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Portsmouth v Southampton : The facts
at 10:49 23 Jun 2022

Great article, and obviously unbiased as the lad is from Exeter. He raises some interesting points to be honest.

Portsmouth v Southampton: Where is the best place to live?

"OK, time to come clean. Before joining The News in February, I worked at the Southern Daily Echo newspaper for 15 years, breathing Southampton air for all that time and managing to survive with my health intact.

But please, those of you who pull a face whenever the 'S' word is mentioned, don't hold my employment history against me. And anyway, you'd have been a keen fly on the wall at some of the editorial meetings we had.

That's because we often looked down the M27 towards Portsmouth with an envious eye.

For several years we badgered the local council to do something, anything, to give Southampton city that elusive WOW factor. And why did we do that? Because Portsmouth was stealing so much of the south Hampshire glory, that's why. As a paper, we were at times envious of Portsmouth.

The Spinnaker Tower might have ended up going wildly over budget, but the undoubted fact was this '“ it went up, structurally as well as in price. And in going up, it gave Portsmouth an instant icon which could adorn many a marketing poster, as well as a unique visitor attraction. They didn't have anything like this in Southampton at the time and '“ more than a decade on '“ they still don't.

Perhaps that's why in a recent YouGov survey which asked more than 55,000 people for their views on 57 UK cities, Portsmouth came in ahead of Southampton.

Portsmouth was 34th with an approval rating of 64 per cent, while Southampton was eight places behind on 55 per cent. If I was a Portsmouth citizen, though, I wouldn't have crowed too much '“ after all, your city was still ranked behind Stoke-on-Trent (16th!), Plymouth (29th) and even Gloucester (33rd).

Anyway, putting that survey to one side, let's look at some other examples of Portsmouth getting the upper hand on Southampton from a city perspective.

Long before the Spinnaker was dreamt of, Southampton hosted the first Great South Run in 1990. It was a big success, but that didn't stop the event being moved to Portsmouth 12 months later. It has been a huge annual event ever since, earning Portsmouth both worldwide publicity and massive financial windfalls. Those with long memories at the Echo used to moan about that every time the race came around in late October.

Remaining on a sporting theme, Southampton were desperate for Olympic sailing legend Sir Ben Ainslie to make the city his America's Cup base in 2015, but despite talks lost out when Ainslie, who lived just down the road in Lymington, chose Portsmouth instead. As a result, Southampton council leader Simon Letts accused the government of bribing Ainslie into moving to Portsmouth '“ comments he later withdrew after 'sour grapes' jibes from Portsmouth politicians.

Against those 'wins', Portsea Island suffered one major sporting 'loss' to the lot at the other end of the M27.

For more than a century, Portsmouth hosted several Hampshire cricket games every year '“Â more than 300 first class matches in total '“ but the last came in 2000 before the county built their new home at West End on the outskirts of Southampton.

In my book the loss of county cricket should be mourned more than an athletics race celebrated '“ however big that race might be '“ or championing the fact you've sweet-talked an Olympic legend into basing himself in your waters rather than in Southampton ones.

Financially, though, the GSR and America's Cup races would have boosted the Portsmouth economy more than 18 years of Hampshire playing occasional games in front of a few thousand spectators. And money talks, right?

Elsewhere, despite the loss of county cricket, Portsmouth triumphs in many head-to-head comparisons.

Musically, my time at the Daily Echo coincided with Portsmouth's Victorious Festival not only starting but quickly morphing into one of the best of its kind anywhere in the south. That was a source of exasperation to us at the Daily Echo too.

For the past few years, Common People and Let's Rock have brought thousands of music fans back to Southampton Common but, in terms of big names, Victorious usually wins.

Look at this year's respective bills: Victorious boasted the likes of Paul Weller, Kaiser Chiefs, Brian Wilson and The Prodigy compared to Common People's Lily Allen, Boney M and the Jacksons. Craig David, born and bred in Southampton, was even due to perform in Portsmouth rather than his home city in 2018 before the second day of Mutiny was cancelled in the wake of the deaths of two festivalgoers.

Port Solent recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and hundreds of people poured into the marina to eat and drink in one of the 15 restaurants and pubs that adorn the boardwalk areas.

But did you know that, in terms of waterfront living, Southampton got there first? Its equivalent, at Ocean Village, opened in 1986 with Danny La Rue performing the official unveiling of the Canute's Pavilion shops complex the following year. But three decades on it lacks the buzz that a visit to Port Solent can provide.

Canute's was demolished in 2008, there are a lot fewer restaurants in Ocean Village, and the Cineworld cinema closed last month. A sparkling new hotel has certainly added to the skyline there, but overall I would prefer to live in Port Solent if I had the choice of the two. And I'm not biased towards Portsmouth or Southampton; I'm just someone born and bred in Exeter (15th in the YouGov list) with a reasonable knowledge of both cities' attractions and speaking, or writing, as I see it.

And this is what else I see '“ Portsmouth boasting the better waterfront facilities, with Gunwharf Quays a great location for some outlet shopping and something to eat while looking out to sea (and across to blocks of flats in Gosport). The views from Portsdown Hill on a sunny, clear day are also simply wonderful. I'm a sucker for a good cityscape, and nowhere in Southampton provides such spectacular views.

And while Portsmouth can offer up Southsea to anyone wanting a day out topping up their tan on a beach, the best Southampton can do is Weston Shore. I wouldn't want to swim there, the 'beach' is more dirty shingle than sand, but the views are great ... if you like views of oil refineries, that is.

And the Historic Dockyard is simply dripping with, er, history. Southampton's SeaCity Museum does its best but is no match for HMS Warrior and Mary Rose. In fairness, though, what is if you're looking to immerse yourself in that sort of attraction.

I asked my partner, who has lived in Portsmouth for the best part of 30 years, if there was anything she thought the home of the Saints did better than the home of Pompey.

'Shops,' was her one word answer, and it's an unarguable point.

WestQuay, with its flagship John Lewis store, offers the high street retail experience you cannot find in Portsmouth. Ikea might not be everyone's cup of tea '“ or, indeed, plate of meatballs '“ but it also undoubtedly helps boost visitor 'footfall', an expression I detest.

Those in the blue corner will hold up Gunwharf and Port Solent in opposition to WestQuay and its restaurant-dominated sibling WestQuay2. I'm a big fan of both the former, but there are better shops and a wide range of places to fill your stomach in the latter pair.

Returning to money, there is one possible obvious answer as to why a succession of Southampton councils has gone down the retail route '“ the buoyant cruise ship market. Every time a ship visits the city it's worth about £2m to the local/regional economy '“ and with 500 such visits in 2017 that's a cool £2bn. And cruise passengers like to visit shops.

Aesthetically, a debate about whether Portsmouth or Southampton is the nicer-looking city could take up several of these columns and still we wouldn't be close to a definitive answer, if one exists.

I will, though, quote from the Southampton-born architecture critic Owen Hatherley's excellent book A Guide To The New Ruins of Great Britain. Talking of the rivalry between the cities, he writes: '˜Portsmouth is alleged to be an insular island, yet has played the Blairite iconic architecture/urban regeneration game far more effectively, with its Spinnaker observation tower and glass sky scrapers forming an incongruously slick enclave in amongst the two-up-two-downs. Southampton's urban renaissance entails nondescript retail and Barrett boxes.'

See, we're back to the Spinnaker again. Hatherley wrote that in 2010, but the subsequent eight years hasn't changed my view that he is right. And just think '“ if you hadn't knocked down the Tricorn (see last week's column) I'd be saying even nicer things about Portsmouth!"

An interesting article to say the least!!!!!
[Post edited 23 Jun 11:27]
140 years and one cup
at 21:11 15 May 2022

Am I going to need to change my name?

Mount v Ward Prowse
at 22:44 28 Mar 2021


Any surprises?
Highest Scoring games in PL history
at 14:27 13 Feb 2021

Here they are: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

7-4 Portsmouth Reading 2007
9-1 Spurs Wigan 2009
8-2 Man Utd Arsenal 2011
7-3 Arsenal Newcastle 2012
6-4 Spurs Reading 2007
5-5 WBA Man Utd 2013
0-9 Soton Leicester 2020
9-0 Man Utd Soton 2021
9-0 Man Utd Ipswich 1995
1-8 Man Utd Nottm Forest 1999
4-5 Spurs Arsenal 2004
4-5 Norwich Liverpool 2016
5-4 Spurs Leicester 2018

Most of the big teams are here, and your club have got more appearances than Liverpool, Villa, Chelsea and Man City. Sadly, we only appear once, but what a game.

It’s nice that you have added to your club history recently, and there’s only one thing worse than being mentioned, and that’s not being mentioned at all.
[Post edited 13 Feb 2021 14:30]
How is your next generation of youngsters coming on?
at 12:48 7 Oct 2020

Have they played recently?
Southampton and Sport
at 13:28 5 Aug 2020

Just checking out your illustrious city's history on the subject of Sport.

So far I have found the following:

6 Southern league titles
27 continuous years in the top flight
1 FA cup
The oldest Bowling ground in the World (impressive this one)

Donna Hartley : won bronze in the 400m relay in Moscow
Mike Brown : Won a runners up medal at the last Rugby World Cup
Wally Masur : Reached the SF of two Grand Slams (really an Australian though)

Not a bad start for a town that isn't known for it's sport
Quiz Question
at 11:49 2 Apr 2020

How many times have Southampton Football club had an attendance of over 35,000 at their stadium?

say in the last 40 years.
Greater Southampton's greatest players
at 12:30 27 Feb 2020

Southampton has produced some fine players, and if there had been lots of players from the additional Southampton Urban area, or 'Greater Southampton, then the whole area would be rolling in talent.

The additional Southampton Urban area includes Eastleigh and Bishopstoke as has been shown on this site several times
Hampshire's greatest footballers
at 14:53 20 Dec 2019

Updated full list. Some very good players here. Of course Portsmouth gets the lions' share, but Southampton is a good second. I imagine that there is little dispute in this list, if we are basing it on facts and not bias.

1- 10 Top Draw
Portsmouth : Von Donop : Hampshire’s first ever superstar
Soton : Ted Drake : Good scoring rate, right time, right place
Portsmouth : Reg Flewin : One of only 6 captains to win post war back to back championships
Portsmouth : Peter Harris : Probably the highest ever scoring winger in England. Champion
Alton: Jimmy Dickinson : Mr consistency for club and country. Champion
Aldershot: Johnny Berry : In terms of trophies, tops the list. Champion
Portsmouth : Ray Crawford : Scored the goals to give Ipswich the Championship
Farnham : Peter Storey : Probably Hampshire’s hardest footballer, champion and serial winner
Greater Portsmouth : Bobby Tambling : In Chelsea’s greatest ever team. Impressive scoring rate
Portsmouth : Alex Chamberlain : Only player to win Europe’s highest accolade

10 – 20 : Excellent Players
New Alresford : Sir Christopher Rawlinson
Botley : Don Roper
Soton : Tom Parker
Greater Portsmouth : George Lilycrop
Portsmouth : Johnny Gordon
Winchester : Terry Paine
Soton : Martin Chivers
Portsmouth : Steve Foster
Soton : Darren Anderton
Winchester : Wayne Bridge

20 – 30 : Very good players
New Forest : Frank Jefferis
Soton : Peter Sillett
Aldershot : Bruce Rioch
Soton : Nick Holmes
New Forest : Kevin Reeves
Soton : Graham Roberts
Bournemouth : Paul Rideout
Greater Portsmouth : Kevin Pressman
New Forest : Jamie Redknapp
Basingstoke : Tom Cleverley

30 – 40 : Solid players
Farnborough : John Mortimore
Portsmouth : Phil Gunter
Portsmouth : Malcolm Waldron
Portsmouth : Bobby Stokes
Soton : Francis Benali
Romsey : Nigel Spackman
Portsmouth : Daryl Powell
Portsmouth Joel Ward
Portsmouth : James Ward Prowse
Portsmouth : Mason Mount

40 – 50 : Dependable players
Greater Portsmouth : Albert Mundy
Soton : John Sillett
Hartley Wintney : Archie turner
Portsmouth : David Jones
Winchester : Steve Guppy
Portsmouth : Steve Claridge
Basingstoke : Kit Symons
New Forest : Sam Vokes
Greater Portsmouth : Matt Ritchie
Petersfield : Calum Chambers

Final Tally :
Ports 21
Soton 9
NF 4, Winch 3, Aldershot 2, Basingstoke 2
Alton, Farnham, Botley, New Alresford, Farnborough, Bournemouth, Romsey, Petersfield, Hartley Wintney

[Post edited 20 Dec 2019 15:48]
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