-Day Museum.

5) What would it mean to you to see the world cup converge on Portsmouth if successful?
I would normally vote for venues abroad as I enjoy the travel and the atmosphere of away games but I must accept that age is catching up and by 2018/22 my travelling days might well be over. So selfishly I require England’s bid to be successful.

If it is, then it would be a proud moment to watch World Cup football within walking distance of where I was born.

6) Come on, hand on heart, tinted specs off, totally unbiased view will Portsmouth be successful with the host city bid?
Hand on heart – no! The cynic in me cannot believe that we will ever get a new stadium!

7) Most importantly, do you think that England will be successful with the 2018/2022 world cup bid anyway?
Sadly no.

As usual, politics will decide who gets the WC and too many people have issues with the UK having four votes out of eight on FIFA’s board. Our FA will continue to curry favour with as many people as possible by arranging games in Trinidad, Qatar etc but I fear they won’t win over enough support to clinch our bid.

8) Anything else you want to add?
Despite my cynicism, I will continue to support England’s bid. You can help by registering your support at http://www.england2018bid.com/support/.

Full article: England – What Portsmouth has to offer.