BERNAT LÓPEZ / 8th FEBRUARY / ©XTREM FOOTBALL
With 60 Portsmouth FC tattoos in his body it’s safe to say John Westwood is the club’s biggest and most recognizable fan. When he’s not working as an antique book seller, John spends his time at Fratton Park stadium. A fixture at almost every Portsmouth game Westwood is known for his outlandish appearance, wearing a large stove pipe hat, curly blue wig, and uses a bugle as well as his handbell which he rings throughout the match.
While proudly displaying his Portsmouth body art at home and away matches Westwood covers them while working; “It’s a bit Jekyll and Hyde. When I go to a local book fair, I cover up my tattoos and put on a suit. But more often than not, I end up talking to the book dealers about Pompey and it turns out they’ve got more tattoos than I have”, he said.
Nowadays, his real name is John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood. He changed it by deed poll in 1989, 13 years later of watching his first Pompey game. This incredible fan hasn’t missed a Portsmouth match, home or away, since 1980.
So John, Pompey. Where did it all begin? “Back in 1976 I was at school and the Scummers [Portsmouth vernacular for local rivals Southampton] were in the Cup Final. Other friends supported teams like Liverpool, Arsenal and Man United, and they used to take the mickey out of my mate who was a Pompey fan and I thought, ‘Hold on a minute, that’s my local team’, so I started to support them”, he told The Green Soccer Journal.
“It’s a bit Jekyll and Hyde. When I go to a local book fair, I cover up my tattoos and put on a suit”
“The first game I went to was on Boxing Day 1976 and we won 1-0 against Brighton with 32.000 at Fratton Park. I was just blown away by the atmosphere and I knew from that moment I belonged”, he added.
Sometimes, John’s loyalty to Portsmouth caused him so much trouble. “I couldn’t fight my way out of a paper bag, but I used to get beaten up at away games two or three times a season. You did that for your club”, Mr Portsmouth revealed. What a huge fan!