Aaron Haggard, 39, started working on his mancave during the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2019. What started out as a small hobby turned into a major project, with shirts, scarves, seats and other features donning the room.
Mr Haggard’s creation has been shortlisted in a games room of the year competition, run by Home and Leisure Direct – with the winner being given a £1,000 prize. The Fratton End season ticket holder told The News: “I wanted to put up some signed memorabilia in the house but my partner Anna wasn’t overly keen.
"So I started putting up a few bits in a spare room, starting with a couple of shirts and programmes, but now it has morphed into this. Now that I’ve got it, anyone that has got anything they don’t want is bringing it round to me.
"it has got a bit out of hand as I’ve run out of space. The ceiling is covered in scarfs and all sorts of things.” Despite getting out of control, Mr Haggard said he’s still pleased with his creation – which has hosted countless birthdays and Christmases.
It is complete with a dart board and pool table, as well as old fixtures of Fratton Park including seats and one of the old flood light housings when the pylons were taken down. Mr Haggard has even created a table which lights up, and has done everything he can to protect the collectibles by insulating the walls and installing air conditioning.
"It’s a really nice space, I’m so happy I did it,” he said. “It came in really handy for my mental health over lockdown. I was lucky enough to have somewhere I could go and relax.
"I knew I could have a game of pool and use the projector. It’s a labour of love and I have never stopped adding to it.” Mr Haggard has been a Portsmouth supporter since he was seven-years-old, having fond memories of going to matches with his uncle Martin.
He said: “I loved the atmosphere and the underdog story growing up. A lot of my friends at school supported the big teams.
"I always quite liked that we were a team with lots of highs and lows. I can’t imagine supporting anyone else.” Mr Haggard entered the Home Leisure Direct competition for Best Games Room 2023 on a whim, and was delighted to hear he had been chosen as a finalist.
He added that his wife Anna would prefer him to work more on other parts of the house, but likes the space and that the Pompey memorabilia doesn’t clutter the rest of the house. Mr Haggard hopes Blues supporters will vote for his games room in the competition.
"The winner will be announced on October 30,” he said. “Some of the others look crazy, there are some really good ones. I’m just hoping the Pompey family get behind me.”