Portsmouth Superfan: 'Not allowing fans to attend matches is affecting their mental health'

John 'Portsmouth Football Club' Westwood says bring back fans to protect their mental health. Credit: PA Images

  • Report by ITV News Meridian's Andrew Pate

Portsmouth FC's most famous 'Superfan' has spoken to ITV News Meridian on the importance he feels of getting football fans back in our region's stadiums.

During the week, John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood works at his family bookshop in Petersfield yet on a match-day things are a little different.

John changed his name to demonstrate how much he loves his team and he says that other fans being deprived of the opportunity perhaps not in the same capacity to support their teams is hitting them hard.

"There's lots of people out there who don't socialise at all during the week. They live on their own. But at football they go and they mix and they mingle and they socialise. it's a big mental health issue", he says.

Before the season started - Brighton and Hove Albion carried out a Trial match - with fans attending which, at the time, was deemed a success. However on the 23rd of September plans to bring fans back into the stadiums were put on hold due to fears of a second wave of Coronavirus.

John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood supporting his beloved Pompey Credit: PA Images

John says he struggles to understand why 3000 people can attend the Royal Albert Hall indoors, yet fans can't sit outside in a football ground.

He says if he isn't allowed to sit and support his beloved football club at Fratton Park, he'll find a variety of ways to support them from the outside.

We stand outside, make a lot of racket. Hoping in some way we can inspire them. Get a glimpse of the game. We have been up trees, we've been on hoppers. We've been on pallets. We've done everything to try and get there. Obviously we are Covid friendly and we're sticking in groups. And we don't do anything we shouldn't do.

John 'Portsmouth Football Club' Westwood

John 'Portsmouth Football Club' Westwood says that football is our National Support and is calling directly to the government to listen to fans and bring them back safely through the turnstiles once again.

Before the season started, Brighton and Hove Albion carried out a Trial match with fans attending